Developing Strategy in Asia Pacific

Intensive client engagement, extending our leadership positions and developing medium term growth drivers are at the heart of Societe Generale’s strategy in Asia Pacific.

After two years of strong growth, Asia Pacific once again delivered solid results in 2015 by accounting for 14% of GBIS’s NBI. Despite headwinds at the beginning of 2016, Asia Pacific is expected to remain one of the fastest growing regions in the world and one of Societe Generale’s important growth drivers. Hikaru Ogata, CEO Asia Pacific, shares his insights

Hikaru Ogata, CEO for Societe Generale Asia Pacific :

What is Societe Generale’s Strategy in Asia Pacific?

We’re developing rationally – focusing on our clients’ needs and on our strengths. From five years ago, we indicated a number of relevant trends in the region: globalization of Asian investors, the sustained need for infrastructure development, and changes to be brought about by new regulations. These trends offer our clients many opportunities to which we responded with our multi specialist approach. In Asia Pacific, we’re focused on three priorities: first on understanding our clients’ needs. Without an intensive engagement with our clients we would be working in a vacuum, and this would be a recipe for failure. Secondly, we are focused on continuing to extend our leadership franchises. Either it be in consolidating our footprint in the more mature markets of Asia Pacific, expanding further our cross asset solutions activities, or in all aspects of the Natural Resources franchise leveraging among many others on the new synergies brought by Newedge on Commodities Futures and Clearing. We believe that there are many more opportunities for us.
Lastly, we are continuing to develop our footprint in the region for the medium term. Geographically in Southeast Asia, India and Australia, in terms of products (for example in DCM and transaction banking ), and in expanding our client base, especially with corporate clients in the region.

What can you tell us about Corporates in the Region?

In 2015, Asia Pacific corporates accounted for a significant number of the Fortune global 500 companies. These companies and many others have global ambitions, and we will look to further accompany them in the expansion of their footprint in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. This obviously leads to synergies between us and our French and International Banking networks, which is developing quickly and now accounts for approximately one third of our business with corporates in the region. In addition, as adept problem solvers, we work very closely with our clients in financing their most complex projects, or helping them with their risk management in very volatile markets. Our corporate business in the region is growing rapidly and I am very confident on the future prospects.

What are your challenges in Asia Pacific?

Similar to the challenges in any other region. We have volatile markets and large uncertainties around economic growth. We have formidable competitors who are global like us, or are more regionally focused. And then we have global and local regulations which will take time, effort and additional costs to comply to. Like elsewhere, with the more subdued outlook for the investment banking industry, we will need to work harder to ensure we get more market share in our region and continue to be a key growth driver for Societe Generale.

You recently received your award for 5 years of service with Societe Generale. In your view, what makes Societe Generale a special place to work?

Wow, time flies! I would say two things. First, team spirit. A mindset of working together for common goals. I have found it very refreshing working with strong professionals who immerse themselves every day in the team concept. Second, there is an amazing entrepreneurial spirit. We are always looking out for new opportunities in terms of new products or new markets to better serve our clients. I think these two characteristics, along with a collective passion and commitment to responsibly serve our clients are the things that make Societe Generale a very special place to work.