The Asset Triple A Asset Servicing Leadership Awards 2019
Custody Leadership Award
Deutsche Bank managing director, head of Securities Services, Asia Pacific
Anand Rengarajan actually started his career in the corporate cash management business of Deutsche Bank before moving to securities services many years later when a program to instill cross-mobility within the bank was launched.
“I was one of three people chosen that resulted in me moving to securities services. This started my long journey in securities services across product management, product development, business management, country and regional responsibilities,” Rengarajan says.
Although it was more by default that he joined the custody business, he developed a liking for the business.
Rengarajan has had many experiences as a custodian banker but he counts his six-year stint running Deutsche Bank’s India business as the most memorable because it transcended many areas, including team building, innovative solutions, market advocacy, and managing a separate subsidiary.
He counts as his best achievements building a strong team that includes many key hires, marquee client wins and accolades; releasing the “Namaste India” book in India for FPIs; being the sole custodian banker accompanying the president of India as part of a government-led delegation to a number of countries, as well as, receiving the Best Custody Leadership Award from The Asset.
While the custody industry has seen many changes over the past years, Rengarajan cites some of the key changes as the launch of SLB (security lending and borrowing) and the introduction of FPI (foreign portfolio investment) in India, moving to T+2 settlement and e-proxy voting across a few markets, and more recently, changes led by digital technology such as chatbots and RPA.
“My team and I are hugely excited by the prospect of these changes and look forward to playing a key role in shaping the industry as we move forward,” says Rengarajan.
Custodian Banker of the Year – Australia
Citi director and head of Direct Custody and Clearing Australia & NZ, Markets and Securities Services
While growing up, Andrew Gibson wanted to work in stockbroking, however, he found it hard to break into. To get a foot in the door at a major financial institution, he took a job at a retail branch of the National Australia Bank (NAB) in 1986. He later responded to an ad from the National Custodian Services, the custodian division of NAB, and began his custody career in January 1987.
About nine months later, the 1987 stock market crash happened and while staff were made redundant at stockbrokers, the custody business appeared immune to redundancies.
Then in 1991, the Australian government introduced compulsory superannuation which required employers to make superannuation contributions on behalf of their employees so this meant that asset values and transaction volumes were only going to increase.
“I took a view that the custodian industry was going to benefit from this change so I decided to forge a career in custody and be a part of the opportunities that would be generated by this growth,” says Gibson.
He has many memorable experiences in his 30-plus-year career, but one that stands out is when he moved to Citi Securities Services from the National Custodian Services in 2004.
“It was a transition point in my career. I said farewell to many people that I had started my custody career with and joined a truly global organization,” says Gibson.
Gibson also remembers when his team implemented a new custody system in 1994 after spending years designing, testing, training staff and converting from the old system. “We spent long hours, but we had a great sense of team satisfaction when it was successfully implemented.”
On a personal level, in 2010, Gibson received an award from the Australian Custodial Services Association (ACSA) for his contributions to the industry. “That was a pleasing individual award which has now been surpassed by this Asset Servicing award,” says Gibson.
Custodian Banker of the Year – Thailand
Standard Chartered director & head, Securities Services, Transaction Banking
Somruthai Srikanchana remembers starting her career in the custody business after the Tom Yum Kung financial crisis in 1996, which saw the collapse of the Thai baht and triggered the wider Asian financial crisis of 1997.
“I was working in the treasury department of one of the finance companies that was hit and had to close down during the crisis. I later joined the biggest commercial bank in Thailand’s securities services department, where I started my custodian banking career. This was a new world to me but I enjoyed it,” Srikanchana says.
She started in sales and client management by taking care of both foreign clients who had invested in the Thai capital market, as well, as local clients. From there, she moved to Standard Chartered Bank in 2005 with a role in transaction banking and has remained there since then.
Srikanchana chose to stay in custody because she finds it the most interesting career in the banking industry. “It is a core and important service that only a sophisticated focused group of clients and bankers comprehend. There are so many new areas and developments to know and learn about. It’s challenging every day. You will never get bored in this business.”
She considers her work at Standard Chartered as the best and most memorable experience in her custody career so far. “Since the first day I joined Standard Chartered until now, I have been given chances and opportunities, have been learning and growing. My 14 years with Standard Chartered is like being with a big family and is still an ongoing journey for me.”
Srikanchana has seen many important changes in the custody industry during her career but for her, the most important one is Thailand moving to a T+2 settlement cycle last year. “As Thailand is the first country in ASEAN on T+2, we have to ensure a smooth transition and lessen the impact on clients. It is difficult but Thailand has done a good job and has set a good standard for other countries.
When asked what she would consider her best achievement so far, Srikanchana replies, “Getting this award is the best achievement in my career.”
Custodian Banker of the Year – Hong Kong
Former HSBC head of Securities Services, Hong Kong, HSBC
Andrew Law, former HSBC head of Securities Services, Hong Kong, spent nine years at State Street where he became head of fund services for Asia. He then moved to HSBC in 2001 where he became head of fund services for Hong Kong. In 2017 Law was promoted to head of securities services for Hong Kong.
Law recently became an HSBC alumnus and a member of the HSBC Alumni Network, a network of past and present HSBC staff.
As head of fund securities services, Law has led his team in launching new products and solutions in the Hong Kong market. An example of this are exchange traded funds (ETFs). HSBC now has over 30 ETFs globally, the majority of which are listed in Dublin and some in Hong Kong. HSBC also does fund administration for ETFs, leveraging its global presence and infrastructure to provide a robust and efficient solution.
“Some parts of the administration of the ETFs are actually run out of Hong Kong, and some Asian ETFs are actually administered across a number of servicing centres in Asia. This provides a strong yet flexible servicing solution to meet each specific case,” Law says.
He is also part of the Hong Kong government’s Working Group on eMPF (Mandatory Provident Fund), created in 2017 to steer the development of an electronic infrastructure for the MPF and to enable the standardization, streamlining and automation of the MPF scheme administration.
During Law’s tenure, HSBC has also been one of the leaders in spearheading the development of the custody business in mainland China as domestic Chinese managers move to the offshore market, particularly Hong Kong to expand and broaden their capabilities.