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He runs a leading regional private banking institution with about $40 billion in assets out of Singapore and is deemed as one of Southeast Asia’s most influential in his field. And he’s proudly Filipino.
Renato de Guzman, chief executive officer of Bank of Singapore, now oversees an institution as big as some of the world’s leading Western banks. He will be in the annals of Asian banking as the Filipino who nurtured Bank of Singapore into one of the world’s largest private banks—one which in the next four years, aims to double its asset base to $80 billion.
He is a professional manager who has transformed crises into opportunities, carving an exemplary regional banking career in the last three and a half decades.
Late last year, De Guzman was named by Alpha Magazine as one of the 25 “most influential” people in Southeast Asia shaping financial markets in the coming decade, an elite list that also includes the likes of AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes as well as a handful of Filipino movers and shakers like San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang, PLDT chair Manuel Pangilinan, Banco de Oro chair Teresita Sy-Coson, Bank of the Philippine Island executive vice president Alfonso Salcedo and BDO Capital & Investment Corp. president Eduardo Franciso.
“Right Place, Right Time”
De Guzman started his banking career at local investment bank Bancom International, then the place for a banker to be. “From there, I got to like banking,” he says. After a year, he moved to French bank BNP for 12 years, becoming the deputy head of the Philippine unit. After this, he set up ING’s representative office in Manila and afterwards headed full banking operations after the Dutch bank bagged one of the 10 foreign licenses up for grabs when the central bank liberalized foreign bank branching in the mid-1990s. He was country manager at ING Manila from 1990 to 2000.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Management Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University, a Masters in Business Administration (with distinction) from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium and a Masters in Management from McGill University in Canada.
Asked to what he attributes his success as a regional banker, De Guzman expresses gratitude to the woman in his life, Kathy, whom he describes as “supportive wife who understands the demands of the job.”
“To have a wife who will keep the family together, I think, that’s very important.”
– Renato de Guzman (on success)