Trendwatch

Transforming leadership in a changing world

By Foo Boon Ping

We look for leaders who are able to pick the trends that will have significant impact on how banks and the financial services industry operate and to harness the resources and creativity of management to turn such challenges into opportunities to differentiate themselves in the marketplace

In our search for the leaders who best exemplify the future of the financial services industry that is being dramatically transformed by regulation, technology and new business models, we look for leaders who have the vision to navigate the challenges that confront their individual organisations and the industry as a whole. We also look for leaders who understand that banks and bankers occupy a position of trust and confidence, and that this is constantly under siege.

We look for leaders who are able to pick the trends that will have significant impact on how banks and the financial services industry operate and to harness the resources and creativity of management to turn such challenges into opportunities to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Often this requires a deep transformation of mindset.

In this issue, we profile Agus Martowardojo, president commissioner of Tokopedia, and former finance minister and central bank governor of Indonesia who was awarded the William “Bill” Seidman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Leadership in the Financial Services Industry in 2019.

He is one of the key architects of the modern Indonesian economic and financial system. A career banker turned technocrat, he joined the Indonesian cabinet as finance minister in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and was instrumental in guiding the economy through its structural reform and laying the groundwork for its subsequent transition into a digital economy.

He was recently appointed chairman of the board of the country’s largest technology “unicorn”, Tokopedia. The local ecommerce giant has just reached its 10th year of operations and started a new growth phase by developing its ecosystem into infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) to empower and strengthen Indonesia’s digital economy.

We also profile Ping An Bank’s chairman Xie Yonglin, the winner of the Leadership Achievement in Asia Pacific. The bank has perhaps one of the world’s most authentic ambitions to become a leading technology centric financial services player that brings together traditional banking with insurance, brokerage, payments and related services. We trace his 25-year career and the major milestones and aspirations that he has achieved since December 2016, when he was appointed chairman, at a time when the Chinese banking industry was facing challenges in sustaining profit growth and managing non-performing loans.

Ping An Bank is a subsidiary of Ping An Group, that wants to take its 500 million customer behemoth digital, just to give it scale. The group once counted HSBC as one of its investors and it is now the single largest investor in HSBC. So, we are looking at an institution that has changed the world.

The retail business became core to the bank’s revenue growth after two years of transformation. The proportion of retail revenue and loans exceeds 50% of total assets of the bank today. The number of retail customers increased by 20% in 2018, among which, wealth management customers increased by 30%. The number of credit cards in circulation and the number of monthly active customers of its mobile banking app went up by 34.4% and 74.6%, respectively.

Xie is transforming the business on many fronts that will make it unrecognisable yet again. The bank recruited a large number of technical experts from leading internet technology companies to push the integration of technology and finance. In 2018, the IT capital expenditure was up by 82%, and the number of technology staff increased by over 44%.

The next stage in 2019 is to implement a retail artificial intelligence (AI) strategy and build an “AI bank”. Artificial intelligence is used as the internal driving force to improve the innovation mechanism and deepen the idea of an “agile organization”. In his own words, Xie shared insights on the transformation journey, the role of AI and the integrated retail and wealth management business model.



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