An interview with Andy Tan


FST Media: What are your priorities for the next 12 to 18 months?

Tan: The RHB Banking Group is undergoing a major transformation to position us to be among the top financial services group in Malaysia and a leading multinational financial services groups in ASEAN. There are many initiatives that will pose a challenge to IT in order to align these aspirations. Some of the major initiatives are core banking replacement, customer relationship management (operational and analytics), digital banking and reorganising our operations both in business and IT for better efficiencies and effectiveness to operate as a regional powerhouse.

FST Media: What technology or innovation is proving to be the single biggest game changer for the financial services industry?

Tan: Mobile technologies – with new devices and advent of Internet of Things (IOT) – and innovation in the area of services delivery are two significant changes that will have significant impact to how we attract, acquire, retain and deliver products and services to the customers.

FST Media: How does RHB plan on building on the success of collaboration with Paypal as the demand for mobile wallets increases?

Tan: We plan to have more in-depth collaboration with Paypal to further enhance our products and services to targeted customer segments.

FST Media: How are the bank’s smart branches ‘Easy by RHB’ expected to deliver value to the business and how will you measure success?

Tan: ‘Easy by RHB’ will continue to enable our reach to targeted segments, while further enhancing our brand and mindshare. We are now embarking on new initiatives to revamp ‘Easy by RHB.’

FST Media: How are you leveraging big data and analytics to meet customer demand through ‘Easy by RHB’ and ‘RHB Now’?

Tan: We are currently at the initial stage with big data. As for analytics, we have been applying it for segmentation and other insights to enhance the development of products and delivery of services.

FST Media: What technology initiatives will be key for RHB to simplify IT systems and increase efficiency and responsiveness to customer needs?

Tan: We are embarking on a few business-driven initiatives such as core banking replacement, customer relationship management and digital banking especially to leverage on the increasing sophistication and acceptance of mobile technologies to enhance our products and services offerings.

FST Media: What is proving to be your most effective customer acquisition channel?

Tan: Branch network augmented by our ‘Easy at RHB’ and our electronic channels like RHB Now, and OSK 188 enable us to reach out to more prospective customers.

FST Media: What skills do you think aspiring technology chiefs should invest in now for future success?

Tan: They must have a good grasp of technologies and business knowledge, particularly in areas such as innovation.

FST Media: How do you see the rising roles of chief digital and marketing officers impacting the traditional function of senior technology executives? 

Tan: With more innovation coming from digital banking, there is a great need for banks to create a position for Chief Digital and Marketing Officer roles, which may be separate or combined roles, to tap new frontiers. The acquisition of Whatsapp by Facebook and many acquisitions similar to that are the testimony of its growing importance.

FST Media: What are the obstacles preventing banks from addressing the threat of Apple, Google and Facebook?

Tan: Lack of understanding of their potential and becoming too concerned with legacy issues are some of the obstacles to banks addressing the threat from Apple, Google and Facebook. The other major change for banks is to embrace the culture and dynamics characterising these generations of users and technologists such as being nimble, experimental and dare to fail attitude.

FST Media: Every leader has a legacy they wish to be remembered for, what is yours?

Tan: My legacy would be as someone who was a strong partner to business and helped build an agile organisation, enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness, and a driver of business innovation.

This interview first appeared in FST Media’s annual magazine The Who’s Who of Financial Services Asia Pacific, which launched at the Technology & Innovation – the Future of Banking & Financial Services conference in Melbourne on 4th June, 2014.