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The Singapore banks are far outperforming the benchmark STI this year, with DBS rallying 21.3% year to date (ytd), compared to the STI’s 8.7% gains as of 29 September, while OCBC is up 14.6% ytd. UOB is the underperformer of the Singapore banking sector, although it is still up an impressive 14.1% ytd. 

UOB however, is Macquarie Research’s top pick of the Singapore banks, and in a research piece published yesterday, reiterated their positive view of UOB after the bank’s announcement that it will migrate its Mighty personal banking app to TMRW across all its ASEAN markets. Read on to find out more…

Here is an excerpt of the Macquarie Research (MQ) research note released on 29 September 2021:

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Unifying the digital banking app

UOB has announced it will migrate the Mighty personal banking app to TMRW across all its ASEAN markets. In addition, UOB will invest S$500 million in tech capital expenditure over 5 years as it seeks to double its digital banking customers from 3 million to 6 million.

Key implications

TMRW appeals to young professionals and young professional families. It has been a successful driver of customers and deposits in Indonesia and Thailand over the past two years. Since launch, there is clear evidence of UOB outperforming the system in the competitive Indonesian market and in Thailand TMRW was outperforming the system until the first half of 2021.

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UOB has a single app strategy, different from peers. It does not offer a separate payments or wealth app, for example, pooling its resources into one offering. TMRW has gamification features on savings aimed at youth savers, though MQ expects this to be optional now the app will be for all audiences. UOB will offer its wealth and insurance services (SimpleInvest and SimpleInsure) directly in the app across all markets.

At an important juncture in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore will have full-fledged digital banks from 1H22 with Grab-SingTel and Sea coming to market. Malaysia is in the process of offering up to 5 domestic digital banking licenses. MQ estimates new digital banks may capture 3 to 5% of retail savings balances in Singapore within 5 years, as these offerings scale up to serve younger consumers and small and micro business credit. TMRW provides a platform for UOB to retain/grow its share of younger customers in these markets.

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Action and recommendation

MQ has an Outperform rating on UOB with a 12-month target price of $31.80 based on a Price to Book methodology.