J.P. Morgan's Michael Sugirin to embrace a 'culture of change'

"As the Indonesian market continues to grow in stature and global presence, those who innovate will emerge at the top of the pile," says JP Morgan's new head of treasury services.

Name: Michael Sugirin
Bank: J.P.Morgan
Job Title: Head of Treasury Services - Indonesia
Age: 38

ABF: What makes you excited about your new position?
Indonesia is without a doubt one of the most exciting markets across Asia Pacific, so I think I have one of the most exciting jobs in the world. Steady economic expansion since 2000 has placed Southeast Asia’s largest economy on a strong footing, with Indonesia’s GDP expanding 6.1% in 2010 and 6.5% in 2011, according to government figures.

Indonesia’s banking landscape is also changing quickly and dramatically, with companies and banks looking for more sophisticated treasury management solutions that help them manage their working capital.

Our clients are coming to us for cash management and trade finance solutions that deliver efficiency, visibility and control over their cash, thus freeing up capital to be reinvested into their strategic growth agenda – be it domestic or international. We’re here to support those clients, and ensure they’re able to meet their priorities in the most effective and efficient manner possible, so yes, it’s a great time to be in Indonesia.

ABF: What three goals are you focused on?
Given Asia’s remarkable growth story, Indonesian corporate and FI clients are looking at how they can build their business and grow their bottom line, while at the same time making sure they don’t expose themselves to unnecessary risk. So from our perspective, we’re focused on three key priorities for our clients – improving efficiency, maximizing revenue and mitigating risk.

In today’s increasingly competitive business environment, clients are demanding cash management and trade finance solutions that help them manage these three important elements. From unlocking trapped cash and helping them achieve stronger returns for excess balances, through to sophisticated trade finance solutions, we’re making sure that we’re closely aligned and attuned to our clients’ broader business objectives.

ABF: What will you do differently in this position?
From where I sit, I’ll be making sure we embrace a culture of change and drive ourselves relentlessly to deliver innovation for our clients – that’s what they expect of us, and it’s one of this firm’s strengths. Some people tend to be unnerved by change – it can be uncomfortable and it can be challenging. However, I believe change is an essential ingredient in our clients’ success, so it’s critical that we change with our clients.

ABF: What changes are you planning for?
We are always looking at what we do, how we do it, and whether we can do it better – that will continue. This means evaluating everything from our entry-level products right through to our most sophisticated global solutions, making sure we’re not operating in isolation from our clients and ensuring we’re here to support their growth.

One of our many recent success stories has been the build-out of our Global Corporate Bank, which provides our clients a single point of client coverage. We’ve also added product talent from the market to strengthen our capabilities in cash management and trade, and we’re looking to further attract the best talent the market has to offer by making sure the market knows J.P. Morgan is a tremendous place to work.

ABF: What are your key business philosophies?
Our clients always come first. We have a focused strategy and we are listening to our clients to understand their needs within their industry verticals. By aligning our services to their industry needs, we are able to deliver innovative, cut-through solutions that add real value to our clients’ business.

Business is about people. As we strive to build our own business in Indonesia, we know we’re only going to be able to do that by listening to our clients, listening to our people, and listening to a wide range of views from market and industry leaders.

Success comes through innovation. As the Indonesian market continues to grow in stature and global presence, those who innovate will emerge at the top of the pile. That’s why we’re seeing our clients come to us for a wide range of reasons – they understand that innovation will drive their own success and elevate them above the competitive set.

ABF: What previous positions prepared you for this one and how?
I have been fortunate enough to have received great experience throughout my career. I’ve worked in Asia, the U.S. and on key projects in Europe, and I have covered a range of functions including sales and product development. I think this gives me a solid background in terms of understanding our clients’ needs and how best to help them meet those needs.

ABF: Anything else you'd like to add?
Indonesia has a bright future – our country is attracting foreign direct investment and the business environment continues to improve, and we’re seeing companies and banks embark on a fundamental shift in the way they do business to achieve efficiency, scale and presence. It’s a tremendously exciting time to be here, and I am delighted to be a part of an incredible firm that has long supported Indonesia’s remarkable growth story.

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