Adopting a change in mindset

SOME of the major shifts in the world are going to create a very different kind of world in the next 20 years and the ability of younger people to take a longer term view is quite important. 

“Young people tend to project today into tomorrow,” said Kai Nargolwala, Standard Chartered Bank group executive director (governance Asia) said. “It's quite important that we sometimes step back and look at the fact that the world goes through cycles.” 

“Over the last 20 years, Asia had got used to a 7% - 8% growth which is now more likely to be in the 4% - 5% range. We have grown use to over the last 20 years that inflation is with us forever. Even though we might tame it, it still sees rises of 2% - 3% a year. 

“Some of our economies in Asia like Hong Kong now have deflation for 4-5 years and in Japan, about 10 years. It requires a different mindset to deal with that and the ability to step back and recognise the future is going to be different rather than just go with the flow. Many people recognise that five or six years or a decade later,” he commented. 

Another major trend is that very few industries or companies will have pricing power because of globalisation. Competition affects the ability to generate very high profits and nobody's going to be protected anymore. 

Amidst all these, there are opportunities for young people to use technology and a new way of communicating with each other, he said.  

A good example is South Korea which had heavy industry but what's coming up today is the Internet. It is the most wired and connected country in the world and they are leading the world in design in terms of cell phones and a variety of other products. 

South Korea has also built a whole new entrepreneurial class. There are a lot more women in business, and all this has happened over the last 5-6 years, he noted.  

Nargolwala views that people should look for non-traditional areas to focus on. In the case of Malaysia, he said it had all the ingredients to be a vibrant new world destination with a strong art scene, tradition of tourism, hospitality and diversity of cuisine. 

Malaysia's and Thailand's focus on health tourism especially on an inexpensive and high quality scale, was positive, he said. 

Listening to all types of music, playing the piano and reading are his favourite pastimes. A book he is reading now is Conquer the Crash which contains some views on how problematic the world is becoming. “I like reading novels especially those written by young novelists from the US, UK and some from Asia,” he said. 

How does he see young bankers shaping up? “In the 25 years that I've been in banking, I have seen a tremendous difference in what is needed to be successful. 

“In the old days, it was more of sitting in the offices and having people come to you to do business. Now, it is really turning around and going out and selling out aggressively.” 


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