Tell us in brief about your professional journey so far
I started my career in 1994 as one of the three management trainees at Societe Generale Asia Limited (SG). I am glad that I started my career at a place where I learnt market standards and proper ways to do business. I was with SG for seven years before I moved to HSBC. I was given the responsibility for two of HSBC’s major markets – Hong Kong and India. I still remember my first Indian syndicated loan deal was the ECB for Indian Railway Finance Corp. I was also the person who syndicated the maiden ECB for UTI Bank (now Axis Bank). Looking back, I achieved a lot during my stay at HSBC. I studied part-time while I worked very hard and eventually I got one Master’s degree, one Doctorate, an FRM designation, and a CPA (US) designation, during my five years there. Studying while working is not easy, one needs perseverance, determination, good time management, and mental support from loved ones. Thankfully I got all of them.

In 2006, I was headhunted to Citigroup, where I covered syndicated and leveraged/acquisition finance for the Asia Pacific region. During that time, I did almost all of the Indian outbound acquisitions financings; Tata Steel’s purchase of Corus, Tata Motor’s acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover; and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories’ acquisition of Betapharm in Germany, to name a few. As a senior member of the syndicate and sales team, I represented Citi in the board of Asia Pacific Loan Market Association (APLMA), and was the Founding Chairwoman of the women committee of APLMA.
After working for almost 17 years, I decided to take up a new challenge for myself. With my experience in secondary loan sales, I moved to JP Morgan in 2011 to spearhead their new secondary loan sales and trading desk for the region. As a pioneer in the secondary loans industry, I was elected as the Chairperson of the Secondary Loans Trading Committee of Asia Pacific Loan Market Association, and within JP Morgan, I was the Co-Chairwoman of the Women Interactive Network (WIN). I believe that putting 200% into one’s job is basic, while achieving more than a job is natural. 
After five years at JP Morgan, I felt I was ready to take up a new assignment, as the CEO for IFIN’s international business in Hong Kong. I look forward to building the Hong Kong business for IFIN, leading Hong Kong office to the next level.

How would you describe your leadership style
I consider myself open-minded and I like listening to different views. I believe that communications at all levels is most important, and that teamwork is always the factor for success. In my career, I have met good mentors and inspirational leaders, I hope I can help groom the next generation by inspiring others as well.

How different is a woman’s leadership style
Gender stereotypes always exist. In reality, women leaders bear similar qualities as men leaders such as having the ability in setting high goals and inspiring others. Uniquely, most studies have noted that women have a transformational style of leadership; which is a powerful characteristic to possess because it allows a leader to make thenecessary changes to a current business model. Without transformational leaders, organisations would not have the capability of re-inventing themselves at necessary junctures, especially in critical times.

Can you shed some light on the sentiments in Chinese markets towards investing in India
Sentiments for Chinese companies to invest offshore are at all-time high, however, there are few points which I want to highlight: a) while government and political influence could be a de-catalyst (or catalyst); businesses at the commercial level are often eager to get things done, b) while Chinese companies are eager to explore opportunities in India, much education and information sharing would need to be done given the lack of understanding of the Chinese towards India, in general. Having said that, good news is that I have started receiving queries from Chinese companies regarding investing into India.

How do you envisage your journey towards growing the business in future
Hong Kong is the financial hub for Asia Pacific and a window for investments in China. The Hong Kong office is well positioned to act as the bridge for Chinese companies going into India and vice versa. I am thrilled to feel the bigger responsibility of promoting India to the Chinese community here. Also, given the new India-Japan’s Freedom Corridor initative, the Hong Kong office is also well placed to act as the liaison between India and the companies in North Asia region (e.g. Greater China, Japan and South Korea).

If not CEO of a financial services company, what would have been your aspiration
With much imagination, if I am not a CEO of a financial services company, I see myself as a professor at a University; or an entrepreneur in the secondary loans trading business; or setting up my own singing school and act as a singing coach; or as a professional singer.

 

 


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