Global Head, Open Account Trade & Risk Distribution Operations
My career with Standard Chartered began in 1997 following a degree in Science, majoring in Economics from the University of the Philippines. It's been an incredible journey; I started at the bottom and with perseverance and supportive colleagues, I worked my way up the corporate ladder.
I started out as a clerk in Securities Services in Manila. Two years later, my then boss encouraged me to apply when an opportunity came up in Treasury Operations. He knew I had better opportunities in reaching my potential in that team. With his recommendation, I got the job, joining as a clerk.
During my stint in Treasury Operations, I came to Singapore on a training programme. It was a huge learning experience; Singapore is a big market and I was exposed to a wider range of products in the treasury business and came across deals we never had in Manila. This gave me an edge when I returned and thereafter my career accelerated. After nine years of learning and hard work, I managed to land the role of Head of Treasury Operations in Manila.
My next opportunity took me to Indonesia as country project manager. This was something I had never done before but I wanted to move out of my comfort zone. The Bank placed their confidence in me and entrusted me with this role. I did well in project management but much of my success in both a new role and country was attributed to a very supportive team.
Then another opportunity came up when the head of Wholesale Banking Operations in Indonesia moved back to Singapore. The biggest business at that time was treasury and because of my background I was given the job in Indonesia. The Bank gave me the opportunity to discover my strengths and capitalise on them. From looking after 15 staff to 50 and then to 200, I was intimidated at first but as long as you have good people with you, the rest will work out.
Two years later I swapped roles with the head of Consumer Banking Operations in Indonesia. We felt that exposure to both sides of the business is good especially if we wanted to become a Country Chief Information Officer in the future. For the first two months we were almost co-heading, working very closely to make sure we went in the right direction.
Moving to Group Trade Operations
In my new role with Group Trade Operations, I have been given another opportunity to gain exposure on how the group functions operate and work closely with the country operations, which I used to be a part of, and business partners in growing the business.
One of the worries I had whenever I took on a new role was that I am one of the few women in the team, and relatively young too, but I learnt that people will respect you if you're good at what you do.
I've had a very interesting career path at Standard Chartered; I was given many opportunities that shaped me into the leader that I am now. But above all I'm privileged to have worked with great people who let me develop my potential and helped me reach my goals. The teams were supportive and always there to back me up. I had great mentors who looked after my career progression and helped me make critical decisions in my life. Today, I'm still good friends with many of my bosses and colleagues.
People sometimes ask me ‘What is your day like? Can operations be exciting?' It's not just exciting, it's a critical part of the business ensuring we deliver on the promises we make. No matter how well our front line staff sells the Bank and its products, if we cannot execute then we're in trouble. In everything you do, you have to see the importance of your role and how your work links in with everything else in the puzzle. Once you see the importance, passion will follow suit.
Back in Indonesia, I was part of a pilot project to test the new core banking application platform, EBBS. If we successfully transitioned from the old to new platform in Indonesia, the group would determine the approach on how to roll this out in the bigger markets. It was a pivotal project and a huge responsibility. As the country project manager, my role was to engage our diverse stakeholders in our business, Operations, Legal and Finance in the country and also coordinate with the group project team to ensure the new platform was implemented across the hundreds of system interfaces with minimal disruptions. It was hard work and long hours but everyone had a positive attitude because we knew how important this was and what role we played in its success.
You've got to find a job that works for you, only then will you love the job. Many people tell me I should be in sales because I talk a lot but it's not something I'm interested in. Rather, I enjoy working in the back office finding solutions to problems. One of my bosses used to say "If there is a problem, you'll find Anne there trying to fix it".
At Standard Chartered, you just have to put your hands up and ask for opportunities. It may not come immediately but it will come your way. My story is a great example. Just do your job, love what you do and the rewards will follow.
I often get calls from recruiters and after talking to them they'll say "It sounds like Standard Chartered takes good care of their employees". And yes, Standard Chartered does.
"It’s been an incredible journey; I started at the bottom and with perseverance and supportive colleagues, I worked my way up the corporate ladder."
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