Singapore’s DBS Bank set to offer crypto services to retail customers

Singapore’s DBS Bank set to offer crypto services to retail customers

By Sam Grant - min read
  • Singapore's megabank DBS plans to expand crypto trading to the retail crowd
  • CEO Piyush Gupta has highlighted that the plan is to expand into online trading and a 24/7 operational model
  • DBS Bank was the first financial body to receive MAS approval last year

Singapore's largest lender DBS Bank has highlighted plans to expand the offering to retail investors by the end of the year. The bank is notable for being among the first financial institutions to host a crypto trading desk for institutional investors.

The Bank CEO and Director of the DBS Group, Piyush Gupta, revealed during an earnings call for 2021 Q4 on Monday that it had already kickstarted the process of expanding territory. While he did not directly provide any details, he suggested that the bank had set in motion the plan to widen the current customer base.

Gupta noted that with effort going into suitability and ensuring protection against fraud, there should be "something" before the close of the year.

"We've started doing the work on seeing how we get in a sensible way, take it out and expand it beyond the current investor base. And that includes making sure we appropriate thinking about things like potential fraud and others.," said the CEO.

Adopting the online approach

At present, Singapore's largest lender is bounded in terms of the stretch of its crypto services. Access to the services is limited to institutional clients, who can only place orders to the bank via phone call.  

If everything falls into place, the bank will still operate a 24/7 digital asset exchange but shift into entirely online trading rather than trades over the phone.

"What happens is that you've got 24/7, but the customers still need to call and speak to bankers. So the first order is to make it all online, make it self-service, make it instant and make sure the internal processes are robust to be able to support that," he explained.

Last year, DBS Bank became the first banking institution to receive approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to offer a crypto trading desk to customers. MAS regulation limited the clients the bank could operate with to professional market makers and financial institutions at the time of approval, with custodial services and security token offerings (STOs) available.

The need to broaden the array of crypto services the bank offers stems from the rise in the popularity of digital assets over the last year. CEO of DBS Digital Asset Exchange Lionel Lim explained that crypto trading volume recorded in 2021 was $1.1 billion, with more than half of these trades conducted in Q4, 585.5 million.