In Hong Kong, DBS Customers Can Open Their Wealth Account Using Only Their Smartphone

In Hong Kong, DBS Customers Can Open Their Wealth Account Using Only Their Smartphone

by November 25, 2019

DBS Hong Kong has launched the first fully virtual wealth management account opening solution, allowing new customers to set up a multi-currency savings and wealth management account completely digitally, on their smartphone.

The solution leverages technologies including instant identity verification, biometric recognition and digital security to offer a full digital experience to new customers, and is integrated into iWealth, a mobile app by the bank that allows customers to manage their investments and financial needs.

In a media release, Sebastian Paredes, CEO of DBS Hong Kong, called the solution a “breakthrough” and a “great leapfrog in the nascent virtual banking landscape” that “will allow DBS … to provide customers with a seamless digital journey.”

The solution was unveiled at a media event in Hong Kong earlier this year, during which DBS Hong Kong made a live demonstration to showcase the ease of opening an account.

After downloading the app, the account opening process comprises five stages including ID scanning, taking a photograph, creating login details, uploading a proof of address and supplying a few personal details.

The system uses facial recognition technology to verify a user simply by matching an image of an official ID and a selfie photo, and applications are processed within one working day. Clients must deposit a minimum of HK$1 million (US$128,000) in their wealth management account to use the services.

“We are the first bank that has a fully digitized journey from onboarding to all wealth management products,” Paredes said at the event. “This is not an app. This is the launch of a new virtual bank.”

Ajay Mathur, head of consumer banking and wealth management at DBS Hong Kong, said last year that the bank had invested “tens of millions” of dollars in information technology, despite stating that it didn’t “feel the need the launch a virtual bank.”

Since 2016, DBS Hong Kong has allowed small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong to open business accounts remotely with online identity verification and due diligence. The bank has also rolled out a series of mobile apps with which customers can trade stocks and currencies, access market insights, and send remittances.

The iWealth app, launched in May 2018, allows users to invest in equities across seven international markets, trade 14 foreign currencies in real-time 24×7, and transfer funds on the same day across 42 destinations without any commission.


Originally from Singapore, DBS is the largest bank in Southeast Asia by assets. It currently has two digital banks in Indonesia and India, with Taiwan and Vietnam slated to be next in line.

In Singapore, the bank has recently launched a new hybrid human-robo investment service called DigiPortfolio. The service targets beginner investors, offering access to a collection of between four and seven ETFs listed on SGX, the Singapore stock exchange, with a minimum investment of SG$1,000 or US$1,000 depending, on which portfolio the customer chooses.

DBS is just one of the numerous players out there that have put lots of effort on providing a full digital experience to wealth management customers.

Last year, Citi launched Virtual Remote Engagement (VRE) for customers in Asia Pacific (APAC), allowing them to communicate with their relationship managers anywhere, on-the-go.

The service, developed specifically for emerging and affluent customers, enables live audio, chat and video banking on Citi’s digital channels: Citibank Online and Citi Mobile. With VRE, customers can make appointments with their managers before connecting with them remotely to review portfolios facilitated by screen-sharing and video, and upload documents, share files and share links.


Featured image: DBS iWealth app,