The Swiss firm has partnered with a Vietnam-based bank as part of a strategy to build business in Southeast Asia, reflecting a trend of Western banks partnering up with local institutions to tap into the Asian growth agenda.
A significant task for Bordier and its Vietnamese partner is preserving clients’ wealth, Evrard Bordier said in the interview. “We have never engaged in leverage and we are a very safe place for investment.” Bordier and his colleagues are learning the pluses and limitations of developing a new business at a time of remote working practices.
“There is a lot of work being done now on how we can make our workforce more efficient. We can improve processes more and that’s super-exciting. From being a problem [remote working] it could be an opportunity for us in the end,” he said.
Like other financial institutions, the shift towards digital platforms and related technology, already under way, has had to speed up because of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has also put a spotlight on the need for business continuity, strong digital security and reliability, and teamwork. “It certainly does re-frame the way we work.”
The focus on Vietnam as a specific market, coupled with the wider trend of Swiss and other banks tapping into the Asia growth story, is going to require patience and commitment, particularly given recent events. As Evrard Bordier and his colleagues know, a bank with a pedigree stretching back into the middle of the 19th century brings plenty of credibility in uncertain times. Melding that with modern technology and an emerging markets region should make for compelling viewing.