OverviewAs we can see in the table of comparative financials above, DBS is the largest of the three banks, with the greatest interest income, total income, and total assets of the three banks. OCBC, despite being a smaller bank, has a significant life insurance business in the form of its 87% stake in Great Eastern, and this boosts its non-interest income to comparable levels of both UOB and DBS. UOB is somewhere in the middle in terms of size between OCBC and DBS.
An interesting point of note is that while DBS and UOB both take charges profit while adjusting for allowances, OCBC actually takes an addition to profit from its allowances. This was a point of heated argument between Morgan Stanley Banking analyst Matthew Wilson (who like me is a Uni Melbourne graduate) and the CEO of OCBC, David Conner, during the latest results press conference.
Comparative RatiosThe table above lists some key performance ratios of the three firms, as well as the average of the three, as a comparative benchmark.
In terms of revenue mix OCBC clearly has the highest proportion of income coming from non-interest income. This can be attributed to the operations of Great Eastern which forms a significant portion of its balance sheet and income statement.
On the commercial banking side, we see that DBS is able to squeeze more out of its assets than the other two banks, and this manifests itself in the highest net interest margin of the three. DBS also has the lowest NPL ratio of the three banks.
OCBC has the lowest cost/income ratio of the three banks and DBS has the highest.
In terms of ROA and asset turnover, it would appear that UOB has the strongest position. UOB also has strong capital adequacy ratios. However its ROE is the lowest of the three.
Given that there is not much space left in
In terms of non-interest income, DBS seems to be the most aggressive, and it has hired experienced investment bankers and appears to be trying to remodel the bank into a full-fledged universal bank. It will take some time for DBS to build up its capital markets network and capabilities.
Valuation wise there is not much to choose between the three. DBS and UOB are very similarly priced in terms of P/E and P/B. OCBC is priced slightly differently and this is probably due to its insurance assets.
An investment in the banks at current prices will therefore have to depend on the investors’ view of the recent turmoil in the credit markets and the broader economy, and the impact this will have on the banks going forward.