Wednesday, April 15, 2009

DBS Shares Rally despite the Passing of Richard Stanley; Singapore Economy in the Dumps

As DBS staff bid their final farewell to chief executive Richard Stanley, who died of leukemia last Saturday, the shares of Singapore's biggest bank continued to rally. DBS stock price continued its rise, even as Mr. Stanley's cortege passed through Shenton Way this afternoon. This is despite the fact that in the last four months, it has been Mr. Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman of DBS and a non-banker, who has been steering the DBS ship amidst Stanley’s absence and Singapore's steepest recession.

DBS' stock rise comes amidst a broader market rally. It is thus not clear if the stock rise indicates that investors are placing confidence in the bank's chairman, or if it is a simply a stock movement in tandem with the broader market. The DBS board, nevertheless, feels that Mr Koh is worth his weight in gold.

In comparison to Mr. Stanley who was paid almost $5 million for eight months of work in 2008, Mr. Koh has received $2 million in 'special remuneration' from DBS for assuming an 'active management oversight' role from Jan 1 to April 30 last year.