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24 May 2010
Singapore, May 24, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned the following first-time
ratings with a stable outlook to Bank of Singapore (BOS):
C- Bank Financial Strength Rating (BFSR)
Aa1 long-term local and foreign currency deposit rating
Aa1 long-term local and foreign currency issuer rating
P-1 short-term local and foreign currency deposit rating
P-1 short-term local and foreign currency issuer rating
"BOS' Aa1/P-1 long-term/short-term deposit
ratings are the same as those of its parent, Oversea-Chinese
Banking Corporation (OCBC), reflecting the expectation of full support
from OCBC for BOS, if needed," says Christine Kuo, a
Moody's Vice-President and Senior Credit Officer.
BOS' long-term/short-term issuer ratings are also
Aa1/P-1 as Moody's typically rates a bank's senior
unsecured debts the same as its deposits.
The issuer rating is an opinion of an entity's ability to honor
its senior unsecured financial obligations.
"BOS' stand-alone financial strength is reflected in
its BFSR of C-, which translates into a Baseline Credit Assessment
of Baa1, and is underpinned by the bank's small but established
franchise in a growing Asian market, as well as its very liquid
and well capitalized balance sheet; which is further protected by
a conservative appetite for market and credit risk, and proactive
risk management," adds Kuo.
"However, the rating also considers BOS' lower level of profitability
-- in comparison with the bigger global private banks --
due to its smaller scale and the challenges inherent in the private banking
business, including client sensitivity to the investment performance
of assets under management (AUM), as well as operating, legal,
and reputational risks," says Kuo.
BOS, formerly known as ING Asia Private Bank Ltd, was sold
to OCBC by ING Bank N.V. in late January 2010. BOS
had more than 5,000 clients and a client AUM total of US$15.8
billion when the transaction was announced in October 2009.
OCBC's private banking business is currently in the process of being
combined with that of BOS, and this will result in a private bank
with more than 7,000 clients and total client AUM of approximately
OCBC owns all of BOS. It is the sole funding counterparty for BOS
and is involved in its risk management. In addition, OCBC
has made available its products, infrastructure and support functions
BOS is also recognized by the market as a member of the OCBC group,
and Moody's believes OCBC has a very strong incentive to support
BOS, if needed.
BOS' BFSR could be upgraded on significant improvements in the bank's
franchise and profitability, and which would likely be driven by
continued growth in client assets. Such clients will need to be
supported by sound investment advisory services and sales practices.
On the other hand, the BFSR could be lowered if the bank's
current moderate-risk business model changes, or if its risk
management capabilities are not consistently upgraded in line with its
growing business and the evolving nature of its operating environment,
thereby undermining long-term stability in growth and earnings.
BOS' deposit and issuer ratings could be changed if OCBC's
deposit ratings are changed. OCBC's long-term/short-term
deposit ratings are Aa1/P-1 with a stable outlook.
The principal methodology used in rating this issuer was Moody's "Bank
Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology", published
in February 2007 and "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into
Moody's Bank Ratings: A Refined Methodology" published in March
2007, available on www.moodys.com in the Rating Methodologies
sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other
methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process
of rating this issuer can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory
on Moody's website.
BOS is headquartered in Singapore and reported total assets of US$5.7
billion at end-2009.
Christine S. Kuo
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Singapore Pte Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: (852) 2916-1150
SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308
Moody's assigns Aa1 first time rating to Bank of Singapore
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Singapore Pte Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: (852) 2916-1150
SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308
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