A director who helped drive Deutsche’s Asian strategy is now ‘transforming’ DBS

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A director who helped drive Deutsche’s Asian strategy is now ‘transforming’ DBS

Wai Lam Sham, the woman who led corporate strategy for APAC asset management at Deutsche, has joined DBS to help drive its digital transformation. Sham is now an executive director, digital value capture, at the Singaporean bank, having previously worked as a director, corporate strategy and transformation, for Deutsche since 2015, according to her public profile.

Deutsche may well have wanted to retain Sham’s strategic expertise. Under a sweeping new strategy announced last month, the firm plans to expand DWS, its asset management arm, in Asia, even as it scales back other businesses and makes about 18,000 job cuts globally. As a senior Deutsche asset management strategist, Singapore-based Sham would have presumably been at the forefront of mapping out this regional growth.

Still, it looks like Sham now has a lot on her plate in a DBS role that covers “digital value, transformation strategic cost management, and efficiency initiatives”. Her ‘digital value’ job title is not as ambiguous as it may seem, and is linked to the firm’s bottom line. DBS was the first bank in the world to develop a methodology for measuring the financial value created by digitalisation, according to a 2017 investor day presentation.

DBS’s digital customers generate about twice as much income than traditional ones and at lower costs. Digitalisation initiatives – such as systems to better track customer spending patterns to improve cross-selling – are expected to reduce the firm’s cost-to-income ratio to 43% in 2019 (from 46.3% last year) as DBS reaps savings from heightened IT spending over the past nine years, according to RHB Research.

Sham’s hire is part of a wider recruitment drive across digital banking and technology at DBS. The bank has been hiring, for example, senior engineers to lead its development of AI, deep-data engineering, APIs, and mobile applications, Soh Siew Choo, head of consumer banking and big data analytics technology, told us earlier this year. About 42% of the 1,363 new jobs that DBS added in the year to end-June were for “insourced” tech professionals – people who previously worked on DBS tech projects at vendors but are now employed by the bank, according to its half year results.

Prior to Deutsche, Sham worked as an associate director, group strategy, at Standard Chartered in Singapore between 2012 and 2015. She was a junior engagement manager, financial services, at Oliver Wyman from 2007 to 2011.

Sham’s move into a digital transformation-focused position should make her highly sought after in the job market. Most banks in Singapore and globally are undergoing large-scale digital transformations as they replace legacy systems and encourage customers to use online platforms.

A spokesperson for DBS declined to comment on Sham’s appointment.

Photo by K8 on Unsplash

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