RHB appoints HSBC veteran as retail banking head

U Chen Hock, who spent 30 years with HSBC, will be responsible for local and regional operations at the Malaysian bank.

RHB Bank has appointed HSBC veteran U Chen Hock as head of group retail banking, replacing Charles Sik, who has left the Malaysian group.

U will be based in Kuala Lumpur, effective February 1, in an enlarged role from that of his predecessor, a RHB spokesman told FinanceAsia.

He will be responsible for local and regional operations, covering Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia and Lao. He will report to Khairussaleh Ramli, deputy group managing director and managing director of RHB Bank.

“As an established banker, U Chen Hock will continue to strengthen and build up our value proposition as a customer centric bank,” Khairussaleh said in a statement.

U, currently executive director of RHB Bank's group international business, joined the Malaysian group in 2013 following the merger of RHB Investment bank and OSK Investment Bank, where he was chief executive from 2011.

He joined OSK in 2010 following a 30-year career at HSBC in Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, starting as a management trainee in 1980.

U held various roles in the region at the UK bank in corporate, commercial and consumer banking, including in Islamic finance in Hong Kong.

RHB is Malaysia’s fourth-largest bank, with total assets of M$181 billion, translating into a domestic market share of 9.7%.

The bank is wholly owned by RHB Capital, which is listed on the Bursa Malaysia and has a market capitalisation of M$22.8 billion.

RHB Capital is 41.3% owned by Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund and 21% owned by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

The group offers transaction banking, corporate and investment banking, Islamic banking, global financing banking and group treasury.

Its retail banking products include insurance, wealth management, hire purchase, credit cards and unsecured and secured loans.

“I believe U Chen Hock (pictured below) is well positioned to helm our efforts to be a leading retail banking franchise across Asean,” Khairussaleh said in the statement.

That ambition looked set for a boost until recently with RHB Capital planning a mega-merger with CIMB and Malaysia Building Society.

The deal, valued by Bloomberg at $22.3 billion, would have created a Malaysian banking colossus and no doubt presented cross-selling opportunities for RHB and the others.

However, it fell through in January after market conditions made the deal unviable due to a drop in share price for CIMB.

RHB continues to explore options for potential mergers, seeking to bulk up having been a takeover target in the past.

The bank raised $300 million in September through a five-year bond

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