Friday, 19 April 2024

Nominations are in for Retail Finance Leader of the Year 2024 in Asia Pacific

5 min read

By Jeff Villapando

TAB Global’s annual Retail Finance Leader of the Year in Asia Pacific award recognises outstanding contributions to sustainable banking and institutional transformation, and we invite our readers to offer their feedback on these nominations

Every year, TABInsights, the research arm of TAB Global, publishes the Best Retail Banks in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa Ranking. This ranking is based on a set of criteria that has become a reference since 2003 for assessing excellence in retail banking in the region.

We also shortlist leaders in this group to identify those who demonstrate exceptional strategies leading to extraordinary results, that set the benchmarks for the rest of the industry.

The Retail Finance Leader of the Year in Asia Pacific honours the achievements of one outstanding leader in retail finance who is dedicated to building a sustainable and profitable retail finance franchise, and to meeting customer needs above those of its peers. Few candidates qualify for this prestigious career-recognising award. Previous years’ honourees can be viewed here.

The Retail Finance Leader of the Year in Asia Pacific is the only individual award under The Excellence in Retail Finance Awards, one of the most established awards programmes of its kind, that recognises financial institutions for their exceptional innovation, leadership, management, and performance in the sector.

This year, we highlight three outstanding leaders, nominated for the Retail Finance Leader of the Year in Asia Pacific. The nominees are:

  • Jacquelyn Tan, Managing Director and Head of Group Personal Financial Services, UOB
  • James Chen, President and CEO, CTBC Holding
  • Effendy Shahul Hamid, CEO of Group Consumer and Digital Banking, CIMB, Malaysia

Jacquelyn Tan, Managing Director and Head of Group Personal Financial Services, UOB

With over two decades of experience in retail banking, Tan has propelled the bank’s retail assets to $73 billion, achieving substantial growth and strategic acquisitions across ASEAN markets

Jacquelyn Tan has spent over two decades honing her expertise in retail banking, covering key areas such as treasury, consumer finance, wealth management, cards and payments, and marketing. Since assuming leadership of the group personal financial services (GPFS) segment in 2020, she has significantly grown UOB’s retail assets that constitute 18% of the total group assets, amounting to more than SGD 96.5 billion ($73 billion), but contribute 30% of group profit. Today, UOB’s regional customer base has grown to more than eight million following its Citibank acquisition across four key markets including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

Under Tan’s leadership, UOB’s overall retail banking business has seen strong growth, with gross revenue increasing from SGD 2.3 billion ($1.7 billion) in 2015 to an estimated SGD 4.3 billion ($3.2 billion) in 2023. The operating profit for the retail segment grew 42% year-over-year to SGD 2.33 billion  ($1.73 billion) in 2023. Tan’s strategies have not only driven revenue growth but also enhanced UOB’s market share in mortgages and deposit growth, and maintained a cost-to-income ratio of below 50% in the retail sector. The wealth segment has increased its contribution to GPFS’s total revenue by 6% in the past years.

Tan’s focus on Singapore and the ASEAN region has propelled UOB’s digital and consumer banking advancements, particularly in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Her initiatives, such as the launch of UOB TMRW and its expansion into these countries, have leveraged digitalisation to improve customer service and engagement through insights driven by artificial intelligence, significantly boosting UOB’s revenue.

Moreover, UOB’s strategic acquisitions, like Citi’s ASEAN operations, aims for dominance in the region and doubling the retail customer base in key markets. This ambition is underscored by the successful integration of close to one million former Citi customers in Malaysia and Indonesia onto the UOB platform within less than a year after the announcement. Tan was instrumental in recalibrating UOB’s retail portfolio to achieve greater growth with a balanced business mix and diversified product income streams, as well as a balanced regional income mix after the acquisition of Citi.

Her leadership has been instrumental in UOB’s digital transformation, enhancing customer engagement through an omni-channel strategy and innovative wealth advisory services. Tan’s blend of visionary leadership and customer-centric strategies has established her as a key figure in the retail banking sector.

Since 2019, UOB has consistently ranked among the top 10 retail banks in Asia Pacific and ranked fifth in the latest ranking—The Asian Banker Best Retail Banks in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

James Chen, President and CEO, CTBC Holding

Chen has grown CTBC into a retail financial service powerhouse in Taiwan, prioritising digital transformation and innovation, resulting in significant growth and industry leadership

Ever since taking the helm as president and CEO of CTBC Bank in Taiwan in 2011, and as president and CEO of CTBC Holding in 2022, James Chen has been the driving force behind CTBC’s growth into a retail financial service powerhouse, and steering the bank successfully into the digital age.

Among its Taiwan peers, CTBC Bank is the largest private retail bank in Taiwan, generating close to $1 billion in retail banking profit in 2023. It is the leading bank in Taiwan for retail credit loans and private banking, and serves more than 10.5 million retail customers with 79% digitally active over a six-month period.

Chen has spearheaded digital transformation at CTBC Bank and CTBC Holding, emphasising the need for innovation to stay competitive in the swiftly evolving financial market. His forward-thinking Digital End to End, Banking Everywhere strategy, initiated in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19, focuses on redesigning the customer journey for the digital era and integrating banking services into daily life.

Under his guidance, CTBC has fostered a culture of innovation and collaboration, embedding innovation into the company’s DNA through training and education. Chen advocated for four key principles to drive digital transformation: adopting an outsider’s perspective, empowering decision-making, taking timely action, and prioritising visionary leadership.

These efforts have positioned CTBC Bank as a leader in digital banking in Taiwan, noted for its innovation, efficiency, and customer-centric approach. Retail financial services contribute more than 50% to overall profits. The bank has seen significant growth, with a double-digit percentage increase in retail revenue and the highest return on equity in Taiwan’s financial sector in 2023.

Chen’s initiatives, such as the government-led pandemic relief loan programme, underscored the bank’s digital prowess, processing a record volume of loans efficiently. CTBC’s partnership with Apple and investment in digital and AI technologies have furthered its competitive edge, enabling personalised customer services and operational excellence.

CTBC’s digital transformation under Chen has not only enhanced customer experience but also solidified its market position, doubling its share in unsecured consumer lending from 2016 to 2023. The bank’s strategic focus on digitalisation, customer service innovation, and organisational culture shift has been instrumental in achieving sustainable growth and industry leadership.

Over the last decade, CTBC has successfully proven to be among the top 10 retail banks in Asia Pacific. It won the Best Retail Bank in Asia Pacific Award in 2019 and ranked fourth in the latest ranking— The Asian Banker Best Retail Banks in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Effendy Shahul Hamid, CEO of Group Consumer and Digital Banking, CIMB, Malaysia

The newly-appointed CEO oversees a unified division servicing over 20 million customers across Southeast Asia, focusing on disruptive revenue streams and digital innovation

With his extensive experience in banking and financial services, Effendy Shahul Hamid, has held various senior leadership positions at CIMB Group over the past 18 years, and took on this new role on 1 January 2023. This role integrates the Group Consumer Banking and CIMB Digital Assets into a unified division. Effendy oversees more than 20,000 staff servicing over 20 million retail and small business customers. The retail segment boasts retail assets of more than MYR 223.1 billion ($51 billion), contributing 30% to overall group assets.

CIMB offers both conventional and Islamic banking solutions to individual customers and small businesses across 10 countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore. The bank also operates a digital bank in the Philippines.

Effendy’s contributions include developing disruptive revenue streams, managing digital banking franchises, overseeing asset management, and enhancing CIMB’s brand across various segments and regions. He also served as CEO of CIMB Digital Assets of CIMB Group, and Group CEO of Touch ’n Go Group, Malaysia’s largest e-wallet and online payments platform since 2017, with over 18.5 million users today.

Previously, Shahul Hamid was CEO of Group Ventures & Partnerships, where he focused on developing new and disruptive revenue and value creation streams. This role involved cultivating new-age partnerships at scale, venturing through selective strategic investments in platform-based businesses, and managing its digital banking franchises. He was also responsible for the group’s asset management and investments business across both public and private markets, including its regional asset management business, private equity fund management business, and proprietary equity investments portfolio.

Effendy emphasises partnerships, particularly in digital retail products, as a cornerstone of CIMB’s consumer-centric approach, focusing on customer-led solutions.

Conscious of the importance of sustainable growth, customer data privacy, and the adaptability of the bank’s strategies in a dynamic market, he aims to strengthen CIMB’s competitive edge by continually innovating and adapting its digital strategies to meet the banking sector’s needs.

We invite our readers to offer their feedback on these nominations. Should you wish to share your insights on the candidates, kindly do so by 1 March to the TAB Global Excellence in Retail Finance Awards 2024 secretariat, led by Chris Kapfer at

Keywords: Nominations, Retail Finance Leader Of The Year, Excellence Awards Programme, Innovation, Leadership, Sustainable Growth Market Share, Revenue Growth, Digitalisation, Customer Service Innovation Acquisitions, Customer Experience
Institution: UOB, CTBC Holding, CIMB
People: Jacquelyn Tan James Chen Effendy Shahul Hamid
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