FX house of the year, Malaysia: OCBC Bank

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FX house of the year Malaysia, OCBC Bank
FX Markets Asia FX Awards 2022 BB8

Consistency, stability and client focus earn OCBC Bank the FX house of the year, Malaysia award

As part of OCBC Bank’s vast presence across the Asia-Pacific region – more than 420 branches and representative offices in 19 countries and regions, the second-largest financial services group in Southeast Asia asset-wise – OCBC Global Treasury Malaysia (GTMY) was well placed to meet the extraordinary challenges of the past 12 months. Over and above extreme spikes in FX volatility after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and fears of rising inflation and interest rates worldwide, GTMY was faced with the after-effects of a Covid-19-pandemic-fuelled acceleration in enterprise digital transformation.

However, by riding this digitisation wave in its own unique way, GTMY was able to capitalise on the trend to achieve significant growth and win the award for FX house of the year, Malaysia.

A foundation of GTMY’s activities has always been a rigorous focus on providing holistic solutions to meet its clients’ needs. This – along with the broad-based shift towards digitisation that characterised the markets last year – enabled GTMY to fully utilise the capabilities of OCBC Bank’s latest digital FX platform, FX Online. While most of GTMY’s competitors decided to run with a standalone FX platform, GTMY opted to introduce its digital FX platform as an integrated feature on OCBC Bank’s existing business internet banking site: OCBC Velocity. With a single sign-on, clients can gain access to a wide spectrum of business financial solutions, including FX and treasury services, providing a one-stop convenient experience.

Shirley Sun
Shirley Sun

While many digital FX platforms in the market feature dealing interfaces that resemble the typical interbank dealing platform, FX Online benefits from being a simple but intuitive user interface that is easy to navigate. For GTMY’s clients, this flattens the learning curve, allowing greater self-directed adoption of its digital FX product, as attested to by overwhelmingly positive client feedback on the system. This on-the-go convenience of the FX Online product has also been extended to OCBC Bank’s Business Mobile Banking application, again a feature not commonly offered by GTMY’s peers. Functionality-wise, this setup allows GTMY’s clients to monitor and book real-time FX spot, forward and time option contracts in up to 29 currency pairs, and is available for western and sharia banking clients.

All of these resources are available as part of GTMY’s commitment to driving Malaysia’s economic growth by facilitating the sustainable business development of local small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). GTMY has long recognised that, although SMEs are the backbone of Malaysia’s economy, the local SME community remains grossly underserved in an increasingly digital banking landscape.

As part of its initiative to increase SMEs’ accessibility to treasury products and services in the past year, June 2021 saw GTMY’s corporate sales and structuring (CSS) team mobilising its front-liners to cross-sell its digital capabilities to SME clients. As a result, SMEs constituted the largest of GTMY’s client segment to adopt the FX Online platform last year and aligned perfectly with Bank Negara Malaysia’s most recent liberalisation of FX policies.

Despite the widespread move towards increased digitisation in the financial markets sector over the past year, GTMY recognises that not everyone is at the same level of digital literacy. Therefore, it has ensured that its dealers are always on hand to assist clients. This complementary personal element to the automated deal-booking process through the FX Online self-service model has meant that all GTMY’s clients now enjoy a greater level of autonomy over their cash and FX risk management while receiving the same level of assistance experienced in traditional deal-booking. Indeed, GTMY has seen an average monthly FX volume increase of 13% since the launch of the platform.   

Another core element of GTMY’s focus on meeting the needs of its clients is its ability to provide more complex products for specific needs within its overall product suite, featuring treasury solutions across the board covering hedging, investments, cost reductions and bespoke cross-border solutions.

One such notable innovation is GTMY’s in-house structured investment solution for domestic clients that have offshore investment interests, but do not wish to convert Malaysian ringitt funds into foreign currency. With a wide range of positive benefits for GTMY’s customers – including the elimination of FX risks – compared with the traditional approach of direct investment offshore, this solution is also highly customisable in up to 15 different currencies.

GTMY is evolving from being a traditional treasury business unit into becoming Malaysia’s leading FX house, delivering its products and solutions across various channels,” says Shirley Sun, managing director, head of corporate sales and structuring, global treasury at OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Berhad.

“These achievements celebrate the CSS team’s resilience and agility that has allowed GTMY to not only survive but thrive over the pandemic, and its exceptional fortitude and resourcefulness have made it possible for GTMY to continually deliver its treasury products and services without compromising on quality,” Sun concludes.

 

OCBC Bank was voted FX house of the year, Malaysia at the 2022 FX Markets Asia FX Awards.

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