Standard Chartered really is like a huge family

The spirit of our valued behaviours and being ‘better together’ is something I experience every day. It’s this experience that I’ve not had anywhere else and sets us apart.

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My role as a Relationship Manager, is to be the connection between client and Standard Chartered. I work with clients from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures. It’s this variety that makes my role so interesting, and why I love what I do.

Are there any quotes you live and work by?

“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it” – a quote from “The Alchemist” novel.  I’ve always believed if we want something, then go for it. The law of attraction and positive energy will lead you there.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

No one can help you, as much as you can help yourself. Other people can motivate you, and coach you, but you need to act and commit to your dreams. My boss always believes in us. Her mantra is – ‘Go for our dream’.

What was your first job?

My first job was with Big 4 audit firm. I started in the Taxation business function, and this is where my love of finance and investment started. I joined Banking to continue my career passion.

What has been your career path, to get where you are now?

My career path had been up and down.  I’ve worked in a few banks in Malaysia and Singapore. I recall I had a challenging transition, around 8 years ago, when I moved across the straits to work in Singapore.  As I look back, I can see I was fortunate enough to meet a great leader who guided me along the way and helped me accomplish my career goals.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced when working?

One of my biggest challenges, was supporting a client project, with a deadline aligned to their birthday. We realised; it only gave us 10 days to deliver for our client. I drew on the expertise of as many stakeholders as I could, to help meet the deadline, which did involve working over the weekend as well. It was all worth it.  I still remember the feeling I had, when I explained to the client, we’d been able to deliver to their birthday.

If you didn’t do the job you do now, what would be your other career?

I’ve always dreamed of being a professional footballer.

How have you built flexibility into your every day? What do you do, with your time around work?

I typically start my day around 9am. We have a lot of flexibility in how we plan our working day.  There can be times, when we work outside our regular hours to spend time with a client, so it’s good to have that balance and be able to work flexibly.

What was the first thing you bought with your own money, from your first job?

I still remember that the first big item I bought with my own money. It was an expensive laptop. I’m a huge fan of computer games, and I spent about MYR 4K back then to get my first laptop.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Most of my free time is spent with my family.  I also like to play football twice a week and most weekends.  I also like to read or playing computer games. Occasionally, I’ll go hiking with my colleagues too.

Are there any new skills you’re trying to learn?

Right now, I’m trying to learn tennis and skateboarding.  I’m keen to learn things that I missed out trying when I was a teenager. I’m really taking this seriously.  I’ve even hired a coach to help me pursue and master them!

What’s the best part of your daily routine?

The best part of my daily routine is to be consistent and predictable.  Haha, I’m a boring man!  I like to have the same daily routine as I find it helps me achieve my goals and what I wish for in life.

Do you have any hobbies, secret talents or passions outside of work?

My hobbies are playing football and computer games.  My secret talent would be playing computer games, as I’m quite good at it!  In another life, I would have liked it to be a professional sports play, but I live in a different era and I’m too old now.

What positives have you experienced from the pandemic?

For me the positives have been how much more care there is.  People are taking more time to care and think of each other’s family, friends, and colleagues.  And that care extends to our clients too. Our clients are taking the time to make sure that we’re safe in our regular check-ins.

What career advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell myself to have ‘grit’.  Angela Duckworth is a world expert on grit and she once said – ‘enthusiasm is common, but endurance is rare’. I would constantly remind my younger self to ride through the storm, hold your head high and walk on.

Could you describe your role?

My role as a Relationship Manager, is to be the connection between client and Standard Chartered. I work with clients from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures. It’s this variety that makes my role so interesting, and why I love what I do. When I connect with my older clients, I’m learning from their life experience.  With my younger clients, I’m advising on investment ideas. With all my clients, I like to take the time to understand their personal needs and to deliver them the most suitable products that our bank is offering.

What’s been your most memorable experience with Standard Chartered?

I’ve been able to work with Standard Chartered in Malaysia and Singapore.  Both experiences have given me a sense of belonging.  Working here, is like being in a close-knit family.  I still remember the impact my late boss (Evelyn) in Malaysia had on me.  She interviewed me and gave me my first role in Malaysia.  Under her guidance, mentorship and coaching, she helped me to become who I am today. Taking me from a regional manager, to become a family friend, treating me like her own son. She worked here for 35 years.  Sadly, she passed away at too early an age, but for me her spirit lives on and I will always remember her.

My perception of Standard Chartered in Singapore was that the culture would be a little different to Malaysia. I thought it would be competitive, with people focussing more on their own agendas. I was wrong. My experience in Singapore has been just as rewarding as Malaysia.  I’ve met two people (Franky and Angeline), who have inspired me and had a great impact on me professionally and personally. Franky is not only a great leader and someone I admire, but he’s also become like a banking father figure, while Angeline is like my sister. Standard Chartered really is like a huge family. The spirit of our valued behaviours and being ‘better together’ is something I experience every day. It’s this experience that I’ve not had anywhere else and sets us apart.

What drew you to a career in banking?

The investment portfolios you can manage. When I was working as an auditor, I’d noticed that large corporations would invest millions of dollars with banks.  This ignited interest in the financial world. Back then I was curious and asked one of my clients to explain to me more about the investment world, how they handle client investments, and portfolios, this conversation made me decide to seek an alternative career in banking, and help client to manage their investments. I haven’t looked back since.

What drew you to a career with Standard Chartered?

It was the people I met along the interview process. Once I’d made the decision to leave the auditing industry and pursue banking, I applied to a few companies, and was short-listed. I had job offers from two local banks in Malaysia, and a job offer from Standard Chartered.  The standout factor that made me choose Standard Chartered, was my regional manager, Evelyn. She was a great leader and provided an environment where you could grow your career.

What do you love most about your role?

The interactions I have with clients, colleagues and my bosses, and the networking and friendships I’ve built along the way. I believe that if we contribute positively into someone’s life, career, or an organisation, by sharing a common goal, that we’ll experience a fulfilling way of life, and the connection we forge, and bond will be stronger. My job with Standard Chartered allows me to contribute in my client’s life and with my bosses and organisation, we share a common goal.  I’ve also been well rewarded.

Describe the bank in three words?

Family, Connected and Progressive