Channel NewsAsia

StanChart's key strategy is to become more efficient: Singapore CEO

In her first media interview since taking over the helm, StanChart Singapore CEO Judy Hsu, says the bank is improving its processes to become more efficient amid a slow economic climate.

SINGAPORE: In an environment of slower economic growth, becoming more efficient is a key strategy for Standard Chartered Bank, said Singapore CEO Judy Hsu.

In her first media interview as CEO of StanChart Singapore, Ms Hsu said the lender is improving its processes and platforms, and banking more with their existing clients. Ms Hsu was previously the Group Head of Wealth Management for the bank, before taking on the role of Singapore CEO in October 2015.

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia’s Nicole Tan on Thursday (Mar 10), Ms Hsu started by talking about the bank's main priorities for the Singapore market.

“In the long run I’m sure we’ll get through this economic cycle”: Standard Chartered Bank Singapore's new CEO Judy Hsu tells Channel NewsAsia about her growth strategy for the bank. Find out what else Ms Hsu has to say about jobs and coping with slower economic growth in an exclusive interview on Singapore Tonight at 10pm.

Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Friday, 11 March 2016

Judy Hsu: Our global businesses, technology hub are located here, so (Singapore) is very important to the bank. Our focus in Singapore is first to compete well and grow our market share in all the client segments that we bank, from retail to commercial to corporate and institution to private banking.

The second is, we've been here for 157 years, we want to continue to contribute to the local community, as well as the economic landscape of Singapore."

Nicole Tan: Standard Chartered has recently been in the headlines globally over jobs. Can you address some of these concerns? Are there areas where the bank is still hiring?

Judy Hsu: We're going to continue to grow in Singapore. As I said, we'll continue to invest in the client segments that we want to focus on.

If you look at the Singapore industry, the number of compliance staff has tripled, and we've seen that similar trend in Standard Chartered Bank. Compliance is an area that's growing. Technology, project management, relationship management (are also growing).

There are jobs that will be potentially displaced by technology. Those are more manual jobs, more repetitive jobs, and that's an area where as a bank, we continue to train our staff so that they can continue to upgrade their skills and be well prepared should certain jobs be displaced over time.

Nicole Tan: Turning the focus to growth strategy, what are Standard Chartered's plans for Singapore's retail market?

Judy Hsu: We have a million retail clients. We want to continue to be that material player, increase our market share. To do that we have to continue to enhance our products, to be more relevant to a more affluent client segment, which I think is an area we can actually do very well.

If you look at cards and deposits, they're now commoditised and it's really hard to compete in commoditised products. So service is important. Certain features to give people more value for their money, better pricing, digital capabilities are also important. Very few people visit banks anymore. These are all the areas we're investing in to continue to grow our market share."

Nicole Tan: How do you see Standard Chartered differentiating itself from other players in a market that's already quite saturated?

Judy Hsu: As an international bank, we're somewhat disadvantaged in terms of our distribution network in Singapore. We don't have as many branches or ATMs, but we have other competitive advantages we can leverage on. That's our wealth management platform, product set, investment advisory capability and those are the areas I think are very relevant to the priority banking segments, and that's a focus for us.

Nicole Tan: But we know economies both domestically and regionally are facing slower growth. How do you plan to manage your business to cope with these challenging times?

Judy Hsu: Globally, the economies are slowing down, there're macroeconomic headwinds. We've to be more efficient as a bank. I think whether in good or bad times, all businesses need to be a lot more efficient meaning do more with less. And that's all about investing in better technology, platform, automating, improving our processes. That's something we're doing so we can be a lot more efficient from a cost perspective.

We talk about doing more with existing clients. That's also an area that makes an operation more efficient. Many of our commercial banking clients also bank with us on their personal side, be it in private banking or priority banking. That's a big focus for us. We can help them not only manage business wealth as well as personal wealth.

In the long run, I'm sure we'll get through this economic cycle.