It may be a little late to the party but United Overseas Bank (UOB) has been building up its investment banking team over the past 18 months to offer debt capital market services and financial advice to its legions of local and regional clients.
According to Ronny Chng, UOB managing director and head of group investment banking, many Asian companies have grown more sophisticated and, as they expand abroad, require more than just bank loans.
Besides being a lender to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), UOB is now able to help customers access the burgeoning debt market, he said.
"The basic philosophy of the bank has not changed, we're very focused on customers," said Mr Chng in a recent interview.
"As Asian companies become larger and more sophisticated, so too have their financing needs and growth ambitions," he said.
More SMEs are tapping bond markets to fund their expansion and to reduce concentration risks, he said.
"Recognising this, UOB started expanding its investment banking product capabilities about two years ago to support our SME and corporate customers as they grow."
The investment banking team, which has more than 50 people currently, has grown by around 30 per cent over the past five years, he said.
Some customers have been with the bank five generations and UOB wants to use the relationship to offer value-added business, which is the role of the team, he said.