3 things Lim Kiat Seng will prioritize in his new role at JP Morgan

As the new head of financial institutions - sales, treasury services, Lim is planning for a back-to-basics approach.

Name: Lim Kiat Seng
Bank: J.P. Morgan Chase Bank
Job Title: Head of Financial Institutions – Sales, Treasury Services
Age: 45

ABF: What makes you excited about your new position?
Transaction banking is maturing fast in Asia, with companies ramping up their sophistication as they integrate further into the global economy. In line with this, the demand for transaction banking solutions has been growing at an incredible pace.

Bigger and stronger Asian banks have emerged with greater aspirations in their business objectives. The volume of intra-regional banking activity has also picked up tremendously and has grown larger than in most other regions of the world.

It is therefore a great time to be joining J.P. Morgan at a time of change and evolution in the industry. Banks are moving towards consolidation of their service providers for a variety of reasons which range from risk mitigation through to gaining operational efficiencies through consistent service delivery.

In today’s increasingly competitive business environment, clients are demanding both cash management and trade finance solutions. I’m very excited that my role enables me to work across both these areas with bank and non-bank financial institution clients to help them meet their goals. I’m looking forward to leading our financial institutions franchise, to bring it new heights and bring the very best solutions to clients in Asia Pacific.

ABF: What three goals are you focused on?
From my perspective, I’m focused on three key priorities for our clients – understanding their requirements/needs, finding solutions and adding value to their broader business objectives.

ABF: What will you do differently in this position?
Building on J.P. Morgan’s existing suite of products and services, my goal is to always be at the forefront of providing innovative, cut-through solutions that empower our clients to succeed. I’m going to focus on understanding our client’s needs better and serve as a bridge to be able to offer end-to-end solutions which best suit their growth phase.

ABF: What changes are you planning for?
Currently, I’m planning for a back-to-basics approach where we re-emphasize that clients are at the centre of everything that we do, every single day. Embedding ourselves and acting as a consultative partner to them, discussing global best practices, suggesting solutions to challenges and providing insight into specific tools that can help address their requirements.

Generally, this means educating our clients on the benefits of better visibility, control and efficiency, and showing them how they can re-formulate their business operations today to ensure that they’re appropriately positioned for growth tomorrow.

I’m also going to re-evaluate our core competencies and ensure that we deliver against our promises and strengthen our capabilities in both cash management and trade.

ABF: What are your key business philosophies?
Integrity in all our dealings with clients. Never to put the firm and our clients’ business at risk through the products and services offered by our Treasury Services.

ABF: What previous positions prepared you for this one and how?
To date, my career has been focused on transaction banking. I spent the last 12 years in Global Transaction Banking with Deutsche Bank, most recently as co-Head of Cash Management, Financial Institutions, Asia Pacific, with co-responsibility for financial institutions cash management sales in the region.

Prior to Deutsche Bank, I’ve been fortunate enough to have held a variety of managerial roles spanning both cash management and trade finance in Singapore, including Banco do Brasil S.A., Union Bank of California, N.A., Royal Bank of Canada and OCBC Bank. I believe this gives me a great background in terms of understanding today’s business issues, clients’ needs and how best to help meet those needs.

ABF: Anything else you'd like to add?
Generally speaking, our clients are increasingly concerned with growing their businesses, improving efficiency, managing risks and navigating an ever more challenging regulatory environment and industry landscape. The challenge for partners like us is to keep costs down, while providing an appropriate level of service for the growing ambitions of our clients.

The way we are providing services is also evolving – from single product decisions to solution bundles that address underlying client concerns. In my mind, although incredibly challenging, it is a tremendously exciting time to be here, especially in a company with such a strong heritage in the region. 

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