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Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation is boosting its wealth management business with the purchase of National Australia Bank’s private wealth business in its home market of Singapore and Hong Kong.

That will boost the Singapore lender’s footprint in private wealth, having purchased one of Barclays’ wealth and investment management units in November. That purchase boost wealth management income and helped OCBC report a 14 per cent rise in first quarter profit.

NAB intends to focus on business corporate and institutional banking in Asia. Rival ANZ Banking Group has, for the past year, also been shrinking its wealth management footprint in the region.

The business, with about 11,000 customers across Singapore and Hong Kong, had a $1.7bn mortgage portfolio as at the end of February and a $3.05bn deposit portfolio.

The transaction is expected to be completed before the end of the calendar year and will not have a material financial impact on NAB.

Peter Coad, NAB’s executive general manager for international branches said the sale “means our banking offer in Asia remains very focused on business, corporate and institutional customers.”

OCBC shares were up 0.9 per cent in Singapore, lagging rivals DBS and United Overseas Bank, but still better than the 0.7 per cent gain for the Straits Times index.

NAB shares were up 1.2 per cent in Sydney, leading a broad relief rally for Australian banking stocks, which were recovering from a sharp drop following the surprise announcement of a bank liabilities tax in Tuesday’s federal budget. The S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.4 per cent.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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