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Singaporean banks bulk up in wealth management

Pullback by global rivals paves way for Asian acquisitions

SINGAPORE A pullback by global competitors is giving Singaporean banks opportunities to expand their wealth management operations in Asia. The latest case in point came on May 11, when Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. said it is buying National Australia Bank's retail banking operations in Singapore and Hong Kong.

OCBC will acquire a mortgage portfolio worth $1.7 billion and a deposit portfolio of about $3.05 billion from NAB at around book value, the banks said. NAB's retail business in Asia has centered on selling mortgages to wealthy individuals for overseas property investments. Australia's largest bank, however, is selling off these businesses out of Singapore and Hong Kong, as it streamlines its Asian strategy to focus on corporate banking.

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