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Thursday, 9 January 2014

DBS to invest up to S$15m in tech deal with IBM

SINGAPORE: DBS Bank is looking to invest up to S$15 million over the next three years in a technology deal with IBM.

Under the agreement, DBS will apply IBM's expertise in areas like data analytics to its wealth management business.

DBS said it is targeting a roll out of the new technology in the second half of this year.

Nearly three years ago, a computer system called Watson beat human contestants in an American gameshow, “Jeopardy”, proving that computers can think.

And now, IBM, the firm that created Watson, is bringing that technology to industries like healthcare and banking.

IBM on Thursday signed an agreement with DBS Bank, making the bank the first in Asia to use the technology.

Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services, said: "We, in fact, today in New York have the creation of the Watson division in IBM which will have a billion dollars in investment to support the creation, development and implementation of Watson technology. To reinforce how strategic this is for IBM, the last time we created a separate division around a technology was actually when we built System/360, which was the mainframe."

Currently across the industry, investment advice given to wealth management clients revolves around the consensus view of the bank's research team.

DBS said the Watson technology will help its relationship managers provide investment advice that is tailored to each customer's investment and risk profiles.

Piyush Gupta, chief executive officer of DBS Group Holdings, said: "The new way of doing things is that the computer aggregates data -- every market, every asset class, (and) every country. And then, depending on every customer's individual profile and preference, it can spew out a recommendation. That completely changes the nature of the game, because now you're customised to a segment of one."

The agreement comes as traditional banks push to digitise more of their processes in a bid to compete with non-bank financial institutions like Paypal and Alipay.

DBS said it will launch more technology initiatives in the coming weeks targeted at its payments, and small and medium enterprises (SME) banking business units.

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