OCBC To Hire More Staff In Singapore & Southeast Asia
SINGAPORE – OCBC’s CEO Helen Wong just announced that the Singapore-based multinational bank intends to increase the number of relationship managers for affluent Chinese customers to 500 come 2023, reported Bloomberg on Friday morning (3 September, SGT).
The planned hires will be assigned at the bank’s primary operations and at Bank of Singapore, the lender’s private banking unit.
Notably, Southeast Asia’s second biggest lender plans to boost its workforce for its wealth management and corporate banking divisions for Greater China in a bid to take part in the business flow from China, the second biggest economy in the world.
“ASEAN has become China’s biggest trade partner and intra-Asian trade is going up substantially. We know that this is our opportunity.” Moreover, Greater China makes up about 25 percent of the OCBC’s pre-tax profit, said 60-year-old Wong in her first in-person interview since taking the helm at the bank in April 2021.
Aside from that, OCBC intends to grow its corporate and commercial bankers by around 30 percent to 400 by 2024. These new hires will include those to be assigned to the bank’s “China Business Office,” which are presently located in Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar.
More China Business Offices will be opened in Vietnam and Indonesia to cater to corporate clients. Such hiring is crucial to assist Chinese customers involved in different businesses like construction and e-commerce who are venturing into the ASEAN region, she explained.
“There are indeed many more Chinese customers coming to Southeast Asia using Singapore as a base to expand into, for example Indonesia. [The region is a] big market for them,” noted Wong.
Notably, OCBC joins larger multinational rivals like Standard Chartered and HSBC as well as regional competitor DBS, which are boosting their presence in one of the biggest banking markets in the world.
In fact, the ASEAN region is the largest trading partner of China, with trade between the 2 hitting 3.12 trillion yuan (US$483 billion) during the first 7 months of the year, according customs statistics from China.