New ’boutique’ home for private bank EFG

DESPITE the current United States credit crunch, the third-largest Swiss private banking group EFG Bank, is expanding here and will be taking up seven floors out of the new nine-storey “boutique” office block opposite the Parliament House.

EFG will be the first private bank to occupy the bulk of a building, and this gives it naming rights for the 78,000-square-foot freehold building.

Said EFG Bank’s managing director Kees Stoute: “Timing-wise it is very interesting, especially with the credit crunch. We are not affected in the sense that we are still growing, and as a company we don’t have any exposure to the credit crunch that you see now.”

EFG Bank Building is located on the sites of the former Satnam House and Amar-raj House. These sites were bought last year for about $50 million for development by RB Capital, a company that focuses on real estate in both Singapore and Malaysia.

The bank will be paying a “low-double-digit” gross monthly rental, and is committed to a long-term lease at the new EFG Building. Office rents in the area range from $8.50 to $16.50 per square foot.

EFG Bank started in Singapore in 2000 and has three outlets to its name: One at OUB Centre, another at Market Street and another at Prudential Towers. Its space at the new EFG Building will be about five times the size of all three locations put together.

The bank has a headcount of 121 people, with 70 customer relationship officers.

Mr Stoute said: “We want to have our own image and positioning. Being at such a prestigious location allows us to be more visible ˜ that’s the main drive of this move. I can’t think of one country in the world where you can have the luxury as a bank to have such good neighbours.”

The bank is expected to move into the building by May next year. EFG Bank Building marks the company’s first venture into property development in Singapore. It will also be moving into the top floor of the new building, with Singapore as its headquarters.

Source : Today – 22 Sep 2008

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