ABS embarks on the path of leadership for the banking industry
Source: Focus Malaysia, 15 September 2016
As in any industry, steps must be taken to ensure that the right tal­ent is available to meet the needs of the banking and financial sector as it expands in tandem with the Malaysian economy.

For a start, there needs to be more professional bankers. The senior executives in banking must be given the opportunity to take on new skills and be informed of the latest
develop­ments happening globally to help them formulate new strategies for a more competitive and challeng­ing banking sector.

At the same time, efforts must be made to enrich the talent pool of second-tier personnel to meet the growing needs of the industry.

The good news is that Malay­sia is on the right track in devel­oping new talent, says Prof Colyn Gardner, chief executive officer of the Asian Banking School (ABS).

The right expertise is needed to meet the rising demand for new and more innovative prod­ucts and services in the market, according to Gardner. “In that respect, I think there is still a gap (between what is needed and what is available) in Malaysia,” he adds.

For instance, he says, while the banks here are making great progress in terms of the depth of the financial products and services that they offer, there is still room to grow when compared to other advanced financial centres.

The availability of the right skills sets is essential to close that gap.

Laying the foundation

The ABS plays a central role in bridging that talent gap. To meet the demands of a more compet­itive banking sector, it contin­uously develops, modifies and up-scales its programmes based on the needs of the industry.

“We are meeting with our bank clients regularly so that we can have direct insight and feedback on the training that they require,” Gardner says.

He points out that confidence in ABS within the Malaysian banking sector has risen, thanks to the more active dialogue between the two sides. In its work with the banks, the ABS plays more of a consultative role, he adds.

“We work well with Malaysian banks, as well as have a great working relationship with the foreign banks based in Malaysia. The support for ABS is growing and we are very pleased and appreciative of it,” Gardner says.

ABS flagship programme

As part of its plans for the transformation of the banking education landscape, ABS has developed a suite of Executive Ed­ucation programmes — a first for this school that just celebrated its 1-year anniversary. As its flagship product, ABS recently launched the Global Banking Leaders Programme that targets potential c-suites and c-suite executives.

Gardner says the programme is the first of its kind to be devel­oped for the banking industry in Malaysia and is a collaboration between ABS and the Cass Business School, City University London.

“The programme will see participants undergo technical and leadership training delivered by a balance of Cass Business School faculty members and experienced industry experts for a week here and a second week in London,” he says.

The participants will be trained on a wide range of issues relevant to bank leadership including topical subjects like knowing and understanding the disruptions caused by financial technology, risks occurring around the world, new financial business models that banks should adopt and to look into case studies on how leaders can have an impact on their organisations in these areas.

Training will be interactive and practical, based on what is happening in the industry.

Key takeaway

The objective of the Global Bank­ing Leadership Programme is to improve the participants’ ability to anticipate change so that they are able to react to that change and plan ahead.

They will also be aware of the opportunities for growth within their organisations and to be able to see personal career advancement opportunities. At the same time, participants will be trained to be aware of current risks, which include industrial risks and risks in changes in business models or regulatory requirements.

Gardner adds that the leader­ship programme aims to prepare this select group of people to be in a stronger and more well informed position to lead their banks, and for those on the succession track, to be in a better position for when the time comes for them to take the lead.

“Through the programme, they will have a better understanding of the complexities and the forces of change taking place around the world, be able to broaden their knowledge through discourse and sharing of experience, as well as understand international trends going on today,” he says.

Why Cass Business School?

Strategically located in the heart of the City of London, one of the major financial centres of the world, Cass Business School is ranked in the top one percent of business schools worldwide, and has the largest finance faculty in Europe. Cass produces research of which 90% of it is of international significance with academics carrying out more world-leading and internationally excellent research in business and management than Oxford and Cambridge (according to the UK Government Research Assess­ment Exercise), and is among the global elite of business schools that hold the gold standard of ‘triple crown’ accreditation.

Gardner, who is also a Visiting Professor of the Cass Business School, says that a highlight of the second week of the programme in London will be the inclusion of field visits to leading financial institutions, industry talks and networking engagements to pro­vide for a completely immersive learning experience.

“The response from the banks for the programme has been pos­itive so far as within a month of its launch, more than 50% of the seats have been sold. The Global Banking Leaders Programme is an exciting one and I am equally excited about the transformation­al prospects that it has to offer to the banking industry here in Malaysia,” he adds.

Private Banking and Wealth Management: Optimising Client Relationships
Date: Oct 10-12, 2016
Held over three days, this programme focuses on how private banks can achieve a profitable and sustainable growth model through creative and differentiated wealth solutions. Learn how to optimise client relationships, provide better product and investment solutions, and identify relevant tax issues.

Customer Behaviour and Consumer Psychology in Banking
Date: Oct 24-25, 2016
Taking on a customer oriented focus, this two-day workshop will help bankers gain new insights into how their customers think and behave. Delving into the consumers’ psyche, participants will gain new insights to better craft new market offerings, develop better marketing strategies and even improve customer relationships.

Design Thinking for Banking
Date: Oct 26-27, 2016
From understanding design thinking to design thinking in practice, come explore how this new catchphrase is leading the way to innovative solutions. Just look at how Apple has revolutionised the world. Design thinking can also be applied in banking and finance. This new approach will give participants the competitive edge when it comes to new market offerings and even in building a more innovative and forward-looking organisation.

Creating Value in a Fast Changing Banking World
Date: Nov 22-24, 2016
The knowledge of Asset & Liability Management (ALM) is a necessity for all bankers accountable for the results of a profit centre. This essential tool ensures that strategy, decision-making, risk-taking, pricing and performance measurement stay consistent with corporate objectives. Learn the concepts and practice with the banking simulation ALCO Challenge, which is compliant with Basel 2 and Basel 3 regulations.

The Globalisation of Banking and the Role of Mergers and Acquisitions
Date: Dec 13-15, 2016
Gain insights into the trends and issues that globalisation and diversification brings into the banking industry. This programme will also examine how M&A activity affect the bank’s performance as well as the M&A process and its impact.

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