Shooting on target
LGT Bank (HK) MD Dinasa Yeung sees parallels between her passion for football and career success
The world of private banking and English Premier League football may seem poles apart, but for Dinasa Yeung, managing director of LGT Bank (Hong Kong), there are many similarities – not least, the idea of teamwork.
“Just like a successful football team, looking after a client’s needs is only possible when the people within the organisation work closely together as a team,” says Yeung, a fan of English football team Arsenal and an admirer of the club’s manager Arsene Wenger for the way he looks after his players.
Yeung says she makes the comparison between football and private banking because her job relies on working with LGT’s analysts, legal experts, trustees and other professionals. Together they develop strategies which enable her to look after the investment and wealth-management requirements of her high-net-worth clients.
As an outgoing person who believes a private banker must have a genuine interest in people, Yeung says she derives much of her job satisfaction from the interaction she has with clients from across the Greater China region – mainly in Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and the mainland.
While there is no typical day as such, to best serve her clients’ complex financial requirements, Yeung spends time sifting through the vast amount of financial information available and liaising with colleagues to provide clients with tailored advice and solutions. Throughout the day, she also needs to keep a close watch on the financial markets, not only in Asia, but also in Europe and the US.
There are also regular client meetings to arrange to discuss investment strategies and review portfolios. “I like the fact that I meet so many people and to a certain extent enjoy a degree of flexibility,” Yeung says.
She adds that wide-ranging changes to the financial industry’s regulatory framework and increased investment caution from clients have also added to her workload. “Ever since the financial crisis, clients have become far more cautious,” she says. “Before they make decisions, they are looking for in-depth information and sound advice.” She explains that the LGT Group, which is privately owned by the Princely House of Liechtenstein, tends to focus on a long-term vision supported by conservative investment strategies.
While the image of the private banking world is usually associated with luxury and opulence, Yeung prefers the simpler things in life. These include things like family meals with her accountant husband and daughter, who recently graduated from the University of Kent in the UK with a LLB degree with honours. Once a week, usually on a Saturday, Yeung also likes to spend several hours alone walking around the paths on the Peak. “Walking and looking at the views is a wonderful mind-clearing exercise,” she says.
Having moved from Hong Kong to Australia with her family in the 1970s, Yeung grew up in a small town near Sydney where she was the only Chinese student at the local school. While considering herself a beneficiary of Australia’s liberal approach to education, Yeung feels that during her formative years she grew up missing some of the opportunities to learn about her own culture “Except for Saturday morning Chinese lessons at a centre in Sydney, I grew up not knowing very much about Chinese culture,” she admits.
To make up for lost time and provide her with broader insights, Yeung enjoys reading about the events and social issues that have had an influence on Chinese people around the region. “Knowing something about the past gives me a better understanding of how a client may view risk in a certain way, or prefer a particular investment strategy,” she says. She adds that a successful private banker must be as good at handling client relations as providing wealth management solutions.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Economics degree from Macquarie University, where she met her future husband, Yeung joined Citibank Australia before returning to Hong Kong in 1988, where she continued to work for Citibank. She joined the Bank of Bermuda in 1993 as director of business development in Asia.
During her tenure with the Bank of Bermuda – at the time one of the largest trustee banks in Hong Kong – Yeung was responsible for helping the bank obtain Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) status in Taiwan. It turn it became the first foreign financial enterprise to receive the licence. She was also involved in setting up the bank’s private family office, aimed at ultra-high-net-worth families in Asia.
Yeung recalls that her work at the time involved balancing a busy travel schedule with spending time with her primary-school-age daughter. “My husband and I worked out a timetable so that one of us could drop off and pick our daughter up from the Chinese International School,” she says. “We wanted to make sure we could be hands-on parents.” Yeung has also made the time to become an active member of the Chinese International School Parent and Teachers Association.
She also finds other uses for her people talents and finance skills – helping charities raise funds, which she frequently does via connections with clients. “Whether it is private banking or charity work, it comes down to building relationships, so you need to enjoy working with people,” she says.
GREATER RETURNS ON EDUCATION AND CAREER
Dinasa Yeung appreciates the Australian education system for the way it encourages liberal thinking and develops individual strengths, but also admires Hong Kong’s can-do spirit and work ethic. She offers some education and career advice.
Guide, don’t shove “When children are young, you don’t have to keep on pushing them. Encourage them yes, but push, no.”
Consider alternatives “A university education is not for everyone. We should give more encouragement and recognition to vocational training.”
Work together “There is no room for complete individualism in [private banking]. In order to be successful, you have to be a team player.”
Go for a stroll “Walking is a great way to clear the mind and reflect on things that make you happy.”