Women in finance: Jeanette Wong

Jeanette Wong is featured in our series on influential women in the region's financial centres for her work as head of DBS's institutional banking group.

Jeanette Wong helms DBS’s massive Institutional Banking Group, and has led the bank’s thrust into growing its fee income and building up its advisory and deal-making capabilities.

At DBS, the Institutional Banking Group encompasses corporate banking, global transaction services, strategic advisory, syndicated finance and project finance and the group contributed a whopping 62% (S$2.9 billion) of the Singaporean bank’s total profit in 2014.

Wong was named to her present role in August 2008, when the world’s financial markets were on the brink of the worst financial crisis. She steadily steered the division towards rising profitability. DBS has traditionally been a lender but used to leave other businesses, such as transaction banking and advisory services on the table.

Wong worked towards changing that. She has been instrumental in building DBS’s sustainable annuity business including cash management and trade finance to supplement the bank’s core lending business.

Today, DBS banks over 200,000 institutional clients across Asia and the group’s non-loan income ratio has increased to 50%, from 39% in 2008. In terms of investment banking capabilities, DBS is way ahead of the two other local banks UOB and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation in this respect.

Prior to taking on her current role, Wong was DBS’s chief financial officer from 2003 to 2008 and also had a career at a foreign bank having worked at JP Morgan for 16 years before joining DBS.

Outside of her busy work schedule, Wong has mentored two to three young women undergraduates every year from her alumni at NUS business school and also gives career advice to MBA students on the Asian program at University of Chicago. She also spends family time with her two sons during weekends and is an avid reader of Christian and non-fiction books.

FinanceAsia’s 2015 honour roll of the most influential women across the Asia Pacific region spans investment and commercial bankers.

Published as a feature in the July / August 2015 print edition of FinanceAsia, the series also presents leading women in new areas of finance such as fintech where Asian companies are among the fastest-growing in the world.

We also canvassed corporate financiers for exceptional women working in deal advisory including lawyers and accountants. In the process of researching the series, we found evidence of progress in creating more diverse workplaces in the region.


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