Singapore Banks and Wealth Management

Did You Know

POSB Bank was founded on 1st Jan 1877 as Post Office Savings Bank by the British Colonial Government.  POSB Bank was under the control of Postmaster-General of Malaya until 1966, the post-independence of Singapore.   That’s 138 years old history.  If Lehman Brothers is around today, it will be 165 years old.

Updated 14th May 2015

Did You Know

NETS was founded in 1985 by five major banks

  • DBS Bank
  • OCBC Bank
  • Overseas Union Bank
  • POSBank
  • United Overseas Bank

The 5 banks are to operate and manage an on-line debit payment service.  TatLee Bank and Keppel Bank joined as NETS’ shareholder banks in 1990 and 1992 respectively.

TatLee Bank and Keppel Bank merged to form Keppel TatLee Bank.  POSB in 1998 was merged into DBS Bank.


Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
Singapore central bank and financial agent of Singapore Government. Their role is to promote monetary stability, credit and exchange rate policies for the growth of the economy.

Monetary Policy: Influence policies by influencing SGD exchange rate

1971 Founded 1st January to oversee monetary policies of Singapore
1977 MAS to oversee Insurance industry
1984 MAS to oversee Securities Industry Act (1973)
2002 On 1 October, Board of Commissioners of Currency (currency issuance) merged with MAS

Jan 1971 – Jul 1980 Hon Sui Sen
Aug 1980 – Jan 1985 Goh Keng Swee
Jan 1985 – Dec 1997 Richard Hu
Jan 1998 – Aug 2004 Lee Hsien Loong
Aug 2004 – May 2011 Goh Chok Tong
May 2011 – Present Tharman Shanmugaratnam

MAS Act Chapter 186
Original Enactment: Act 42 of 1970

26th December 1970: Parts I, II and VI
1st January 1971: Parts III and IV
8th October 1999: Part V
View MAS Act Chapter 186


Singapore Stock Exchange

Singapore Exchange
Stock Exchange of Singapore is operated by Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX). SGX is founded on 1st December 1999.

Singapore Exchange Limited was founded with the merger of Stock Exchange of Singapore (SES), Securities Clearing and Computer Services Pte Ltd (SCCS) and Singapore International Monetary Exchange (SIMEX). On 23rd November 2000, SGX was publicly listed on Singapore Stock Exchange.

Before 1973, Malaysia and Singapore has a common stock exchange: Stock Exchange of Malaysia and Singapore. In 1973, Stock Exchange of Singapore was set up as Malaysia announced plans to stop interchangeability of currency between Malaysia and Singapore. During that time, Malaysian Ringgit and Singapore dollar have a fixed value and can be used freely in both countries.

1973 Malaysia government announce plan to stop interchangeability of currency
1973 Enacted Securities Industry Act 1973 in Singapore
1973 24th May, Stock Exchange of Singapore Ltd was incorporated
1973 16th June, Stock Exchange of Singapore Ltd was officially opened
1999 1st December, Singapore Exchange (SGX) was incorporated
2000 23rd November, SGX was publicly listed


DBS Bank

DBS Bank
DBS Bank is a Singapore based bank. In June 1968, The Development Bank of Singapore Limited was set up by Singapore Government to lead development and industrial financing in Singapore.

In 1998, DBS Bank merged with Post Office Savings Bank (POSB).

1968 Founding of The Development Bank of Singapore Limited
1999 Started in Hong Kong with acquisition of Kwong On Bank
2001 Acquired Dao Heng bank, Hong Kong
2006 Received approval from China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC)
2007 Started Islamic Bank of Asia (DBS major shareholder and 34 Middle Eastern Investors)
2008 Acquired Bowa Bank, Taiwan

From 2009 to 2014, Global Finance ranked DBS Bank as “Safest Bank in Asia.”



POSB Bank was founded on 1st January 1877 as Post Office Savings Bank by the British Colonial Government to provide banking services to lower-income group in Malaya.

It was part of the Postal Services Department located in the General Post Office Building in Raffles Place.

In 1946, POSB Singapore was separated from Post Office Savings Banks in Malaya while operational control remains under Postmaster-General of Malaya. The control was transferred to Singapore in 1966 following Singapore’s independence. In 1998, DBS Bank acquired POSB Bank.

1877 Founded by British Colonial Government
1940 57,000 accounts and 14.3 million Straits dollars
1948 POSB Singapore was separated from Post Office Savings Banks in Malaya
1948 Operations remained under Postmaster-General of Malaya
1949 Enacted Savings Bank Ordinance 1st January
1951 100,000th depositor
1966 Control of POSB was transferred to Postmaster-General of Singapore
1972 Enacted Post Office Savings Bank Act on 1st January to govern structure and efficiency of the bank
1972 POSB bank became a statutory board of Ministry of Communications
1972 POSB started computerised accounting system
1972 600,000 accounts and deposits of $125 million
1974 POSBank became part of Ministry of Finance
1974 Credit POSB Pte Ltd was established to provide loans to HDB housing ownership
1974 800,000 accounts and deposits of $296 million
1976 POSB Bank had one million depositors and deposits of S$1 billion.
1983 HQ was shifted to the new 8-storey POSBank Center at Bras Basah Road
1986 Deposits crossed S$10 billion mark.
1990 Renamed POSBank in March
1998 Acquired by DBS Bank on 16 November for $1.6 billion

Tan Chok Kian


OCBC Bank is a Singapore based bank. It was founded in 1932 by Tan Sri Lee Kong Chian (Chairman 1938-1964), Tan Chin Tuan (Chairman 1966-1983) and Lee Choon Seng during the Great Depression with the merger of Chinese Commercial Bank (1912), Ho Hong Bank (1917) and Oversea-Chinese Bank (1919).

1932 Merger of Chinese Commercial Bank, Ho Hong Bank and Oversea-Chinese Bank
1972 Acquired Four Seas Communication Bank (Originally Sze Hai Tong Bank 1906)
2001 Acquired Keppel Capital Holdings including Keppel TatLee Bank, Keppel Securities
2003 OCBC merged OCBC Finance into OCBC Bank
2004 Merger of OAM (asset management) with Straits Lion Asset Management
2004 Acquired 22.5% in PT Bank NISP, Indonesia
2006 Acquired 10% stake in Vietnam’s VP Bank, Vietnam Prosperity Joint-Stock Commercial Bank
2006 Acquired 12.2% stake in Ningbo Commercial Bank, China
2007 Commencement of business of OCBC China.
2008 Acquired 67% shareholding in PacificMas Berhad.
2010 Acquired ING Asia Private Bank
2013 OCBC sold all 14.88% stake in VP Bank to local individual investors
2014 Acquired Wing Hang Bank, Hong Kong for US$5 Billion

OCBC Securities
Great Eastern Holdings
Lion Global Investors
Bank of Singapore, ING Asia Private Bank
Singapore Island Bank, finatiQ as Internet bank.
Ningbo Commercial Bank
OCBC Al-Amin Bank Berhad
OCBC Wing Hang Bank
Select Securities Limited

Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat left in 1959 as he felt the bank was growing too slowly in the smaller towns in Peninsular Malaya. In 1960, he set up Malayan Banking. He last served OCBC Bank as the General Manager.


UOB Bank

UOB Bank is a Singapore based bank. It was founded on 6th August 1935 as United Chinese Bank (UCB) by Datuk Wee Kheng Chiang (Sarawak) and 6 friends. In October 1935, UCB begin operation in Bonham Building.

In 1965, the bank was renamed as United Overseas Bank.

1935 Founded United Chinese Bank
1965 Renamed as United Overseas Bank
1973 Acquired Lee Wah Bank
1974 Datuk Wee Kheng Chiang stepped down as Chairman. Wee Chow Yaw (his son) appointed as Chairman
1984 Acquired Far Eastern Bank
2001 Acquired Overseas Union Bank valued around S$10 billion
2012 Wee Chow Yaw stepped down as Chairman. Hsieh Fu Hua appointed as new Chairman.