OCBC Bank leads industry in setting up of board committee on ethics and conduct
Singapore, 27 March 2019 – OCBC Bank announced today that it has set up an Ethics and Conduct Board Committee to ensure that the Group’s core values of trust and integrity continue to anchor the way it conducts its business.
Given the environment today, where several financial institutions – including top international banks – have been mired in controversies in recent years involving ethical misconduct, the setting up of the new Board Committee is timely to ensure that responsible banking is rigorously enforced across the whole OCBC Group.
The new Ethics and Conduct Board Committee is chaired by OCBC Bank Chairman, Mr Ooi Sang Kuang, and includes two other directors – Dr Lee Tih Shih and Ms Christina Ong. It provides oversight of policies, guidelines and programmes that support a strong and responsible organisation culture firmly founded on its core values and the spirit of long-term thinking.
The story and ethos of OCBC Bank over the decades – how sound ethics and conduct has formed the foundation for the sustainability of its diversified franchise and the strength of the OCBC brand – are captured in the book, Wind behind the Sails, that was published in 2017.
The new Board Committee held its first meeting today and laid out its expectations and standards for all 29,000 employees of the OCBC Group to sustain and grow a strong culture of responsible banking and fair dealing.
Mr Ooi, who has been OCBC Bank’s Chairman since 2014, was previously Deputy Governor and a Board Director of Bank Negara Malaysia. Dr Lee, an Associate Professor at the Duke-NUS Medical School, has previously held senior positions at both OCBC Bank and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Ms Ong is the Co-Chairman and Senior Partner of law firm Allen & Gledhill LLP and has extensive experience in corporate regulatory and compliance matters.
OCBC Bank Chairman, Mr Ooi Sang Kuang, chairs the new Ethics and Conduct Board Committee, which will ensure that OCBC’s underlying core values of honesty and integrity are firmly entrenched in each and every of its employees.
The Bank’s new Culture and Conduct Management Committee chaired by its Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Samuel Tsien, will implement initiatives to enhance existing policies and programmes on ethics and conduct, as well as roll out new ones to ensure these core values are always embedded in the DNA of each and every OCBC Group employee.
Mr Ooi said: “In the last decade, there have been several high-profile examples of questionable conduct by financial institutions. These examples span the globe and the misconduct ranges from extreme over-leveraging to violating international sanctions, tax fraud and money-laundering. The misconduct stems mostly from an imbalance between the pursuit of financial goals and responsible banking.
“OCBC has never wavered from our core values of trust and integrity. We must never go down the path of putting our own interests above those of our customers or prioritise short-term profits over long-term customer relationships. Such long-term relationships are what we have always invested in since our history began more than 87 years ago. Retaining the trust of customers – some of whom have banked with us for generations – is a top priority.”
Mr Ooi added: “The banking industry is transforming rapidly due to technological advancements and customers’ expectations have also changed. However, what has not changed is that our customers still expect us to be utterly worthy of their trust. That is why amid so much change in the banking industry, our underlying values of integrity and honesty must never change.”
“Trust in financial institutions is not just critical to a bank’s success. Without such trust, a country’s financial system will not be able to productively serve the country and society.”