The world is changing with unnerving speed, and this is even evident in the world of mergers and acquisitions (M&As). But for the adaptable and resourceful, change forced by external forces can be taken in one's stride.
Nora Manaf, senior executive vice-president and head of Group Human Capital for Kuala Lumpur-based Maybank, is the kind of banking executive who is giving the Asia-Pacific region its global edge today.
Manaf says that as the global centre of financial gravity moves East, with sluggish growth in North America and Europe, the Asian region presents an opportunity for Asian-based banks to extend their foothold across the region. There are both advantages and disadvantages to such activity, as M&As can mean retrenchments and displacement of people.
"As the industry consolidates with fewer players in the market, it also reduces job opportunities in the financial industry, while at the same time creating new and expanded roles. From a resourcing and selection perspective, financial organisations are in a good position to be more selective of whom they recruit, both from a professional recruitment level as well as of fresh graduates," Manaf says.
As threatening as M&As appear on the surface, they open up multiple avenues of synergies. Manaf explains that this has been the experience of the Maybank Group, which has seized the opportunity to extend its financial reach in the region through mergers and acquisitions - the latest ones being Bank International Indonesia in 2008, and recently the Kim Eng Group. From a hiring perspective, the rapid pace of globalisation has changed what Maybank looks for when hiring.
"We now look for individuals who are excited about being part of a leading regional organisation, with a global mindset and global skill sets. The regional expansion allows Maybank to source for capabilities in different countries, where in the past we were limited predominantly sourcing from one or two countries," Manaf says.
"These mergers have provided Maybank Group with great opportunities for synergies, not just from a financial service and product standpoint but also from a staffing perspective," she adds.
There's a huge win-win that results from Maybank's regional expansion through M&As. "One of the key advantages that it has brought forth is broader diversity, and this, in turn, brings enhanced creativity and innovation to develop better products and services that will serve a customer base that cuts right across a regional level."