Dan Koh

Global Head, Asset & Liability Management

Dan Koh

Me

I studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford and subsequently joined the Bank in 1995. Whilst I joined in London, I chose Standard Chartered because I wanted to come back to Asia to work, and the Bank had the most focus on Asia, Africa and the Middle East. I started out on a structured training programme in London and then spent close to six months in New York in the Dealing Room. On my first day in Singapore thereafter, I was thrown in at the deep end. It was demanding and intimidating but that's the best way to learn fast.

My opportunities

I started out trading Asian fixed income securities when the market was nascent; then I moved to trade Interest Rate Derivatives for Asia. As the Asian Financial Crisis hit, some traditional markets dried up and others came into existence. The market for Non-Deliverable Forwards (NDFs) was just beginning, and I worked on developing this product internally and externally including educating other market players such as clients and brokers. We were thought leaders in this product as it was developing in Asia, and now it has grown into a huge thriving market, and one of our most profitable products.

My portfolio later expanded to include trading, sales and geographic responsibilities, running Singapore for other traded products in addition to NDFs. In 2003, the Bank approached me to head Global Markets in Malaysia. I gave it a shot, seeing the opportunity to broaden my horizons in Sales, Capital Markets and Structuring, and also to lead and grow the business. It was the kind of role that requires you to roll up your sleeves and get in the thick of things to make a real impact, and I found that deeply exciting and satisfying.

I came back to Singapore in 2007 to run Global Markets for South East Asia and South Asia. That presented me a wider geographic lens on our business, working increasingly with more clients. In September 2011, I took on the role of Global Head for Asset and Liability Management (ALM). In ALM, we not only manage Liquidity, Interest Rate, and Credit Risk, we also work on the balance sheet of the Bank globally, and have many touchpoints and stakeholders. This new role allows me to further broaden my horizons not only on products, but also on working with many different aspects of the Bank.

My day

Most of my time is spent interacting with my team and people from different departments and countries, both internal and external. This is important because relationships and collaboration are vital to your success at Standard Chartered.

I also try to pull away from the day-to-day matters to have some time for blue sky thought leadership. What drives me the most is our ability to engage, influence and create thought leadership especially in the dynamic markets we're in, where the potential is tremendous. We are here not only for profit but also to help drive the future. For example, it is common for Central Banks to seek our opinion and guidance, and we use such opportunities to help shape the change agenda for the industry.

One of the more challenging aspects of my job is the changing regulatory environment. We are a huge, international bank with a presence in many jurisdictions, faced with different regulators. We not only have to keep on top of things, but also be nimble and agile to respond well to these dynamic changes.

On the upside, I get a huge sense of reward when I see our teams working well together, heading in the same direction and doing the right things for the Bank.

My belief

I try to think a little bigger, to do the right thing for the Bank and clients, and not just for my business. If we don't think a deal is right for clients, or if there is a product we would not buy for ourselves, then we should not be marketing it, even if it's profitable for us. It's a fine balance but I do believe that if you keep the end game in mind and are driven by the right principles, then simply by doing the right things, you can be great.

My future

No matter where you are in your career, you should always feel like you never stop learning and that you're constantly challenging yourself.  Besides work, as President of ACI Singapore I try to encourage fellow members of the Financial Markets industry to give back.  I also aim to help shape the greater community through my work with the World Economic Forum of Young Global Leaders. This is important to me because what I do today is guided by how I want to reflect on my legacy. I want to be proud of my time and career so that I can tell my children or future grandchildren one day about what I helped build and lead.

"What drives me the most is our ability to engage, influence and create thought leadership especially in the dynamic markets we’re in."

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Dan Koh

RoleGlobal Head, Asset & Liability Management
Joined1995
Location  Singapore

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