(Stocks Discussion) SGX: DBS Group Holdings Ltd (SGX: D05)? - Seedly
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Asked on 25 Apr 2019

(Stocks Discussion) SGX: DBS Group Holdings Ltd (SGX: D05)?

Discuss anything about share price, dividends, yield, ratios, fundamentals, technical analysis and if you would buy or sell this stock on the SGX Singapore markets. Do take note that the answers given by our members are just your opinions, so please do your own due diligence before making an investment!


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Tracy Lim

Tracy Lim

Level 5. Genius

Answered on 25 Apr 2019

We were welcomed at the venue, with their annual report screaming it is the Best Bank in the World.

DBS (or rather, POSB) was the first bank account that I opened. And now, DBS is the first AGM that I attended. Definitely an interesting first experience! Some key takeaways:

1. Overview on Top line and Bottom line

DBS Chairman Peter Seah started off by giving an introduction, and then moved on to CEO Piyush Gupta giving an overview of their 2018 performance. Long story short: DBS’ performance is great in 2018, with total income rising 11% and profits rising 28% from previous year. Sounds good.

2. Dividend

With a total of $1.20 dividend in 2018, they were asked whether the dividend yield is sustainable. The answer given by Mr Gupta was that they are more focused on the absolute dividend amount rather than yield – and they claim that with their performance, absolute dividend is sustainable.

3. Some more numbers

Currently trading at a price of $27.25 (at close on 25 April 2019), many analysts are giving it a target price of around $29. Comparing to its industry peers OCBC and UOB, DBS has high ROE (12.1%). But P/E and P/B ratios are slightly higher as well.

Source: PhillipCapital

4. Management expertise

I guess something fun to look at can be the management expertise. Peter Seah has been on the board since 2009, and assumed the role as the chairman from 2010. Piyush Gupta has been the CEO of DBS since 2009. Under them, DBS has been performing well and growing pretty steadily. They also said they will focus on hiring talents, who can provide internal job mobility.

With the rise in cybersecurity risks, it is definitely an important risk to manage especially for a bank. It’s a relief that cybersecurity risk management is being highlighted by the CRO in the annual report, of course alongside other risks.

5. Moving forward…

Geopolitical environment

They are scaling their growth in markets like China and Indonesia. There was a question on the exposure in the China market. Mr Seah came in and said that Mr Gupta and himself actually oversees the China market. Mr Gupta then mentioned that IMF lowered the expected global GDP twice this year already – I guess as expected, in 2019, we can only say there will still be a lot of macroeconomic uncertainty.

Experimentation and innovation

DBS said they will place greater focus on working with startups eg. Go Jek and Carousell

Going digital

This is something that they emphasised a lot during the AGM, and they were named the world’s best digital bank. Noting DBS Paylah, they said 2019 will see DBS focusing more on fintech and going digital.

Performance seems to be pretty good. There was no lack of questions at the AGM, with people running to the mics consistently. Overall, cool AGM, free food and free book (annual report)!


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Thad and Tracy's first AGM experience...

For both Thad and Tracy, this was their first AGM experience! It was also the first time we had so many people attending an AGM together :)


DBS’ AGM was definitely the AGM with the nicest setting since it was located at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre. Most of the attendees were old folks, but today’s setting definitely had younger attendees as well which asked very pointed questions (more on that later). Interestingly, they left the food to the end of the AGM, which was a chicken wrap. I suppose they reluctantly have this food segment just to appease the attendees who go there for the food.

And now to “business”...

Business Profile

I’m sure everyone has heard of DBS before, being one of the most prominent banks in Asia and I suppose many of us have bank accounts with them as well. They are a commercial bank headquartered and listed in SIngapore, and they provide a full range of services in consumer banking, wealth management and institutional banking.

Income Streams

By Geography

Source: DBS Group Ltd Annual Report 2018

Overall, total income had increased by 11% Year-On-Year to 13bn in 2018. As can be seen the majority of the income still resides from the Singapore market (61%). However, this proportion is decreasing over time, as more income is starting to be derived from international markets. The segment which experienced the most YOY growth was actually Hong Kong (23% increase) and the Rest of Greater China (31% increase).

Net profit as a whole also grew quite a fair bit by 28% to 5.6bn. The highest growth driver was still the Singapore market, but again, Hong Kong and Greater China regions experienced significant growth for this portion too.

By Segment

Institutional Banking

Source: DBS Group Ltd Annual Report 2018

Commercial / Wealth Management

Source: DBS Group Ltd Annual Report 2018

With both institutional banking and consumer banking / wealth management raking in almost equal levels of income, this diversification might help to prevent over-reliance on a certain sector. However Institutional Banking seems to be more profitable than the consumer banking segment based on profit before tax.

In fact, institutional banking had achieved a YOY growth of almost 3 times as compared to 2017, while consumer banking had achieved a growth of 23%. Hence, for 2018, institutional banking seemed to be the one driving more growth for DBS.

Distributable Value

Source: DBS Group Ltd Annual Report 2018

With the strong growth achieved in 2018, I think many people were wondering about how the bank had distributed their value created. In 2018, a total of $7.52bn in distributable financial value was achieved.

This was significantly higher than the value of $5.92bn achieved in 2017. It is at least heartening to see that almost 60% of such value, were distributed on shareholders, which led to the relatively high dividends that were paid out last year.

Interesting Questions Asked

“Can dividends be sustained?”

Source: DBS Group Ltd Annual Report 2018

More specifically, the shareholder wanted to know if the payout ratio of 0.55 was sustainable or not. I believe that this question was on the minds of many shareholders as well. When posed this question, CEO Piyush Gupta mentioned that such dividends could be sustained, and might even go up in the future, depending on how the bank performs. He mentioned that you can’t just look at the payout ratio, but that you need to look at the absolute dividend amount as well, and compare that to the performance of the bank overall.

“What about the environmental impact in Indonesia?”

There was a question asked on how certain financing in Indonesia could lead to long-term environmental issues. The lady who asked this question seemed to be some environmental activist who went back and forth with CEO Gupta for quite a bit.

Mr Gupta’s response was that the bank had already been focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for some time, and that a balance approach is needed, although such a balance is hard to achieve. He also mentioned that there was an energy gap in Indonesia, and so such needs had to be fulfilled as well. However, he did mention that the bank will not perform coal financing anymore.

“How would business in China be conducted?”

Mr Gupta mentioned that the bulk of the business in China is offshore, in the sense that a lot of the business there were more on international rather than domestic transactions. He felt that DBS couldn’t compete domestically with their local banks. However, he did mention that was a lot of stress testing done on their portfolio there to ensure that the portfolio there had high quality.

“Outlook for 2019?”

Mr Gupta mentioned that global GDP for this year will slow due, as seen by how the IMF had downgraded global GDP growth twice, which he explained, was one of the reasons why the federal interest rates were not lowered. He was however, optimistic that despite lower growth in Asia, growth rates would still be fairly strong. Also, some of the impact of last year’s higher interest rates would flow into this year’s book as well. The easing of geo-polictical tensions and a potential trade deal between the US and China could also help to normalise performance.


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Billy Ko

Billy Ko

Level 7. Grand Master

Updated on 07 Jun 2019

I too attended the AGM of DBS and here were my takeaways (experience / questions-wise)

To attend an AGM, no pre-registration is required. Just head down on the stated AGM date, scan your IC at the registration counter and enter the premises.

So during AGM's you'll be handed an electronic voting device to vote for resolutions the board wants to pass during this meeting. This voting device will indicate your full name and number of shares you have for the particular company.

The board was really punctual, all seated beforehand and the meeting commenced at 2p.m. by Chairman Peter Seah.

DBS CEO, Piyush Gupta later took over by giving an overview of the past year's performance of the company, showing graphs, charts, awards, numbers, initiatives. Basically verbalising their 'report card'.

Then came the first resolution which is to vote the Board back in for another term. Chairman would then ask "Are there any questions to this resolution" of which this is where the interesting part of the AGM starts, the Q&A portion.

Funny how sometimes questions asked are not in direct relation to the resolution but are still being asked / answered regardless. Mics are placed at the aisles to facilitate the asking of questions of which the Board would answer to the best of their ability

Questions asked can mainly be categorised as follows:

1) Recent Events

Shareholders are always worried about how recent events affect the company. In DBS case, the first question posed to them was the case of how they actually assisted in the marketing of Hyflux bonds. CEO then replied how unfortunate it was that Hyflux are in their current state. But at that point of time, DBS did their Due Diligence in analysing Hyflux and therefore, this was relatively unforeseen.

2) Comparison

No company lives in a vacuum, therefore, shareholders, although invested in the company, always like to compare this company with another. Hence a couple of queries compared DBS alongside other banks in terms of phrasing of Annual Reports on measures or even mission and vision of DBS as opposed to other banks.

3) Sustainability

There are bound to be advocates of such but everyone knows when running a business, one cannot ensure a zero-waste / eco-friendly operation.

4) Dividends

Dividends is also another aspect shareholders enjoy poking at during AGMs

  • Frequency of dividends

  • Sustainability of dividends

  • Projections of dividends

5) Moving forward

How is the business going to continue to grow? What are the future plans for the business?


Look around and one can see the attendees are majority of white-hair / no-hair. I really do hope to see a transition of younger audiences in AGMs. I can safely say that these retirees in the room can retire soundly. Pretty sure their DBS counters have appreciated quite a few folds

But my greatest takeaway from this whole AGM

You can never please everyone

I find DBS doing a great job, being ahead of the trends, acting ahead of time or reacting with immediate knee-jerks with adoption of technologies, partnering with e-commerce businesses i.e. Carousell, Grab etc. launching new applications to make transactions more efficient, convenient. With the usage of technology, it provides an opportunity for labour cost to be lowered as roles would've been made redundant.

Sounds good for shareholders right? Given how labour expenses are always one of the highest expense-incurring cost. Then there would be some who are worried about how the bank is going to manage these staff, would they re-train them to take on other roles? Raising concerns along these lines.

How do you balance between ethics and costs, and therefore my takeaway - You can never please everyone


Isaac Chan
Isaac Chan

26 Apr 2019

Wow nice thanks for the answer Billy! Didn't know you were there also :)
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Thaddeus Tan

Thaddeus Tan

Level 6. Master

Updated on 29 Apr 2019

Won't be discussing about the stock but will be sharing what my experience was like at the DBS AGM. I have never gone for an AGM before and I was actually quite excited to see what it's like and how an AGM would run.


I had a wonderful first experience at the DBS AGM. It was interesting and manage to draw me to listen to what the board of directors said (or rather just the Chairman and the CEO... LOL)

What I was expecting before going to the AGM:

As I grew older, I started to see and hear the term AGM more and more frequently. Adults were discussing whether or not to go for the various AGMs. They even had AGMs in church! WOW! What did AGMs have to do with church... right?! Surprise Surprise I finally understand what AGMs were about. I have heard people say how boring AGMs are and so I kinda had that preconceived notion that AGMs were boring. Having said that, I still wanted to form my own impression, I was interested to see and feel what it was like!

AGM experience:

I can see why people would find AGMs boring. AGMs are basically a session whereby the general membership of an organization come together to discuss and share their progress over the past year(s). It serves as a form accountability toward the members of the organisation. These organizations include membership associations and companies with shareholders. (_Ahhhh now I see why they have AGMs in churches too!) _Anyway, so ya the board of directors were already seated down ready to deliver their presentation when I entered. The starting of the AGM set a good direction as to how the rest of the session would be. The Chairman, Peter Seah started by sharing about the KPIs and the various weightage it held in the bigger goals that DBS had. It was then followed by the CEO, Piyush Gupta who took us through the performance of DBS throughout the year(s) e.g( general statistics, Global rankings, accolades and achievements etc.)

Of course, I understood only a fraction of what was being shared and had to ask my friends who were there with me (see picture) and thankfully they were patient enough to explain to me.

Due to other committments, I had to leave the AGM early, unfortunately. When I exited the room, I was legit surprised. There were so many elderly people (as if there weren't enough old people in the AGM already DISCLAIMER: NOTHING AGAINST OLD PEOPLE, JUST AN OBSERVATION!!) queuing up. The AGM hasn't even ended and there is a queue outside the ballroom already? What were they even queuing for anyway? Yeap... You guessed it - FREE FOOD. Mai goodness. What were they really here for manz AAHAH. #sosingaporean

To sum up the whole virgin experience to an AGM, I would say that is was a fascinating experience. I guess the reason why I managed to pay attention to what was being said and did not find it as boring as it was made out to be was because I myself am a customer of DBS. I not only have my savings with them, I also use their apps such as PAYLAH! just to name a few of their products. It piqued my curiosity as to what plans they had moving forward and to sustain this banking business. Overall, I would be interested to go for other AGMs to really listen how they plan to develop and maybe, just maybe... also for the food HAHA! (not all AGMs have food tho)


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