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DBS Group Holdings Ltd’s Outlook for 2019

DBS Group Holdings Ltd (SGX: D05) or DBS in short, is one of the three major banks based out of Singapore. The bank recently published its annual report for the year ended 31 December 2018. Given that reading an annual report is one of the best ways to keep up with a company’s developments, I decided to go through DBS Group’s latest annual report to understand the company’s prospects, and how it had performed in 2018.

Generally, when reading an annual report, I will pay close attention to the letter to shareholders that the company’s chairman and/or CEO writes. In this article, I will share one interesting thing to note from the letter — the outlook for 2019.

To start with, the company gave an overview of the macro environment outlook. Here’s what the chairman and CEO wrote:

“While 2019 looks uncertain with the ongoing US-China trade war, China deleveraging and general elections in India and Indonesia, as an Asian bank, it is imperative that we take a long-term view of the region. Alongside this, we believe it is important to continue investing in Asia’s two biggest markets – China and India.”

In particular, the bank’s CEO and chairman mentioned how DBS Group is positioning itself in China and India, as seen below:

In India, we recently converted our India branch licence and became a wholly-owned subsidiary. This allows us to expand our physical footprint, and we target to establish over 100 customer touchpoints across 25 cities in the next 12 to 18 months. A larger brick-and-mortar presence will strongly complement digibank, our mobile only offering.”

And last but not least, here’s how the bank is positioning itself in the medium to long term:

“While we have made huge strides in digital transformation, we cannot rest on our laurels. Big fintech trends in the next three to five years include Big Data, artificial intelligence/ machine learning and blockchain/ distributed ledger. We intend to continue to leverage these technologies and form ecosystem partnerships where they can make banking simpler or more effortless for our customers. Advancing the sustainability agenda also remains a priority.”

The Foolish conclusion

In sum, DBS Group will continue to invest in Asia, in particular, China and India, in spite of the uncertainties in 2019. Longer term, it expects to capitalise on the technology trends to offer better services to its customers.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Lawrence Nga doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned. Motley Fool has recommendations for DBS Group Holdings Ltd.