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Griffith Business alumnus becomes Trade & Investment commissioner

Griffith Business School alumnus Julie-Anne Nichols has been announced as Queensland’s new Trade and Investment Commissioner for China.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Ms Nichols, who holds a Bachelor of International Business and a Graduate Diploma in Mandarin Chinese Language from the University, has exceptional experience as a leader and stakeholder liaison with the Asian business landscape that will serve her well in the key role.

“Ms Nichols has been the Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner in Hong Kong since February 2017 and was previously the Senior Trade Commissioner for Austrade in Guangzhou and in Singapore, so her experience across Asia is outstanding,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“She is well placed to represent Queensland’s interests in trade and investment across all industries and has an extensive knowledge of the Chinese market.”

Acting Pro Vice Chancellor (Business) Professor Fabrizio Carmignani congratulated Ms Nichols on her appointment, which will see her work to improve trade and investment ties between Queensland and China.

“We are proud to hear that one of our remarkable Griffith Business School alumni has climbed to such tremendous heights in the international trade and investment sector,” Professor Carmignani said.

“As a university with historically strong ties to the Asia region, it is deeply rewarding to see Julie-Anne living the Griffith value of engaging with our northern neighbours to achieve meaningful outcomes and impacts for the state of Queensland at large.

“We wish Julie-Anne all the best in her new and exciting role, and will be watching eagerly as she continues to move from strength to strength in her career.”

Ms Nichols has been a resident of China for a decade, during which time she has overseen several teams working across eastern China and north-east Asia.

One of her first duties, according to the state government, will be to oversee the 30th anniversary of the Queensland Government Sister-State Agreement with Shanghai Municipal Government, being commemorated this year.

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London loses top financial centre ranking to New York

London has been replaced by New York as the world’s most attractive financial centre, a survey has indicated, as Brexit prompts banks to shift jobs out of the city to keep access to Europe’s single market.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU poses the biggest challenge to the City of London‘s finance industry since the 2007-2009 global crisis, since it may mean banks and insurers lose access to the world’s biggest trading bloc.

New York took first place, followed by London, Hong Kong and Singapore in the Z/Yen global financial centres index, which ranks 100 centres on factors such as infrastructure and access to quality staff.

London‘s score fell by eight points from six months ago, the biggest decline among the top contenders. The survey’s authors said this reflected the uncertainty around Britain’s departure next year.

“We are getting closer and closer to exit day and we still don’t know whether London will be able to trade with all the other European financial centres,” Mark Yeandle, co-creator of the index, said.

“The fear of losing business to other centres is driving the slight decline and people are concerned about London’s competitiveness.”

Since Britain voted in 2016 to leave the EU, some of the world’s most powerful finance companies have started moving staff from London to countries that will remain in the bloc to preserve the existing cross-border flow of trading.

Financial services firms, which account for about 12 per cent of Britain’s economic output and pay more tax than any other industry, potentially have a lot to lose from the end of unfettered access to the EU.

About 5,000 roles are expected to be shifted from London or created in the EU due to Brexit by March, a Reuters study published earlier this year found.

The head of the City of London predicted in July that 3,500 to 12,000 financial jobs would go because of Brexit in the short-term and more might disappear later.

Asian competitors are closing in, with Hong Kong only three points behind London, the survey found.

Many London executives have warned the biggest threats to London are not from other European centres but from global competitors, such as New York and Hong Kong.

The rankings, which are based on nearly 2,500 respondents working in the industry, provide a twice-yearly guide to the relative performance of financial centres globally.

The number of banks saying they plan to set up new EU subsidiaries after Brexit has picked up in the past year. Most major US, British and Japanese banks said they would build up operations in Frankfurt, Paris or Dublin.

Other European centres moved up in the global rankings. Zurich rose to ninth place from 16th six months ago and Frankfurt to 10th from 20th, while Amsterdam climbed to 35th place from 50th.

“London and New York have long vied for the top spot of this index and the uncertainty around the future shape of Brexit is likely to be a factor in their latest switch in positions,” said Miles Celic, chief executive of the lobbying group TheCityUK. “In a competitive world we cannot afford complacency.”

A Bank of England official expressed optimism on Wednesday about the future.

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HSBC to bolster Asia private banking headcount, double client assets

HSBC aims to increase its Asia private banking headcount by two-thirds in five years and double client assets in eight as it eyes a bigger share of the business in the world’s fastest-growing wealth market, top executives said.

The lender’s private banking expansion plan in Asia, which accounted for 75 percent of group-level profit last year, comes as the unit that caters to the rich is focusing once more on growth after years of painful restructuring.

“Asia is the key driver for future profitability in the private bank … it’s been the driver for growth even through the difficult times and it’s always remained profitable,” Peter Boyles, CEO of HSBC’s global private banking business, told Reuters.

HSBC’s Asia private bank will add 700 people by 2022 from a headcount of 1,100 at the end of 2017. The increase will add staff in various roles including relationship managers, product specialists and family wealth planners, said Siew Meng Tan, Asia Pacific head of private banking.

HSBC’s global private banking business manages $330 billion (£253.69 billion) worth of clients assets, and Asia accounts for 39 percent of the total, making it the single largest market for the bank.

It also aims to double Asia-based client assets by 2025, in-line with consultant Capgemini’s overall wealth growth forecast in the region over the same period, as it expands its presence in the banking hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore and also vies for a bigger share of offshore Chinese wealth, Tan said.

Asia has emerged as the main battleground for global wealth managers, with higher economic growth, rapidly rising wages and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem producing rich clients at a pace faster than the western world.

Asia Pacific accounts for 34 percent of the world population of high net worth individuals, or those having investable assets of $1 million or more, and 31 percent of their wealth – ahead of North America, as per Capgemini’s 2018 wealth report.

Growth Mode

Clients with more than $5 million of investable assets are served by the bank’s private banking unit, while those with less than that threshold are taken up by HSBC’s retail banking and wealth management division.

HSBC’s private banking business had a torrid time following embarrassing data leaks in 2008 allegedly showing tax evasion by clients, prompting probes into the tax affairs of some of its Swiss account holders in a number of European countries.

The bank in 2015 admitted failings in compliance and controls in its Swiss private bank in the period up to 2007. It has since then taken significant steps to implement global standards and tax transparency initiatives.

The private banking unit, which brought in just over 3 percent of the bank’s adjusted global revenues in 2017, shrunk its footprint and exited some clients in the last few years as it sharpened its focus on compliance and profitability.

“We have done the repositioning work and we are now seeing net growth coming through because the drag effect from business exits has now diminished,” said Boyles, who took over his current role in 2012 and spearheaded the restructuring.

“We actually had a first year of growth for many years, both in assets under management and in net profit, in 2017. And moving into 2018 we have seen continued progress,” he said.

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Dyson invests in electric car market with £200million UK test track

Household appliance-maker Dyson has announced it is accelerating plans to develop electric cars in Britain – with a £200 million investment in track-testing facilities at its new UK research centre.

The firm, which is branching out from its vacuum cleaners and hair driers to take on car giants with a new generation of high-tech electric vehicles, said the move would create ‘more high-skilled jobs for Britain’.

It is being viewed as another vote of confidence in the United Kingdom in the run up to Brexit next Spring.

Dyson is currently recruiting an additional 300 automotive engineers on top of the 400 already in place and has said the electric car project could see the firm’s present UK workforce nearly double to around 8,000.

The battery-powered electric cars are being designed and developed in the UK, however lower labour costs mean final assembly is likely to be in South East Asia where much of the firm’s wider electronic and hi-tech production already takes place.

Dyson confirmed it is seeking planning permission for ‘extensive vehicle testing facilities’ at the former World War 2 RAF base at Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire – including ten miles of test track – as it embarks on the ‘next phase of electric vehicle development’.

The planning application for new second phase outlines 45,000 square metres of new development space to accommodate more than 2,000 people as well as a café, sports centre, recreation space and supporting technical facilities.

It will be accompanied by a £200 million investment for UK expansion.

The new 10-mile test track proposals includes a dynamic handling circuit to assess ride, steering and brakes, a vehicle stability dynamic platform for testing vehicle manoeuvrability and an off-road route for driving through soft and rugged terrains.

The proving ground will also have a hill and handling road route which simulates a challenging fast road with a range of corners and a section to test advanced driver assistance systems up to its maximum speed.

The premises will also have test slopes of differing gradients to check the powertrain of engines and gears.

As part of the £84 million first phase, Dyson has already converted two historic World War Two hangars into state-of-the-art engineering work spaces at the airfield.

They are home to 400 members of Dyson’s newly created automotive team who have now moved in, with a further three buildings on course for completion.

Founder Sir James Dyson announced in September last year that his firm had been working in secret over the previous three years on an electric vehicle which it intends now to put into production.

It is investing £2 billion in all ahead of the electric car’s launch in 2021.

Sir James said his aim was to ‘dominate’ the emerging electric car market by taking on America’s Tesla and traditional car makers like Jaguar Land Rover who are creating their own battery powered vehicles.

He stressed the new car would be ‘radical, upmarket, high-tech and cutting edge’, clarifying: ’It won’t be a Nissan Leaf.’

He added at the time: ’We will lead the development for high value jobs in the UK. These cars will be British exports. The know-how and development is here.’

A spokesman said: ’The project builds on Dyson’s existing expertise in solid state batteries, motors, vision systems, robotics, air conditioning and aerodynamics. It represents an ambitious project on tight timelines.’

Global technology company Dyson currently employs 4,800 people in the UK – a 2.5 times increase over the last five years.

It employs 12,000 globally – including 4,500 engineers and scientists – with engineering and testing operations in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and the UK.

Dyson chief executive officer Jim Rowan said: ‘Our growing automotive team is now working from Dyson’s state-of-the-art hangars at Hullavington Airfield.

‘It will quickly become a world-class vehicle testing campus where we hope to invest £200m, creating more high-skilled jobs for Britain.

‘We are now firmly focused on the next stage of our automotive project strengthening our credentials as a global research and development organisation.’

Dyson’s wider interests include development of solid state battery cells, high-speed electric motors, vision systems, machine learning technologies, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The firm’s 67-acre campus in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, is also home to the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, which opened in September 2017 and the firm is making a £31m investment into UK higher education with a funded four-year degree programme to help overcome the shortage of engineers in the UK.

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BDO Singapore: Business Excellence Advisory

(A) Business Excellence Advisory

In today’s rapidly evolving and globalised economy, enterprises are actively pursuing business sustainability and scalability to maintain long-term market competitiveness. Some companies just work – like a well-oiled machine, they function seamlessly internally by having robust processes and keeping employees engaged with their jobs. Externally, they can maintain a competitive advantage and adapt according to different economic conditions. Regardless of industry size, structure or stage of development, these are the hallmarks of sustainable enterprises that have achieved organisational excellence. If you are a business owner reading this, the more pertinent question is – where do you start?

Achieving Organisational Excellence with the Business Excellence Initiative

Organisational excellence is all about adopting a holistic approach to strengthening management systems and processes of an organisation for growth and productivity improvements. The Business Excellence initiative is driven by SPRING Singapore to help and encourage organisations in their journey towards organisational excellence by assessing and improving their performance against the requirements of internationally benchmarked organisational excellence frameworks such as:

– The Baldridge Performance Excellence Programme in the United States
– The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Award
– The Japan Quality Award
– The Australian Business Excellence Award

As a prolific advisory service provider to enterprises seeking to achieve organisational excellence and to prepare for the Singapore Quality Class (SQC) recognition by SPRING Singapore, BDO’s Business Excellence Advisory service helps business owners to identify organisational gaps and impart insights on industry best practices to improve the organisation. Our proprietary methodology is rooted in SPRING’s Business Excellence Framework and is focused on understanding your organisational needs thoroughly before designing a recommendation roadmap to address the identified gaps in the organisation.

Our Business Excellence Advisory service covers the seven (7) essential areas of an organisation, including:

– Leadership, which focuses on your commitment and involvement in setting clear directions and goals, as well as sustaining clear and unique corporate values in your organisation
– People, which focuses on how your organisation taps the full potential of the workforce, emphasising on human resource strategies, training and development, employee satisfaction and performance recognition
– Customers, which focuses on how your organisation determines and fulfils changing customer requirements and improves customer satisfaction
– Processes, which focuses on how your organisation manages and seek continuous improvements of essential processes in the organisation
– Knowledge, which focuses on the collection, management and analysis of information to improve and support decision-making at all levels of the organisation
– Strategy, which focuses on how you drive your organisation’s strategy development and ensure proper implementation of action plans to achieve your organisational goals
– Results, which focus on how you track your organisation’s performance in key areas such as financial and market results, people results, customer results and operational results

With such a list of broad areas to look at, we at BDO strive to provide bespoke solutions that best fit your organisation, by working closely with the management in prioritising changes that are urgent, impactful and specific to your enterprise.

An organisation anchored on the foundations of Business Excellence will provide you with the confidence of maintaining business resiliency and catalysing sustainable growth in the long run.

(B) Strategy Innovation and Transformation

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” ~ Peter Drucker

Growth is hard. Trusted business models run out of steam. Disruptive start-ups appear from nowhere. Organisations which have previously excelled at doing what made them successful have now become victims of their own success.

We help organisations grow by defining and focusing on their core. We see things that others miss, offering you insights and solutions accumulated from deep experience and intimate industry knowledge to create more value for your business. We work collaboratively, building lasting capabilities to help your organisation mobilise for change. We define our success by your results. Together, we help you design and create your future. At BDO, we are committed to partner with you in the following areas for business transformation:

Innovation and Growth

Innovation is critical to growth, but most organisations fall short. Organisations understand the importance of innovation, but they fail when it comes to its execution. We define innovation as seeing things in a new light, helping our clients gain valuable insights into transforming their organisation and boosting performance. We support our clients to develop a clear innovative strategy to meet their business and strategic objectives through identification of gaps between where they are and where they want to be. We work with our clients to identify areas of their businesses that are ripe for innovation through a proven 10-point framework, and we can support them in rapid business-case prototyping and development to transform ideas into reality.

Organisational Transformation

Business model lifecycles are shrinking across industries, creating an imperative to innovate to remain relevant in the increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. Future success often hinges on the rethinking of the current business model by defining and redefining compelling customer value propositions and supporting it with a viable, profitable and efficient operating model. Whether seeking to drive breakout growth, reinvigorate a lagging core, or defend against industry disruption or decline, management needs to ask themselves: Can our existing business model continue to win?

Resource Planning

Highly successful organisations are consistent and dynamic resource planners and allocators. They are resilient towards change, adaptability and value creation, particularly in uncertain economic times. Most organisations are slow to allocate resources to the right areas in the business. Every year, they stick to the same processes for strategy development, capital budgeting and talent management with marginal improvements from the year before, if at all. Quoting Albert Einstein, “Madness is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.”

We help clients to design an effective strategic resource planning and budgeting processes to overcome the inertia that hinders organisational growth. We utilise tools and techniques to help organisations challenge the status quo and overcoming obstacles in the way of dynamic organisational renewal. To us, winning is not the end goal. Sustaining the business is the ultimate key to success.

Strategy Design and Management

Organisations often struggle with their strategy, and it can be challenging to reconcile the need for short-term returns with long-term strategic goals. It is even more challenging to build the capabilities required to achieve both short- and long-term goals. We help organisations enhance and strengthen their strategy development processes and assist clients with solutions to specific strategic issues or design a whole new approach to their organisational strategy.

We can provide guidance on strategic issues, including processes for successful strategic planning and advice on implementation with the executive team. Each organisation is different with varying contexts and divergent challenges, and, to support the team, we develop bespoke solutions tailored to each organisation’s culture, organisational structure, processes and results desired. Hence, being different is our unique motto and commitment to our clients.