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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | editor, Hong Kong

Bank of East Asia's CDO joins speakers list for the ABF Retail Banking Virtual Conference

Ronald Fung talks about the expedition of digitalization in HK and globally.

Ronald Fung is the Chief Digital Officer (CDO), General Manager, and Head of Digital & Innovation Office of The Bank of East Asia Limited. He was also the Chief Digital Officer of Noah Holdings Limited, establishing the Group Digital Innovation Center from 0 to 1.

Before joining Noah, he was the Director of COO Office of Ping An Group and the General Manager of a data technology company. Fung was also a Junior Partner in McKinsey & Company, responsible for business technology and operation consulting business in Greater China, serving more than 100 clients across 30 countries, focusing in the Financial Institutions on various digital topics.

In an interview with Asian Banking & Finance magazine, Ronald talked about the digitization in the retail banking space, and teased his presentation for the ABF Retail Banking Virtual Conference 2020.

Can you describe your career before joining Bank of East Asia? How has this helped you in managing the bank’s digital transformation journey?

On this, I have to admit that I was very fortunate to be given plenty of opportunities, especially along the line of Financial Institutions and Technology, which naturally becomes FinTech as everyone calls it nowadays. I would roughly break my career so far down into 3 stages; in my early days with JPMorgan and IBM, I had the pleasure to learn from many industry gurus, providing me the foundation on banking and technology 101. Next stage as a strategy consultant in McKinsey for 10 years allows me to serve clients across the globe, along different maturity stages, understanding the challenges and success factors in different transformation journeys. The third stage happened just before I joined BEA, when I led transformations in Ping An and Noah Financials in China as AGM and CDO. I literally got on this digital high-speed train where everything is possible, my imagination and solution space just got stretched without boundary.

How has COVID-19 evolved digitization in Hong Kong’s retail banking space?

To use the most cliché response, what used to take 2 years in the past, now takes 2 months under COVID-19. Looking at it more holistically, there are three angles we can see clear acceleration. One, on the end user adoption, now many are “forced” to migrate to online banking services while visiting physical branches is literally impossible. Two, on the work culture shift, now with the BCP and A/B team in place, colleagues have to learn new practices to work effectively together, leveraging remote tools. Three, on the regulatory collaboration and openness, regulators are much more proactive and collaborative with digital partners in enabling banking practices under the COVID-19 constraints. All three angles contributed to this expedition of digitalization in HK and globally.

Can you give us a glimpse of your presentation for the ABF Retail Banking Virtual Conference 2020?

The topic will focus on how to set up a digital transformation journey from 0 to 1, in which I will share some of the stories I experienced, pitfalls witnessed and key success factors gathered. Hopefully will be useful for our audiences as they embark on this digital transformation journey before it’s too late.

The ABF Retail Banking Virtual Conference 2020 will take place on 17 September. To learn more about the event, click here. To register, click here. For inquiries, please contact Hershey Barcelo at or at +65 3158 1386.

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