Banks in Singapore, with encouragement from the government, are trying to ensure that more local employees are promoted up through the ranks.
But the city state’s executive teams aren’t all dominated by expats – many Singaporeans already hold top management roles. If you’re a young banker in Singapore with leadership aspirations, here’s who you should be looking up to.
Ronald Ong, chairman and chief executive officer, Southeast Asia, and head of Singapore office, Morgan Stanley
One of Singapore’s most celebrated investment bankers, Ong has been with Morgan Stanley for 18 years and became regional CEO in 2004. A 30-year career in mergers and acquisitions and capital markets – which also included stints at Credit Suisse First Boston and Deutsche Bank – has given Ong unrivalled client connections across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Tan Su Shan, group head of consumer banking and wealth management, DBS
Tan won plaudits for successfully managing DBS’s takeover of Societe Generale’s Asian wealth unit in 2014 and she’s now busy ramping up her firm’s private-wealth asset base and headcount across Asia. She joined DBS in 2010 as group head of wealth management and was promoted to her current role two years later. Tan also had senior jobs at Morgan Stanley, as head of private wealth management for Southeast Asia, and Citi, where she was regional head for Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.
Edmund Koh, head of wealth management for Asia Pacific, UBS
Koh, who was previously in charge of Southeast Asia and UBS’s onshore businesses in China, Taiwan and Japan, took the regional reins this month and became the first Singaporean to hold the position. He joined UBS four years ago after a 20-year career in Asian financial services, most recently as president and director of Taiwan's Ta Chong Bank, and before that as regional head of the consumer banking group at DBS.
Loh Boon Chye, chief executive officer, Singapore Exchange
Loh took the top job at SGX in June last year on the back on his impeccable investment banking leadership pedigree. Most recently he was deputy president for Asia Pacific and head of Asia Pacific global markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. And before that he spent 17 years with Deutsche Bank, eventually becoming head of the corporate and investment banking division for Asia Pacific. Loh worked at the Singapore branch of Morgan Guaranty Trust Co of New York between 1992 and 1995, managing its Southeast Asia fixed income and derivatives business.
Han Kwee Juan, chief executive officer, Citibank Singapore
A Citi lifer, Han joined the US bank in Singapore as a summer Intern in 1990. Eight year later he became head of the global cash and trade team and he has moved relentlessly up the ranks ever since. Han has been head of all these departments at Citi Singapore: global relationship banking, global transaction services, ASEAN strategy, and credit payment products. In 2011 he received yet another promotion – to head of retail banking – and his performance in that role saw him take the local CEO job the following year.
Amanda Chen, deputy head of wealth management ex-Japan Asia, Nomura
Chen, who joined Nomura in January last year in a high-profile hire from Morgan Stanley, is helping to lead the Japanese firm’s expansion in private banking following the merger of its domestic and Asian wealth management platforms in 2014. She enjoyed a 12-year career at Morgan Stanley’s wealth unit in both Singapore and Hong Kong, rising to become a managing director and head of the strategic clients group. Chen hasn’t always been a private banker – she worked in equities derivatives sales at Lehman Brothers in the early 2000s.
Catherine Low, head of trade and commodity finance for Southeast Asia, and Singapore country manager, ING
Low joined ING in 2003, having already held senior positions at Standard Chartered (where she was head of structured trade finance for South Asia), Raiffeisen Zentralbank, BNP Paribas and Fortis. As a junior Low initially worked in settlement and payments jobs, but she managed to escape the back-office and move into sales roles in trade and commodity financing. One of Singapore’s most prominent female bankers, Low sits on the executive committee of the Financial Women’s Association of Singapore.
Jason Moo, region head of Southeast Asia private wealth management, Goldman Sachs
With a buoyant employment market tempting many private bankers to change jobs, Moo’s career is a textbook example of how to rise to the top internally. He joined Goldman Sachs’ wealth management unit in Singapore as a financial analyst in 1998 and made MD nine years later. Before landing his current regional head job in 2014 (Moo is in charge of seven markets) he held two other senior positions – head of the market solutions group and head of alternative capital markets in Asia.
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