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DBS and their head-spinning annual results

By Taipan
25 Feb 2016

When I was a banker dazzling clients with my handsome good looks, I was never one to read too much into a bank’s financial results.

There was never really a reason to. Because regardless of how well (or badly) my employer was doing, I knew I was going to get a fat bonus since that was how the best in the business were treated.

Now that I’m retired, though, I’ve started reading more about it since it keeps me connected with the industry. It also gives me a chance to laugh at my still active pals and their increasingly slimming chances of a vacation in the Maldives.

But Singaporean lender DBS decided to make life very difficult for me this week.

That was because the bank could not really decide who to blame for a 25% drop in its investment banking fees. And in a sign of true professionalism, the firm decided to change its official press release twice following the original announcement on Monday.

At first, the fault was a decline in corporate debt issuance. Then it was because of lower capital markets activity. And in the end, DBS decided that it was the poor blokes at ECM that had to shoulder the blame for the drop.

By the time DBS finished rectifying its statement, all the kick I should have got from calling up my friends there and telling them their business stinks had vanished. Instead, all I got was a sense of relief that it was finally over.

Maybe bank results are not supposed to be read after all. 

By Taipan
25 Feb 2016