DBS provides PE Access to high net worth clients

PE Access launched by Singaporean bank DBS is part of a trend in Asia and elsewhere, where increasing numbers of ultra high net worth individuals are seeking to broaden their portfolios by investing in private equity.

Singapore bank DBS has launched PE Access to provide high net worth clients with selected private equity investments, it said. 

The platform will offer “relevant investment deals” that the bank sources, with a minimum size of S$5 million ($3.5 million; €3.2 million), which it will offer to clients with a net worth of at least S$50 million, according to a statement.

According to DBS, the bank comes across some 20 to 30 potential investment deals per month.

“We see great synergy in introducing PE Access as an investment option because of its ability to broaden our clients’ investment portfolio, allow them to participate more actively in the businesses they invest in, and at the same time help businesses in the region acquire much-needed funding,” said Tan Su Shan, group head of consumer banking and wealth management at DBS Bank in a statement.

A source with knowledge of the programme told Private Equity International that majority of the investments offered will be in Asia as most of DBS clients’ wealth are concentrated in the region, and include technology, pharmaceuticals and shipping industries.

“DBS will not be held responsible as to whether the company performs or not. The bank will act as a connector/introducer and inform clients of direct investment deals in industries they have indicated an interest in,” the source said.

According to the source, DBS has not ruled out co-investing in such deals in the future. However in this first phase, DBS will just introduce clients. 

With PE Access, DBS also hopes to help spur the growth of private equity and venture capital deals in Asia. In 2014, Asia only accounted for 13 percent of the global private equity and venture capital industry’s total assets under management. Last year, only $55 billion in private equity capital was raised in Asia, compared to $290 billion in North America and $131 billion in Europe, said the statement.

In Four Pillars of Capital for the Twenty First Century, a report by family office Stonehage Fleming, said that more high net worth individuals are turning to alternatives to preserve and growth their wealth. As UNHW families weathered the financial crisis in 2008, they are becoming more entrepreneurial and are increasingly willing to shoulder a greater degree of risk to access growth opportunities. 

According to the report, families are turning to alternatives, notably real estate, agricultural land and private equity, as well as publicly listed equities. Direct investments, potentially alongside other UHNWs, were also cited as having appeal, suggesting that family offices will compete in the space in the domain of sovereign wealth funds and institutions.