Money Moves

Young bank takes fresh cross-border approach

by Nicolette Wong

SPDB - Business expansion
Maggie Tan, Deputy CEO, Hong Kong Branch,
Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co., Ltd
Photo: Wallace Chan

Innovative mainland bank's Hong Kong branch poised to take expansion one step further

Although there is intense competition among established finance houses in Hong Kong, there is always room for up-and-coming institutions to help drive industry development. One new entrant to the local banking scene is mainland-based Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPDB), which opened a branch in the city a year ago in response to increasing cross-border financial activity.

The establishment of SPDB in Hong Kong marked the bank's first step towards globalisation and cultivating a business network on both sides of the border, points out Maggie Tan, Deputy CEO, Hong Kong Branch, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co., Ltd. Founded on the mainland just 19 years ago, the bank is a relatively young institution with a modern, service-oriented approach.

"The Hong Kong Branch also follows this philosophy. Our staff members are all well-experienced and come from diverse backgrounds. The office culture embraces a rich mix of cultures and expertise," says Ms Tan.

Although new to Hong Kong, SPDB is no stranger to industry professionals familiar with banking operations on the mainland, and the bank was able to attract top candidates to support the launch of its Hong Kong Branch, she added, noting that the local team consists mainly of experienced professionals with the knowledge and skills to engineer an operation that is still in the early stages of development.

Two-way communication

SPDB Hong Kong Branch is a full-licence bank and offers a wide range of products and services, with its current focus mainly on wholesale banking. It services corporations and institutions in Hong Kong, as well as mainland clients wishing to expand their businesses offshore.

"This is the start of SPDB building a long-term, global platform," Ms Tan explains. "As a well-developed financial hub with the infrastructure for us to further our relationships with high-end, international clients, Hong Kong was our first stop."

To facilitate future business expansion, the Hong Kong operation is dedicated to the bank's philosophy of proactive staff management, emphasising two-way communication between staff and their superiors to arrive at effective solutions. "This is the basis for product innovation and effective implementation of our strategies," notes Ms Tan.

The setting up of a product-management team to design and develop a range of products has been a highlight. While cross-border renminbi products are a priority, expanding existing products such as trade and treasury solutions and launching structured products are also on the agenda.

Apart from its comprehensive product and services scope, the bank also stands out for its attention to market changes and evolving customer needs, Ms Tan says. SPDB is dedicated to offering tailor-made financial solutions to help clients improve their risk management and add value to their companies. "To achieve all this, we need a team of committed, talented professionals."

The Hong Kong Branch currently consists of 10 departments, including the back office. Since the operation is set to grow at a fast pace, Ms Tan anticipates the opening up of plenty of frontline roles, including relationship-manager positions to help align clients' needs with business development. There will also be vacancies in product development and strategic execution.

Team building

Concerted team building is an essential part of talent development, since it takes time and genuine engagement for staff from different professional backgrounds to work cohesively together, Ms Tan says. The human resources department has therefore devised a number of team-building activities where staff members are encouraged to share their vision of the bank's corporate identity and business development.

"Our employees are our most important resource, and understanding and serving their needs is where business growth starts," Ms Tan notes. "The fact that they're playing an active role in shaping the destiny of their branch instills in them a sense of ownership and belonging."

High performers within the branch can look forward to internal promotions, as well as to opportunities at SPDB's mainland branches and, in future, other international offices. Hong Kong will be an important platform for talent recruitment and, training for the bank's future growth.

"We stress an open work culture where staff members can express their views and seek development opportunities in line with their capabilities and the bank's strategic direction. Those that achieve and perform in accordance with our strong service-oriented philosophy can look forward to a fulfilling career with in SPDB," Ms Tan concludes.

Future growth

  • Bank opened Hong Kong Branch in response to increasing cross-border financial activity
  • Team consists of experienced professionals with skills to help operation develop
  • Branch provides services for mainland clients wishing to expand their businesses in Hong Kong
  • Rapid business growth expected to create plenty of new frontline opportunities, product development and strategic execution

Taken from Career Times 11 May 2012, A2

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