DBS, Citigroup teaming up for Coutts?
DBS Group Holdings, South-east Asia's largest lender, is working with Citigroup as it studies a potential bid for the international business of Royal Bank of Scotland Group's private bank, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The Singapore bank's deliberations are still at an early stage and it has not made a final decision on whether to proceed with an offer for Coutts International, said the sources, who asked not to be named as the process is private.
DBS completed its US$220 million (S$290 million) purchase of Societe Generale's Asian wealth-management business in October, boosting its assets under management by about 15 per cent to S$88 billion.
Chief executive Piyush Gupta said on Oct 31 that his bank would "take a look" at the Coutts business when it was put up for sale.
DBS spokesman Edna Koh declined to comment.
RBS, Britain's largest state-owned lender, said in a memo to employees in August that it was selling Coutts' overseas business as it shifts its focus to wealthy clients in Britain.
The bank is also examining options including joint ventures or merging Coutts International, according to the memo.
Coutts International had 32.6 billion Swiss francs (S$43.8 billion) of assets under management at the end of last year, little changed from the previous year, according to an annual study by Scorpio Partnership.
The Britain business counts Queen Elizabeth II among its customers.