Tue, September 28, 2021

business

Arapat Sangkharat unveils investment vision for Thailand


Maybank Kim Engs incoming leader reveals big plans for new era

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Maybank Kim Eng Securities (Thailand) is a familiar name among Thai investors, having held the number one market share for 16 consecutive years from 2002-2017. The leading securities company now enters a new era under the leadership of Arapat Sangkharat, deputy chief executive officer, who was appointed Officer in Charge on July 1.

Arapat joined the company on August 17, 2020, as deputy chief executive officer and regional head of transformation of Maybank Kim Eng Group. He arrived with more than 20 years of experience in the banking business at leading companies both domestic and international, including Siam Commercial Bank, BNY Mellon, American Express and Citigroup.

In a recent interview with Krungthep Turakij, Arapat revealed his views on the securities business, including the operational plans and goals of Maybank Kim Eng over the next 5 years (2021-2025).

He said the company has set long-term goals to democratise investment by helping more Thais to access investment as a wealth management tool for financial stability. Previously, such services in Thailand were limited to wealthy customers, while in other countries investment diversification is accessible to all investors. Maybank Kim Eng also wants the new generation to pay attention to investment and be given easier access to investment options.

Arapat said this was not possible in the past because securities companies had cost limitations. But today's technology has cut the cost of reaching customers via digital channels. The company is now investing in a new customer service system supported by Maybank Group, one of the largest banks in Asean.

In addition to using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse individual customer risks, said Arapat, the challenge is how to leverage the data to create investment portfolios and returns that meet the goals of each client. These include the design of investment plans suited to each customer's life goals (Goal-based Investing), such as investment in education, for retirement or for emergency expenses.

However, he admitted that gearing up to meet the goals of the 5-year plan may take time. However, initial progress is expected in 2022, as the company deems it necessary to make investments easier for all customers and reach new generations who are interested in investing. The company considers this goal to be part of its social responsibility, in line with Maybank Group goals on ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues. The company is focused on building the organisation as an “ESG Investment House”. Among the many steps it is taking to meet this aim are focusing on writing research recommendations for the listed companies that promote ESG, not underwriting shares in companies in environmental destruction, educating investors and student groups, and developing the company as a Zero-Waste Organisation.

As for short- to medium-term goals, Arapat said he would like to change how customers and employees view the organisation. For customers, he set a goal for Maybank Kim Eng to become number one in the minds of customers (first to mind), which is seen as a more important goal than being the number one securities company in terms of income or profit.

As for employees, he aims to make Maybank Kim Eng the company of choice for workers who feel proud to be a part of driving the organisation.

However, asked about the Covid-19 epidemic that has disrupted life and business operations in almost every industry, he said everyone wanted to see the crisis resolved.

However, he acknowledged that the securities business is one of the few that has seen strong growth during Covid-19. Consequently, he expected that the growth levels of 2020 and 2021 may slow once the crisis is over.

But insights gained from the virus crisis further underscore that building financial stability is a necessity for everyone, not just the wealthy, he added. In addition, legal entities like small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) should also be among the customers receiving wealth building services. Even small businesses with not much capital, such as 1 million baht, should be able to diversify their investments.

In the first half of 2021, the company recorded a net profit of 448.04 million baht, up 206.35 million baht or 85.38 per cent on the same period last year. The outstanding performance was a result of success in distributing services to a wide range of customers.

The overall performance of the company in the first half of this year was considered satisfactory and met the target set. Although the economy is still affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, market sentiment and investment activity continue to perform well. The company continues to expand its product and service portfolio to include global equities and global funds with support from Maybank Group, which is a strong international bank with high business stability. This October, Maybank Kim Eng Group will celebrate 10 years of providing new financial services through the Maybank network in 10 markets, which continues its smooth and stable operations.

Published : August 19, 2021