||At the start of 2004, Asian economies surged ahead
toward recovery and favourable market conditions prevailed.
Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
As the year progressed, capital-raising activities and investment
sales languished in a market rattled by an uncertain outlook for
US interest rates, concerns over China’s overheated economy,
rising oil prices and a demand slowdown for technology-related
products. Trading volumes suffered and conditions became
particularly difficult when bond yields fell sharply against
Against this uneven 2004 operating environment, DBS chalked
up record earnings and delivered the strongest bottom-line
numbers in its 36-year history. Our net profit rose 97% to
$2.02 billion, including $497 million in one-time gains from
sales of stakes in affiliate banks. Excluding these gains, net
profit of $1.52 billion was up 48% from the year before and
surpassed the record of $1.39 billion set in 2000.
|DBS in Singapore
Singapore, as well as Hong Kong,
is DBS’ springboard from which our
successful business models,
expertise and processes will be
exported across the region.
Net interest income grew 8% last year to $2.57 billion with net
interest margin arresting previous year’s decline to stabilise at
1.79%. Non interest income increased 30% to $2.36 billion but
excluding one-time gains, the increase was 2% to $1.87 billion.
The stronger performance can be traced to our dogged determination
over the past three years to growing annuity income
from our core customer businesses across segments and
||For the year, our loan book grew 13% to $69.7 billion, excluding our deconsolidated Thailand operations.
||But the larger trend is more revealing: our loan book grew over eight consecutive quarters. During this period, loan assets increased 20% or $11.6 billion.
Eight Consecutive Quarters of Loan Growth
||Our success in diversifying our income streams by growing recurring income across all customer segments significantly reduced our past reliance on market-related income.
Six Consecutive Years of Fee Income Growth
Although loan margins have contracted in Asia’s ocean of excess
liquidity, our lending operations generate not only recurring
interest income, but also the opportunity for us to garner
franchise-building fee business. Thus, our loan book’s net interest
income must be juxtaposed against our fee income which has
climbed to 22.9% of total income (excluding one-time gains). Importantly, fee income has grown at a compound annual growth
rate of 24% over six consecutive years, from $274 million in
1998 to $1.013 billion in 2004.
Our higher earnings boosted our capital resources to a 15.8%
group total capital adequacy ratio under the MAS capital
framework. Our strong profitability placed us on a new level of
operating strength and toughened our resolve to become a
leader among Asian financial institutions.
Fundamentally, we owe our improved performance to a
customer-centric approach that puts customers at the core of our
In this regard, we failed in one spectacular instance last year
when operational lapses during the renovation of our Mei Foo
branch in Hong Kong led to the accidental destruction of
83 customers’ safe deposit boxes. While others might have deftly
side-stepped the blame to contractors, we chose to promptly
acknowledge our responsibility for the incident, and took steps to
fairly compensate our customers without delay.
To date we have settled in full with all but seven customers. The
incident had no material financial impact on our Hong Kong
operations, but nonetheless set back our efforts to establish our
brand in our second biggest market in Asia. We deeply regret this
incident, have since taken remedial action to ensure that such
lapses do not recur, and pledge to regain the trust of our customers.
The unfortunate incident was a reminder of the continuous need
to improve the quality of our business as we expand in scale and
scope. Business achievements are of no consequence if we let our
customers down. Arising from the incident, all DBS employees
were reminded that producing strong financial results alone does
not make DBS a well-managed bank. Since then, we have taken
steps to reinforce a company culture that places customers first
and upholds the highest business standards and practices.
We completed in 2004 a range of notable achievements,
a reflection of DBS’ growing diversity and depth of talent.
To achieve scale, we embrace a multi-pronged approach of pursuing organic growth, acquisitions, and hybrid strategies of
||We won standout investment banking mandates, including lead
manager for the biggest IPO in Singapore, the $830.3 million
Suntec REIT; the first global bond in Asia after the 1997 Asian
financial crisis, a US$270 million bond financing for Indonesia’s
PT MGTI; and a HK$609 million IPO for Li-Ning Co. Ltd, the
consumer goods company founded by the namesake Olympic
gymnast and three-time gold medalist.
||We embarked on a programme of organic growth to underpin
our continued search for appropriate mergers and acquisitions
opportunities. We opened new branches and offices in China,
Indonesia and India, and saw double-digit growth in assets
and revenues in these countries.
||We completed the merger of DBS Thai Danu, Thai Military
Bank and The Industrial Finance Corporation of Thailand in
September. The new entity now operates under the Thai
Military Bank name and is the fifth largest bank in Thailand
with combined assets in excess of Bt 677 billion ($29 billion).
DBS’ 16.1% ownership is second only to the 31.2% stake of
the Thai Ministry of Finance.
||During the year, we took advantage of favourable market
conditions to raise US$750 million of Upper Tier 2 capital for
DBS Bank through a 15-year, 5% subordinated notes issue.
The financing supplements maturing subordinated notes, was
in line with our policy of proactively managing our capital
base, and positions DBS to pursue business and strategic
initiatives as suitable opportunities arise.
||We maintained our wealth management sales despite intense
competition and in the face of sluggish market conditions in
the second half of the year. Total sales of investment products
in Singapore and Hong Kong amounted to $8.812 billion.
||We divested our long-held 10% stake in Hong Kong’s Wing
Lung Bank Ltd in April to Wing Lung Bank’s controlling Wu
family. We also took initial steps in November to divest our
12.7% stake in Banco D’Oro to the controlling Sy family of the
Philippines, which was completed in January this year. Although
neither stake fits into our program for highly integrated banking
operations in the region, we value the relationship and trust with
the lead shareholders of these institutions and look forward to
continued business collaboration.
joint-ventures and alliances.
DBS Revenues by Business Segments in 2004
Embracing our Roots as we Build Diversity and Depth
DBS is an Asian bank of the 21st century. We live, breathe and
work in the most exciting and fastest-growing region of the
world. Our prospects are inextricably tied to the fortunes of
Asia; for us, there is no running away when storm clouds
gather over the horizon and returning when blue skies
reappear. We are firmly rooted here to serve our Asian clients,
in good times and bad.
Our Asian origin and orientation have endowed us with the
advantage of local knowledge and insight while our
commitment to international best practices have helped us build
profitable operating models and leadership in product and
service quality. We embrace good governance, transparency,
as well as timely and full disclosure.
Our strategy has been the same regardless of market cycles.
We strive to build scale, diversity and depth as we expand
further into the region to serve our customers.
||We must grow the scale of our operations to harness lower
per unit cost for our customers, and to remain relevant to our
customers and shareholders.
||We seek diversity in business mix and product offerings to
address our customers’ growth across Asia, as well as to
achieve better balance in shareholder returns.
||We are increasing our business depth to anchor our market
penetration and dominance, and to capture higher returns
from our more developed products and services.
We adopt this strategy on top of an unwavering commitment to
sound risk and credit management, as well as a culture of
strong internal controls, compliance and transparency.
To achieve scale, we embrace a multi-pronged approach of
pursuing organic growth, acquisitions, and hybrid strategies of
joint-ventures and alliances. What form we adopt, and how
fast, depends very much on business opportunities at hand as
well as changing local regulatory policies and forbearance.
Outside of our twin hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong,
organic growth has driven top-line numbers in countries like
China, Indonesia, India and Malaysia. In the coming years, we
will be channelling more resources to significantly reinforce our
presence in these countries. Asset growth in these countries
swelled more than 14% last year.
We will pursue acquisitions only when the right opportunities
arise, and only if they extend our regional reach and add
significant value to our existing businesses.
Thus far, our regionalisation efforts have helped us achieve a
more balanced geographical distribution of our income and
assets in 2004. In 1998, only 17% of our assets were sourced
outside Singapore. Last year, that share was 32%. Operations
outside of Singapore contributed 37% in revenues last year,
compared to 15% six years ago when we started to map out
our pan-Asian ambitions.
a) Excludes $497 million one-time gains
b) Includes goodwill assets; distribution of assets by geography excludes goodwill assets
Replicating Singapore Strengths in the Region
As we expand our operations, we seek to replicate the
capabilities we have built up over three decades in Singapore,
and more recently in Hong Kong, in the rest of Asia.
Notwithstanding regulatory constraints that sometimes slow our
agenda, we made headway last year in markets beyond
Singapore and Hong Kong.
Momentum is building in our operations in China, Indonesia,
India, Malaysia, and South Korea. Growth in revenues from the
region and the rest of the world outside Singapore and Hong
Kong outpaced that of the twin hubs last year, increasing 14%
against 10% and 2% for Singapore and Hong Kong respectively.
As we grow in these countries, we will be using Singapore and
Hong Kong as springboards, exporting from these two markets
successful business models, expertise and processes, and
extending a common technology and operations infrastructure
across the region.
Most of the business growth outside our two key markets has thus
far been in wholesale banking since local regulations continue to
impose varying degrees of restrictions on foreign banks’ presence
in the retail market. We have, for example, been a new and
aggressive challenger in the syndicated loans markets in India,
Malaysia and South Korea. In Malaysia, where we have an
offshore branch in Labuan and a marketing office in Kuala
Lumpur, we were lead arranger of numerous high profile
syndicated loans. They included a US$250 million term loan for
YTL Power International Bhd, a US$300 million term loan for
Astro, a US$700 million floating rate facility for Titan Capital (L)
Ltd, and a US$400 million revolving credit facility for Star Cruises.
In India, we emerged as the number two bookrunner for
syndicated lending as ranked by the Thomson Financial League
Tables 2004, capturing 9.7% share from 13 issues totalling
Looking forward, we are focused on opportunities to
accelerate client coverage across geographies, and to offer
the same full suite of services we already have in our twin
hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong. These include capital
markets and advisory, treasury and markets, structured
finance, private banking, stockbroking, asset management and
transaction services. There is no reason, for example, for us
not to replicate abroad our asset securitisation capabilities
which have seen us pioneer and dominate the Real Estate
Investment Trusts (REIT) business in Singapore.
We also look for an enhanced presence in the regional
derivatives market, particularly in China where we were
awarded a licence to conduct derivatives business last year.
This approval will help us expand the modest scale of wealth
management business we have already developed through our
“white labelling” collaboration with Chinese banks.
In most of the markets in greater China and South and
Southeast Asia, we aim to capitalise on our track record in
corporate and SME banking to target mid-cap customers. We
will take full advantage of our on-site presence, local insight,
and Asian commitment to build an enduring mid-cap franchise,
one that weathers cycles and is not affected by competing
demands from other parts of the world. We must do so before
global bank competitors finally demonstrate a long-term
willingness to invest in Asian mid-cap customers. We must also differentiate ourselves from some global banks who still find it
more compelling at their remote headquarters to book trophy
transactions with large high-profile customers in their episodic
view of Asia.
We will take full advantage of our on-site presence, local insight,
and Asian commitment to build an enduring mid-cap franchise,
one that weathers cycles and is not affected by competing demands
from other parts of the world.
a) Excludes DBS Thai Danu in all periods
b) Includes non-DBS Bank (HK) operations
c) Excludes one-time gains of $497 million in 2004
An Integrated Approach to Serving our Customers
As we extend our geographical reach and product offerings,
we will make evolutionary organisational adjustments that will
allow us to offer our customers a seamless experience of high
level of service and quality of products across the region. Early
in 2005, we placed all of our client-facing businesses under
Frank Wong, who was appointed Chief Operating Officer in
recognition of his success in forging the agendas and priorities
of different businesses. He will help ensure that we harness
DBS’ resources across functions and geographies to serve our
customers with integrated, innovative and timely solutions.
Another evolutionary organisation change took place two years
ago and is now beginning to take hold. We grouped six
businesses – Investment Banking, Treasury & Markets, DBS
Vickers Securities, Private Banking, Asset Management as well
as some of the functions within Central Treasury Unit – into a
new integrated Wholesale Banking team. By hard-wiring
product manufacturers, relationship managers and distribution
specialists who serve corporates and institutions closer together,
we were able to leverage product capabilities and sector
expertise across the DBS Group, facilitating closer teamwork
and more efficient cross-selling of products and services.
In our SMEs business, we have set up a Regional Enterprise
Banking Management Team comprising senior managers from
Singapore and Hong Kong, to consolidate and drive regional
plans and ensure alignment of policies and practices in credit,
processes and systems.
Expanding Distribution to Serve Retail Customers
Our consumer banking franchise in Singapore and Hong Kong
registered a 37% increase in earnings in 2004 to become the
largest net profit contributor within the Group. But beyond the
bookkeeping of profit, our regional consumer banking franchise
is addressing the challenge that banking is increasingly about
access to customers and distribution.
DBS retained its dominant position as the largest distributor of
investment and insurance products to the mass market, with the
bulk of the treasury products engineered in-house and insurance
products sourced from Aviva, our strategic bancassurance
Sharing a common wealth management business model with
Singapore, Hong Kong reported yet another year of robust
sales in investment and bancassurance products, particularly in
unit trusts where it now commands at least a 5% market share.
Fees from sale of bancassurance and unit trust products rose
47% despite uncertainties in the financial markets.
DBS’ retail distribution network is the largest in Singapore, with
86 branches and 768 ATMs located conveniently at consumer
hotspots across the island. We opened a new branch for POSB
in Jurong East in July. In 2004, our ATMs in Singapore processed
an average of 17 million transactions a month from a total of
about 3.7 million ATM cards in circulation.
a) Excludes $497 million one-off gains
b) Cash NPAM; excludes goodwill amortisation
nm: not meaningful
In addition to being able to access our combined network of
151 branches and 848 ATMs in Singapore and Hong Kong,
DBS customers are also able to use their ATM cards at over
500,000 ATMs in 120 countries that are part of the PLUS/Cirrus
network. From last year, they could also carry out transactions at
the cash machines of four partner banks in the region following
the signing of ATM alliances with the HDFC Bank in India, Bank
Internasional Indonesia and Bank Danamon in Indonesia and
BPI in The Philippines.
In 2004, our Enterprise Banking business in the region registered record earnings with double digit growth in loans to customers in Hong Kong, China and Singapore.
The number of credit cards issued by DBS in Hong Kong crossed
the one million mark in July, making the bank the fourth largest
credit card issuer in the Chinese Special Administrative Region.
The success of the Woman’s Card in Singapore, which debuted
in May, led to a similar launch in Hong Kong seven months
later. We are now the second largest issuer of credit cards in
Singapore, with more than 750,000 cards in circulation,
including the successful Black Card and the Woman’s Card.
In Singapore, we defended our traditional strongholds in
housing loans which grew 13% year-on-year, making headway
in the public housing market with an innovative HDB Loyalty
Programme. We started rebuilding our auto loans portfolio
towards the end of 2003 and have been fast gaining market
share with packages designed to provide attractive pricing,
convenience and simplicity to our customers. Compared to
2003, auto loans in Singapore grew even stronger at 90%
to $1.12 billion.
Bottom-line growth in Hong Kong consumer banking was
impressive. Concerted efforts to build relationships with Treasures
Priority Banking customers, and to target the emerging affluent
with a new DBS Wealth Account, were well received, resulting in
higher customer acquisition and retention, and higher profitability.
During the year, six branches with full Treasures Priority Banking
services were renovated and expanded, while a new branch was
opened in the new Tseung Kwan O residential district.
During the year, we also launched a new Internet banking
platform to deliver online products and services faster, to more
users, and across the region in a seamless manner.
Helping SMEs Flourish in Asia
With our origins in development financing of heavy industries,
it is no surprise that DBS was a relative late-comer to serving
SMEs. To make up for lost time, we stepped up investments in
people and infrastructure over the last two years as we set our
sights on building an enduring SME franchise in this higher
risk-adjusted return business.
These investments are beginning to pay off. In 2004, our
Enterprise Banking business in the region registered record
earnings with double digit growth in loans to customers in
Hong Kong, China and Singapore. Overall, Enterprise Banking’s
earnings rose 31% in 2004. Increasingly, DBS’ products and
services, including capital markets, trade finance, and strong
local credit knowledge, make us an attractive financing partner
for growth-bound SMEs.
In Hong Kong, where our more mature SME business commands
a 12% market share, we continued to outperform the industry in
loan growth, registering a 17% increase compared to the industry average of 1%. Our SME portfolio in Hong Kong
expanded for eight straight quarters, with notable growth in
factoring and equipment finance. We also maintained a number
two position in trade finance in a very competitive environment.
The Hong Kong team extended their coverage in southern China
last year with a flurry of activity, including the award of a
Domestic Enterprise Licence to the Shanghai Branch in April and
the Shenzhen Branch in July, the commencement of business in
Guangzhou Branch in July and the opening of the Dongguan
Representative Office in November.
In Singapore, our Enterprise Banking asset base grew 28% in a market facing marginal growth and narrowing lending spreads.
A structured finance team was set up to provide customers with
a comprehensive suite of products and services ranging from
term loans to risk management and cash management products.
We also upgraded the credit turnaround and selection process,
and introduced more rigorous risk assessment and monitoring.
Our capabilities were recognised in September when DBS was
selected by the Singapore Government to pioneer the nation’s
first loan securitisation programme for SMEs, scheduled for
launch this year. This programme is intended to help SMEs tap
funding through the capital markets.
Providing Financial Solutions to Leading Asian Corporates
DBS aims to be the top financial solutions partner of leading
corporate and institutional clients in Asia. Towards this end, we
are accelerating the expansion of our regional client coverage
and the roll out of product origination capabilities. We will
continue to leverage our unique institutional and retail investor
distribution capabilities as well as our dominant position in
local currency capital market financings. As Asia grows and
becomes the centre of capital formation, DBS is well-positioned
to intermediate regional capital flows
|DBS Dealing Room
One of DBS’ core strengths is our ability
to manage risk arising from volatility in
financial markets for our clients.
With the forming of ATM alliances, DBS customers can
now carry out transactions at the cash machines of four
partner banks in the region, namely Bank Internasional
Indonesia and Bank Danamon in Indonesia, HDFC Bank
in India, and BPI in The Philippines.
Corporate and investment banking contributed $415 million in
net profit, up 30% over 2003. The sterling performance was
due to higher fee income principally from capital market
activities, and strong growth in loan-related fees from higher
volume of loan syndication transactions.
We were involved in many of the year’s major transactions in
Asia, demonstrating our distinctive capabilities across debt and
equity capital markets. We again led in the value of Initial Public
Offerings in Singapore, accounting for 20% of the total $3.4
billion raised in 2004. In November, we assisted Ascendas-
MGM Funds Management Limited offer 37.5 million units of
their Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (“A-REIT”). The retail
investor portion of that A-REIT was sold out at our ATMs within
25 minutes of launch. We were also underwriter for Meghmani
Organics, the first Indian company to seek a listing on the
In another deal that showcased our unique cross-functional
capabilities involving the mergers & acquisitions, debt capital
market, and equity capital market teams, we worked with
CapitaLand Limited on the creation and distribution-in-specie of
CapitaCommercial Trust (CCT), which became the first
commercial REIT to be listed on the Singapore Exchange.
In Hong Kong, DBS Asia Capital kept its focus on the mid-cap
segment and clinched two significant transactions during the year – the IPO for Li-Ning Co. Ltd, which was more than 11 times
subscribed, and for China Force, an edible oil manufacturer which
sold HK$295 million worth of shares to the public.
In syndicated finance, DBS was sole arranger for a US$215 million
syndicated term loan facility for Hebei Pan Asia Long-teng Paper
Co Ltd, as well as a HK$7 billion syndicated credit facility for
In addition, we raised our profile in South Korea’s loan syndication
market by completing the US$230 million syndicated loan facility
for Kookmin Bank, a US$200 million floating rate notes issue for
Hyundai Motor Finance Company and a JPY10 billion floating
rate notes issue for Samsung Corning.
Our debt capital markets team was selected by Pan Asia
Paper Co Ltd as the sole arranger for its US$500 million
multi-currency debt issuance programme and sole lead
manager for its inaugural debt issues. Other deals included
being mandated lead manager for Yellow Pages (Singapore)
Pte Ltd’s $130 million bond issue.
In mergers & acquisitions, we successfully advised Titan
(Holdings) Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed oil group, on its
US$103 million acquisition of Neptune Associated Shipping Pte
Ltd and two other oil tankers in Singapore. We were also
financial adviser to China Merchant Holdings (Pacific) Limited,
a company listed on the Singapore Exchange, on its
HK$2.8 billion acquisition of five toll roads in China.
Supporting our investment banking team, our award-winning
custody and trust services expanded its product offerings and
geographical coverage during the year. In the ADR (American
Depository Receipt) custody business, we were awarded several
mandates for the ADR programmes of major Chinese
companies and appointed administration agent for a major
Managing Risks amid Volatility
One of DBS’ core strengths is our ability to manage risks
arising from volatility in financial markets. The compounded
annual growth rate of revenue from our treasury and markets
operations since 1999 has exceeded 30%. This growth reflects
our commitment to building a treasury centre of excellence in
Singapore that will supply a growing pipeline of interest rate,
currency and equity products to the rest of the region. We aim
to extend our dominance in Singapore dollar instruments to
other Asian currencies, and to expand our sales capabilities in
derivatives across multiple asset classes.
A major synthetic collateralised debt obligation transaction during
the year involved the US$1.65 billion securitisation of DBS Bank’s
Asian loan portfolio, one of the largest securitisation deals in Asia
Treasury & Markets’ growth reflects our commitment to building
a treasury centre of excellence in Singapore that will supply
a growing pipeline of interest rate, currency and equity products
to the rest of the region.
|DBS Hong Kong
The number of credit cards issued by DBS
in Hong Kong reached one million in July,
making DBS the fourth largest credit card issuer
in the Chinese SAR.
Making Headway in Managing Wealth
In another intensely competitive segment, DBS Asset Management
retained its lead position as the largest retail fund manager in
Singapore and in Malaysia through Hwang-DBS during 2004. Our flagship Shenton Income Fund was awarded best Global
Bond Fund over three and five years by Standard & Poor’s and
Lipper. Our Malaysian joint venture, Hwang-DBS Securities, saw
strong growth in 2004 with eleven distributors selling our retail
funds there, making us the fastest growing fund management
company in Malaysia in terms of total assets under management.
Full-service brokerage DBS Vickers Securities benefited from a
buoyant stock market in the first half of the year but saw
volumes decline in the second half because of more sluggish
conditions. It reported 11% increase in fees and commission to
$240.6 million, another record contribution to the Group. DBS
Vickers remains one of the top three brokers in Singapore by
market share and among the leading players in Hong Kong
Our private banking business in Singapore and Hong Kong
continues to work closely with other wholesale banking units
within the Group to offer clients tailored solutions for their
financial needs. Joining forces with DBS Asset Management and
one of the world’s largest fund managers, the private banking
team launched the first Singapore dollar leveraged fund of
hedged funds, the Sentinel II Enhanced Opportunity Fund.
Strong Asset Quality Allows DBS to Grow with our Customers
In the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, our
non-performing loans reached an embarrassing 13.1% in 1999,
as a result of our limited credit risk management and a lending
discipline that did not match our regional ambitions at the time.
Our resolve to put right our asset quality never wavered over the
past five years, despite setbacks and disruption from economic
recession, asset deflation, terrorism and the SARS episode. Our
year-end 2.5% non-performing loan rate is now among the best of
Asian banks and reflects our willingness to disclose our mistakes
through early classification of problem loans, the readiness to take
precautionary and sizeable provisions despite the profit and loss
consequences, and the courage to write off or sell non-performing
loans notwithstanding the impact on our regulatory capital.
Non-Performing Loan Rate at 2.5%
Among Best of Asian Banks
Today, our provision coverage of non-performing loans stands
at 89%, up significantly from the 44% in 1998. We now have
sufficient provision cushion to weather economic shocks to our
loan book. More importantly, our asset quality and provision
cushion give us the leeway and confidence to grow with our
customers as they expand their operations throughout Asia.
Integrating Technology and Operations for Productivity
We integrated our technology and operations teams nearly two
years ago and are building on the foundation laid in 2003.
Unit costs declined by 7%, productivity increased by 11%, while
quality, measured in both customer satisfaction and six sigma
terms, continued to improve.
Our IT outsourcing program is now two years into its planned
ten-year cycle and we are reaping the benefits of increased
focus on adding business value, and access to the global
competencies of our partner, IBM. As the relationship progresses,
we are moving away from capital investments in technology
towards a pay-as-you-use model of operation. We are also beginning to deploy other advanced technologies from IBM as
part of our joint technology planning process.
With our strategic partners, we achieved a number of
significant milestones in 2004. We relocated, consolidated and
upgraded our core data centres in Singapore and Hong Kong,
implemented new Internet Banking systems for both our retail
and corporate customers and completed the standardisation of
our unsecured lending platform.
2004 was a banner year for
DBS’ investment banking team.
Among the marquee deals was
the $830.3 million Suntec REIT,
the biggest IPO in Singapore.
Recruiting and Retaining Talent as Economy Recovers
Even as we invest millions in hardware and software we never
lose sight of the fact that our people are our most important asset.
The talent of our people – their drive, intelligence and curiosity – differentiate DBS in a crowded market of financial service
providers. In our recruitment and retention policies, we search
for the best and brightest and reward them on a meritocratic
basis that directly links reward with performance.
As economies in Asia recover and competition intensifies in the
banking industry, attracting, retaining and motivating talent
across the region is a clear and present challenge for DBS, as it
is for other Asian banks. To address this challenge, we are
undertaking different initiatives in the area of career development
and progression, talent management, leadership development
and remuneration review.
We continue to embrace family-friendly policies that help
employees strike a better work-life balance. Last year, DBS
became the first major corporation in Singapore to grant all
employees two days paid family childcare leave, exceeding
the statutory requirement which confines the benefit to
employees with children less than seven years of age. We also
extended maternity for any childbirth, again going beyond the
new legislated benefit for the fourth childbirth.
During the year, we won the Family Friendly Employer Award
given by a tripartite body comprising government, union and
employers for our efforts in building harmonious industrial
relations. For our commitment to staff welfare and training and
development, we received the NTUC Plaque of Commendation
Giving Back to the Communities
Beyond providing financial products and services, creating
wealth, generating jobs and paying taxes, DBS recognises our
larger civic and social responsibilities to the communities in
which we operate. We continue to champion thoughtful
philanthropic and volunteer work.
The Indian Ocean tsunami, unleashed by an earthquake off
Indonesia’s Sumatra island on Boxing Day, devastated coastal
communities in South Asia, causing death and destruction on
an unprecedented scale. Although the economic impact from
the terrible tragedy is expected to be modest, the toll it exacted
on human life was staggering. As a bank firmly rooted in Asia,
DBS shares in the grief of the communities affected by the
disaster. We have contributed to relief efforts through our own
donations and through facilitating donations from our staff and business partners in Singapore and Hong Kong. Importantly,
DBS raised almost $5.6 million through our internet banking
and ATM channels for the Singapore Red Cross Tidal Waves
Asia Fund in slightly under a month, a testament to the power
of our retail distribution channels.
After the lull following the 2003 SARS outbreak, our staff
stepped up their volunteerism work for various causes in
Singapore and Hong Kong. During the year, they escorted
underprivileged children to the theatre, conducted a museum
tour for the physically handicapped, cooked for low income
families, built homes for the poor on Batam island, and
celebrated the mooncake festival with residents of an old folks
home. DBS supports its staff in their community work by giving
every employee two days of paid voluntary leave each year.
DBS was once again conferred the “Distinguished Patron of
the Arts” award by the Ministry of Information, Communications & the Arts in Singapore for its contributions to various arts causes.
We Share Asia’s Future and Confidence
DBS is an Asian bank focused on Asia.
We have emerged from the Asian crisis stronger, tougher,
more agile, and more determined to be a leader among Asian
banks. Our portfolio of businesses is more diversified and
geographically balanced, and will be further calibrated to
improve shareholders’ returns. Our capital and asset quality are
among the strongest of our peers, and we are exceptionally
well-placed to grow with our customers as they expand
throughout Asia. Our commitment to good corporate
governance, transparency and timely disclosure – together with
our investments in people, products and systems – differentiate
us as Asia surges ahead.
||Share A Hope
DBS champions philanthropic and volunteer works, raising funds for charities, including the Community Chest’s “Give a Hand, Share a Hope” campaign.
We are proud of our record achievements for 2004 and are
quietly confident of DBS’ future. For this, I offer my personal
and heart-felt thanks to our shareholders, customers, business
partners and employees for their support.
Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
DBS Group Holdings