What competitive advantages does the CFA® charter offer you?
I have focused on the content that the CFA® Program imparted to me. I embarked on this about 23 years ago, and I must say it had always been a potential asset for me to explore and contemplate various career pivots and possibilities. In a way, it was like 'insurance' for me.
How have you leveraged your network and knowledge from CFA Institute and CFA Society® membership for career growth?
The honest truth is that I have not been very active on this front. This is mainly driven by the fact that whilst I am part of the financial sector, I have steered my career closer to the strategy and management side of things and have stayed in CIMB for over 14 years now.
What opportunities do you foresee for young aspirants in the investment industry in Malaysia?
The industry has evolved over the years. Back in the late 1990s when I returned to Malaysia, I was very attracted to joining the industry but as timing would have it, the crisis made it very challenging. Fast forward to today and after various cycles, I remain positive about the industry. Access to information and digital platforms will further catalyse growth.
Who or what influenced you to work in finance and what attracted you to the profession?
I was interested in working in the investment research space around the Asian Financial Crises era (around 1998), when a Head of Research suggested that I enroll in the CFA Program as a potential step towards getting into the industry; many years later, I joined CIMB.
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To climb a corporate ladder, one must be good at his/her profession. Is it better to jump between different departments/divisions to gain vast knowledge of the industry OR just stick to what one is good at?
There are multiple paths for people to take in their careers. I would say that for some, it would be best to develop depth of experience in a particular area and hence become a specialist in that area. For others, growing their breadth of knowledge via different roles would be best. Don't choose a path that is not aligned to your personality and strengths.
What are the biggest barriers you have faced in your career in financial services?
I have been fortunate not to have had that many barriers. If any, I would mention dealing with leadership transitions in the Bank. Each time that happens, things can become uncertain for a while, and you will need to assess the situation and navigate accordingly.
What are the key principles that you hold steadfast to until today?
I always believe that it is important to recognise that a career is a two-way street. You give as much as you take from your employer. And if you are in a role that fits your interests and strengths, then the company will benefit from that and in return will recognise your contributions. So I believe in the principle of equilibrium.
Do you have any mentors or idols whom you look up to that motivates you to be where you are now?
I have been fortunate to have worked closely with the CEO of CIMB, starting with Dato' Sri Nazir Razak, and then with Tengku Dato' Zafrul, and now with Dato' Abdul Rahman. I have learned and continue to learn much from them and see them to have been instrumental in steering my career along the way.
Disclaimer: The content was written in July 2021 and the video was taken in April 2021. Information, views, opinions, and recommendations expressed belong to the interviewees thereof. They do not necessarily reflect the views of CFA Society Malaysia. In no event shall CFA Society Malaysia be liable for any damages resulting from their opinions.