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Best Priority Banking in Singapore: A Comparison Guide 2024

best priority banking singapore

Singapore has risen rapidly to become one of the most significant international wealth centers, rivaling Hong Kong and Switzerland. This ascent reflects the country’s stable political climate, robust legal framework, and proactive policies in attracting high-net-worth individuals and family offices. 

As Jeffrey Yap, the South-East Asia Head of Investments and Wealth Solutions at HSBC’s global private banking business, said in an article by The Business Times, “Singapore is among the fastest growing international wealth centres.”

Within this burgeoning wealth landscape, priority banking in Singapore stands out as a pivotal service tailored for affluent individuals seeking more than the conventional banking experience. Offering personalized wealth management, exclusive perks, and investment opportunities, it caters to the intricate needs of those aiming to grow and preserve their wealth efficiently.

What is Priority Banking?

Priority banking is a segment of financial services that cater to a discerning clientele, offering a blend of personalized service and tailored financial solutions. It is designed for individuals who not only possess significant wealth but also seek a higher level of service and expertise in managing their financial affairs. 

When part of a priority banking program, you gain access to a suite of features. These often include:

  • A dedicated relationship manager, who becomes your primary point of contact, offering tailored investment advice and financial solutions.
  • Opportunities to invest in exclusive investment products that may not be available to regular banking customers.
  • An array of lifestyle perks, ranging from airport lounge access to special event invitations – designed to add luxury and convenience to your life.

Priority Banking Vs Private Banking 

While priority banking shares some similarities with private banking, there are distinct differences between the two. Private banking, as described by Investopedia, involves personalized financial services and products offered to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) by a retail bank or other financial institution. It encompasses a comprehensive suite of wealth management services, including:

  • Investing and portfolio management
  • Tax services, insurance
  • Trust
  • Estate planning

Private banking is typically more exclusive than priority banking and is focused on the more complex financial needs and higher investment thresholds of HNWIs.

In contrast, priority banking serves as a bridge between personal banking and the more exclusive private banking. It caters to clients who have substantial assets but might not yet meet the higher thresholds of private banking. Priority banking customers enjoy enhanced banking services, investment advice, and access to specialized products. However, they may not have the same level of complexity in their financial needs as private banking clients.

Typically, to qualify for priority banking services, you should meet certain thresholds regarding Assets Under Management (AUM) or Total Relationship Balance (TRB). These criteria vary amongst institutions but generally involve maintaining a sizable deposit or investment portfolio with the bank.

Feature/ServicePriority BankingPrivate Banking
Target ClientsIndividuals with substantial assetsHigh-net-worth individuals (HNWIs)
Wealth ThresholdLower than private banking, but higher than personal bankingTypically higher, for more affluent clients
Services OfferedEnhanced banking services, investment advice, access to specialized products, higher interest rates, better foreign exchange rates, lifestyle perksComprehensive wealth management including investing, portfolio management, tax services, insurance, trust, and estate planning
PersonalizationHigh degree of service and expertise, but less personalized than private bankingHighly personalized financial services and products
Access to SpecialistsAccess to a dedicated relationship managerExtensive access to a range of financial specialists
ExclusivityMore exclusive than personal banking, but less so than private bankingHighly exclusive services and offerings
Financial AdviceFocused on investment and general financial adviceMore complex financial needs, including estate planning, tax strategies, etc.

Benefits of Priority Banking

Experience personalized banking that aligns with your financial aspirations and lifestyle demands. Priority banking offers a suite of services tailored to your unique needs as a discerning client.

Dedicated Relationship Management

You’re assigned a personal relationship manager who provides financial guidance and support to cater to your investment goals. This professional will understand your financial landscape and work with you to create strategies that suit your long-term objectives.

But what if you prefer digital channels? According to an article by Channel News Asia, while priority banking delivers a customised approach and personal banking relationships, its services are also delivered through digital channels, such as real-time chats with financial experts.

Access to a Wider Range of Investment Products and Opportunities

Expand your investment portfolio with exclusive access to a broader array of investment products and opportunities. As a priority banking client, you are privy to tailored investment advice that positions you to capitalize on market opportunities more effectively.

Exclusive Lifestyle Perks and Privileges

Indulge in a lifestyle that reflects your standing with bespoke privileges and perks. From travel upgrades to private event invitations, enjoy a suite of exclusive lifestyle benefits curated for your enjoyment and convenience. For instance, DBS Treasures offers exclusive lounge access, airport limousine transfers, and a 24-hour concierge service.

Preferential Interest Rates and Fee Waivers

Benefit from preferential interest rates on your savings and investments, enhancing your returns. Additionally, enjoy reductions or waivers on various banking fees, allowing you to conduct your financial affairs more cost-effectively. For example, Standard Chartered Priority Banking offers its clientele up to 5% p.a. interest on their deposit balance

Pros and Cons of Priority Banking

Pros

  • Customized Financial Advice: Your financial portfolio benefits from personalized attention and tailored advice. Wealth managers at priority banking institutions draw upon extensive research and tools to offer strategic recommendations.
  • Exclusive Privileges: You enjoy a suite of privileges such as higher interest rates on deposits, fee waivers, and dedicated customer service lines.
  • Relationship Rewards: Building a relationship with your bank can lead to preferential treatment on loan rates, investment products, and more.

Cons

  • Minimum Balance Requirements: Maintaining a high minimum priority banking account balance is often a prerequisite, which might not be feasible for all.
  • Cost of Services: While you get personalized attention, the cost of additional services can be higher compared to regular banking.
  • Investment Risks: With access to more sophisticated investment products, there’s a potential risk of higher losses if not managed carefully.

Eligibility and Qualifying Criteria

To access priority banking services in Singapore, it’s essential to meet certain financial thresholds and conditions stipulated by banks. Understanding these criteria allows you to evaluate whether you’re a suitable candidate for the elevated services provided.

Minimum Investment/Deposit Amount

Priority banking sets a bar for a higher investment or deposit amount compared to standard banking services. Specifically, banks require you to have a certain level of Assets Under Management (AUM) or Total Relationship Balance (TRB), comprising various financial products such as insurance, cash, investments, and more. 

Typically, the range for the minimum AUM/TRB starts from S$200,000 and can extend up to S$1,000,000, depending on the institution. However, most banks hover around a S$200,000 to S$350,000 minimum to start a priority banking relationship.

Income Requirements

Additionally, a higher income bracket is often a prerequisite for priority banking. The threshold varies but is generally set at an annual income of S$120,000 or more.

Age Restrictions

Some banks prefer priority banking clients who are 21 years old or above. This ensures clients have reached a level of financial maturity and capability to manage the more complex banking services provided.

It’s crucial to review your financial status against these criteria and reach out to potential banks to fully understand the specifics of their priority banking programmes, benefits, and any additional eligibility conditions they might have, securing the banking experience that aligns with your financial strategy and goals.

Best Priority Banking Programs in Singapore

FeatureDBS TreasuresMaybank PremierCitigoldStandard Chartered Wealth $aver
Qualifying CriteriaS$350,000 (TBR)S$300,000 (TRB)S$250,000 (AUM)S$200,000 in fresh funds
Key ServicesExclusive investment productsPersonalized financial adviceProfessionally-managed investmentsPersonalized investment adviceComprehensive financial planningPortfolio managementAdvanced financial toolsDedicated wealth management expertsPortfolio strategies across various asset classesOnline investing servicesSustainable investing optionsLegacy planning solutions
Lifestyle BenefitsPreferred ratesTailored perks for accredited investorsExclusive event invitationsPreferential rates on banking productsGlobal concierge servicesMaybank Premier World MastercardBespoke advisory serviceseFXCard fee waiverExclusive event invitationsTiered interest rate up to 5.00% p.a. on deposit balance
Unique Selling PointAccess to exclusive investment opportunitiesServices tailored to accredited investorsHolistic wealth management servicesTailored solutions for financial growth and personal lifestyle needsInvestment-centric servicesGlobal access and connectivityTiered interest rate rewarding stronger banking relationship
DBS treasures private client

1. DBS Treasures

DBS Treasures is the priority banking division of DBS Bank, designed to cater to the more discerning financial needs of individuals with higher investable assets. To be eligible for DBS Treasures, you must maintain a Total Relationship Balance (TRB) of S$350,000 and hold the status of an Accredited Investor.

As a member of DBS Treasures, you gain access to exclusive investment products tailored to your financial status and goals. These products represent a range of opportunities that are not commonly available to regular banking customers.

Another significant advantage you enjoy as an accredited investor within DBS Treasures is access to perks that are tailored to wealthy individuals. These benefits may include but are not limited to, preferred rates, personalized financial advice, ready-made portfolios, and professionally-managed investments.

Yeo Wenxian, Head of DBS Treasures Singapore, assures, “Our focus is to bring you the right solutions at the right time, for your goals.”

  • Qualifying Criteria:
    • Maintain a TRB of at least S$350,000
    • Accredited Investor status
  • Special Features:
    • Access to exclusive investment opportunities
    • Accredited investor-specific perks
Maybank premier

2. Maybank Premier

When you qualify for Maybank Premier with a Total Relationship Balance (TRB) of S$300,000, you enter a realm of holistic wealth management services tailored to your financial growth and personal lifestyle needs. Your journey with Maybank Premier is etched with an array of benefits that cater to both your wealth aspirations and your desire for a finer lifestyle.

  • Wealth Management:
    • Personalized investment advice
    • Comprehensive financial planning
    • Portfolio management
  • Lifestyle Privileges:
    • Exclusive invitations to private events
    • Preferential rates on banking products
    • Global concierge services

Furthermore, as a Maybank Premier client, you are entitled to the Maybank Premier World Mastercard. This card provides substantial rewards, including but not limited to:

  • Accelerated reward points on overseas spending
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Unlimited access to selected VIP airport lounges

Your membership also extends priority services across Maybank’s network in Southeast Asia, ensuring recognition and a seamless banking experience beyond borders. As you progress on your financial journey, your dedicated relationship manager will be at your service, assisting you with tailor-made solutions that resonate with your life goals.

Citigold

3. Citigold

Qualifying Criteria To enjoy the exclusive services offered by Citigold, priority banking accounts must maintain a minimum deposit of S$250,000 in fresh funds in Assets Under Management. This threshold qualifies you for a range of tailored wealth management services designed for discerning clients.

Investment-Centric Services: With Citigold, your banking experience is centered around investment opportunities. You will have access to advanced financial tools and dedicated wealth management experts who can assist with portfolio strategies. Your investments can span various asset classes and geographical regions.

Global Access and Connectivity: As a Citigold client, you are privy to global banking services, ensuring that you can manage your finances efficiently no matter where you are in the world. This encompasses currency accounts, international wire services, and access to Citibank ATMs worldwide without incurring additional fees.

Exclusive Privileges: The Citigold privileges include bespoke advisory services, e-brokerage, preferential rates on banking products, eFX, card fee waivers, and invitations to exclusive events. You’ll also benefit from enhanced customer service with faster response times and personalized attention.

Standard Chartered logo

4. Standard Chartered Wealth $aver

With the Standard Chartered Wealth $aver account, your banking experience can align with your financial ambitions. This account stands out by offering a tiered interest rate, which can be as high as 5.00% p.a. on your deposit balance, rewarding you more as your relationship with the bank strengthens.

To be eligible, you need to start with S$200,000 in fresh funds, positioning yourself to leverage the various services offered. Once you’re onboard, you could benefit from:

  • Online Investing Services: Get access to a range of investment opportunities, directly from your digital banking portal.
  • Sustainable Investing Options: Align your investments with your values, reflecting a commitment to environmental and social progress.
  • Legacy Planning Solutions: Secure your financial future and plan for the well-being of your next generations.

Choosing the Right Priority Banking Programme

Selecting the appropriate priority banking program hinges on a clear understanding of your financial landscape and the bespoke services needed to enhance your wealth management strategy.

Factors to Consider 

  • Financial Goals: Your long-term and short-term financial objectives are paramount. Different priority banking programs offer varied investment opportunities, saving options, and wealth management services. You should choose a program that aligns with your financial goals, whether it’s growing your wealth, securing retirement funds, or managing assets effectively.
  • Personal Preferences and Lifestyle: Consider how a bank’s priority program aligns with your lifestyle and personal preferences. This includes the level of personalized service you expect, the types of exclusive benefits and privileges you value (such as travel perks, event access, etc.), and the kind of relationship you wish to have with your bank (like having a dedicated relationship manager).
  • Net Worth Requirements: Priority banking programs often have minimum balance or investment requirements. Ensure that your net worth meets these criteria and that maintaining such balances or investments is feasible and comfortable for you over the long term.

Importance of Personalized Solutions and Strategy Alignment

Tailored solutions are the cornerstone of effective priority banking. Your financial portfolio should benefit from a bespoke strategy that accounts for your risk tolerance and long-term objectives. Ensure your bank offers personalized investment advice and portfolio management that aligns with your life’s trajectory and financial ambitions.

Evaluating Projected Returns and Service Quality

Evaluate not just the projected returns, but also the service quality. High service standards, including access to a dedicated relationship manager, are indicative of the bank’s commitment to prioritizing your financial well-being. Compare anticipated investment performance with peer institutions to ascertain the competitive edge of the program in the context of the financial market.

Market Trends and Future Outlook

Piyush Gupta, chief executive officer of DBS Group Holdings Ltd., was quoted in an article by Time: “Singapore will continue to benefit from wealth and asset flows. Singapore benefits from being a safe haven, having an efficient financial system, and being a bridge between East and West.”

In the country’s banking landscape, you are witnessing an increasing shift towards personalization in priority banking services. Banks are harnessing data analytics to tailor services and financial solutions to your specific needs. You can expect a more bespoke approach to wealth management strategies.

The rise of digital platforms is evident. You should look out for advanced mobile banking applications offering comprehensive functionality. These platforms tend to facilitate a seamless interface for managing assets, monitoring investments, and interacting with financial advisors directly from your smartphone.

Sustainability-focused products are becoming prevalent. Your priority banking portfolio in the future might include green bonds or ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) compliant investments. Such products highlight a growing trend where your financial goals align with sustainable development criteria.

Here’s a snapshot of the current trends in priority banking:

  • Personalization: Custom financial advice based on individual data.
  • Digitalization: Enhanced digital services for investment and banking needs.
  • Sustainability: Increased availability of ethical investment options.

Your future outlook points to AI-enhanced customer service, where artificial intelligence could cater to personalized financial advice with greater accuracy and availability. Also, be aware of the potential for blockchain technology to introduce new levels of security and efficiency in transactions within your priority banking experience.

FAQs

1. Which Is the Best Priority Banking in Singapore?

The “best” priority banking in Singapore varies based on individual needs and preferences. Factors such as personalized service, investment options, digital capabilities, and additional privileges should be considered. 

2. How Do I Qualify for UOB Priority Banking?

To qualify for UOB Priority Banking, you typically need to maintain a certain level of deposits or investments. Most banks in Singapore, including UOB, require a threshold balance which may start from S$350,000.

3. What Is the Minimum Balance for Priority Banking in Singapore?

The minimum balance requirement for priority banking in Singapore varies between banks. Generally, it ranges from S$200,000 to S$350,000 in deposits, investments, and/or insurance products. It’s best to check with specific banks for their current requirements.

4. Which Private Banking Is the Best in Singapore?

The best private banking in Singapore depends on your financial needs and goals. Leading banks like DBS, Standard Chartered, and Citigold are often considered top choices, offering a range of services from wealth management to bespoke investment solutions. It’s important to assess their offerings against your personal financial objectives.

Final Word

Navigating the world of priority banking in Singapore can be both exciting and complex. The key is to find a banking program that aligns seamlessly with your financial goals and lifestyle preferences. Remember, the right choice should offer a balance of personalized services, exclusive perks, and robust wealth management strategies to cater to your specific needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Each bank has its own set of criteria for priority banking. Ensure you meet these requirements, be it in terms of assets under management, total relationship balance, or income.
  • While priority banking comes with a host of benefits like personalized advice and lifestyle perks, be mindful of the minimum balance requirements and potential costs.
  • Don’t hesitate to compare different priority banking programs to find the one that offers the best combination of services, benefits, and investment opportunities for you.

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