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KUALA LUMPUR, March 6, 2015:

RHB Capital Bhd is expanding its operations in Singapore, even as former tripartite merger partner CIMB Group Holdings Bhd cuts back regionally from this sector.

RHB today announced that it now has the entire stake in DMG & Partners Securities – after buying out Deutsche Asia Pacific Holdings Pte Ltd – and immediately rebranded it as RHB Securities Singapore Pte Ltd.

RHB Investment Bank managing director and chief executive officer Mike Chan Cheong Yuen said RHB wants “to scale up Singapore aggressively,” with the aim of turning it into a treasury hub for regional fixed income, equities, forex as well as sales and trading, as well as a hub for originating regional business.

He also said RHB aims for the investment bank to grow by 200 people across the region. The investment bank has 4,400 staff, of which 400 are in Singapore.

CIMB, meanwhile, has reportedly slashed 15 jobs at its Singaporean unit and cut a total of 150 jobs across its Asian units (namely Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and India) as well as pulling out its Australian unit which saw 103 jobs lost there.

CIMB group chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Zafrul Aziz had said: “It is not an easy thing to do. I’m restructuring and recalibrating the investment banking business to reflect the new realities of investment banking.”

The banking group has been making several major moves to cut costs, including calling off the planned merger with RHB and Malaysia Building Society Bhd – which would have resulted in the world’s largest Islamic bank.

RHB’s expansion comes as its group managing director Kellee Kam Chee Khiong has tendered his resignation.

Malaysia’s fourth largest financial group yesterday said Kam will continue to carry out his responsibilities until his effective date of resignation on May 4. “A successor has been identified. The board will now proceed to seek approval from Bank Negara Malaysia to appoint the said successor.”

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