Diversity, digital disruption and doing business in Asia

Melbourne Business School was delighted to welcome ANZ Managing Director of Retail Banking for Asia Pacific, Mr. Sanjoy Sen, as the keynote speaker at the recent Dean’s Leaders Forum held in Melbourne in April.  
Responsible for retail banking across 21 countries, Mr. Sen shared important insights for those aspiring to do business in Asia.

Sanjoy Sen ANZ
“People talk about the Asian Century, but you have to appreciate that, within this region, it is incredibly diverse,” said Mr. Sen. “There is no such thing as one Asian market. From developed markets, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, through to nascent markets in Laos and Cambodia, the consumers are very different, and doing business requires an appreciation of that.”
Over the course of the evening, Mr. Sen shared his insights in three broad areas gained from his 24 years of experience – the macro-landscape, ANZ’s own journey, and the future of banking, including digital disruption.
“The region has the fastest-growing GDP in the world, but it’s slowing. You have a rapid rise of the middle class, which is changing the face of the future consumer – one that is affluent, middle class and seeking to buy property. In Japan, where the population is ageing, the average age of our wealth consumer is 65. What all this means is that there is a change in consumer behavior across a lot of our markets, which affects our products and how we do business.”
And if the macro-environment isn’t challenging enough, there is also the issue of digital technology, which can disrupt the entire model.
“Do you know what keeps me up at night? It’s not other banks,” Mr. Sanjoy confided. “It’s Google and Alibaba. It’s the non-banks and the niche players who are changing the way banking is done.”
Pointing to Uber as an example, he noted that the market capitalisation of this new company is more than that of Standard Chartered Bank, although Uber doesn’t own a single taxi!
Despite the challenging market conditions, the environment also provides opportunities for those in the region. With international competition shrinking because of increased banking regulations in their home countries, Australian banks, such as ANZ, are expanding through Asia.
“The question for ANZ is: How do we connect Asia and Australia to make us a strong bank? There is a huge spectrum in Asia, from sophisticated financial products in Hong Kong to lack of records around land title ownership in Vietnam, requiring judgmental business processes. We have the objective of 25 per cent of earnings outside of Australia, and we are getting there.”
Embracing connectivity, developing a social media strategy, reinventing the branch network and analytics were some of the areas that Sanjoy nominated as key to growth.
“You can use analytics to develop insights. Banks need to be able to visualise end-to-end business experience. There are 1.4 billion social media users globally, and we need to be able to use social media as a tool to engage the consumer.”
This was the second time this year that Sanjoy appeared at the Dean’s Leaders Forum, following his keynote address in Singapore for our alumni and corporate friends in the region. On this occasion, our current students benefited from hearing, first-hand, his experiences, which they were able to link to the MBA curriculum and its focus on doing business in Asia.