Published March 13, 2008

Swiss bank takes up bulk of new block

EFG Bank leases 52,000 sq ft for the next 6 years, with naming rights


SWISS private banking group EFG Bank has leased 52,000 square feet or two-thirds of a nine-storey office block coming up opposite Parliament House.

Prestigious address: EFG Bank Building will come up opposite Parliament House. EFG Bank is taking space that's three times the size of its existing premises

EFG has naming rights for the freehold building, which is expected to be ready in the first quarter next year. It is being developed on the former Satnam House and Amar-raj House sites by a unit of RB Capital, which is headed by 25-year-old Kishin Hiranandani, son of Raj Kumar of the Royal Brothers Group.

EFG Bank's lease is said to be for an initial term of six years, with an option to renew for a further three years.

Chris Archibold, head of markets at Jones Lang LaSalle, the property's marketing agent, said that EFG would pay a 'low double-digit' gross monthly rental.

RB Capital, which is a separate and distinct company from the Royal Brothers Group, is negotiating with several interested parties to lease out the remaining space in EFG Bank Building, which will have a total of 78,000 sq ft net lettable area, including retail space in the basement and ground level.

Mr Hiranandani, director of RB Capital, said that his company would be moving into the property to make it its Singapore headquarters. RB Capital owns and develops commercial and residential properties in Singapore and Malaysia. The new EFG Bank Building marks the company's first foray into property development in Singapore.

JLL's Mr Archibold said that the leasing deal with EFG Bank reflects that 'demand for office space among players in the financial industry is still going strong'.

EFG Bank Building, designed by RSP Architects, will have a North Bridge Road address and an entrance that will be opposite Parliament House.

The bank is leasing seven floors in the building.

EFG Bank Singapore managing director Kees Stoute said: 'The new premises will meet the expansion needs of the bank. We are also very happy with the location, panoramic views of the city skyline as well as the prestigious address, since it's just opposite Parliament House.

'The 52,000 sq ft we're taking in the new building developed by RB Capital is more than three times the size of our existing premises.'

The bank currently leases a total of about 15,000 sq ft at two locations - the entire 42nd level of OUB Centre at Raffles Place and the 10th floor of 55 Market Street. These leases expire in June 2009 and April 2010 respectively.

Mr Stoute said that the bank had not decided whether it would give up its existing premises when the leases run out. EFG Bank has a headcount of 105 in Singapore, of which 56 are client relationship officers (CROs). 'Across Asia, the business maintained the strong progress of recent years in 2007, with income growing by over 50 per cent and CROs increasing by more than a third.'

RB Capital bought Satnam House and Amar-raj House next door for a total sum of about $50 million last year.

The new development could be worth around $215 million, assuming a price of about $2,750 psf of net lettable area, according to JLL regional director and head of investments Lui Seng Fatt.