Maybank Group's Chief Risk Officer Dr. John Lee on his plans for the year ahead and beyond

FY Teng

Dr John Lee Group CRO Maybank Group

Dr John Lee
Group CRO
Maybank Group

Before taking on the position of Group Chief Risk Officer (GCRO) for the Maybank Group in 2011, Dr John Lee had already been doing distinguished work in the financial industry and in risk management for more than 13 years with companies across the Asia Pacific. His areas of specialization include Islamic finance, business strategy, risk management and performance management. Among his more recent projects at Maybank are the Risk Transformation Programme and Credit Quality Improvements initiative. Dr Lee-who was named Bank Risk Manager of the Year 2013 by Asia Risk-is also active as a leader in the development of talent and standards for the financial services and risk management communities. He serves in the Liquidity Risk Management Working Group and the Risk Management Working Group of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB, which is an international standard setting body for the Islamic financial services industry), and on the board of Monash University (Malaysian Branch) School of Business Advisory Board; and, he most recently established a Chief Risk Officers Forum in Malaysia. We had the honour of an interview with him in January, when he had been named by IDC Financial Insights as one of Asia's top executives in the financial services industry.

What are your priorities for the next couple years?
We basically have two key priorities for us for this next 12 to 18 months. One is to accelerate our regionalization. Maybank is going through a transformation to make sure that we operate more as a regional financial institution rather than primarily a Malaysian financial institution, which we were more associated with in the past. As a result all in the group including Risk need to look at how we accelerate our regionalization.

The second priority for us is to go about improving the risk-reward dynamics in the group. This is about looking at how much better we can price the risks that we take so that we get appropriately compensated for taking them.

Elaborate on the acceleration of your regionalization efforts.
We see ourselves as an ASEAN financial institution. We have a footprint in each of the 10 ASEAN countries. And in most of them we pretty much function as universal financial institution, running operations in commercial banking, investment banking and in some cases insurance.

Of the 10 countries, we see ourselves as currently very strong in probably three-Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. We intend to grow much faster in the other seven countries, so we can truly realise our aspiration to be a leading ASEAN financial institution.

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