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GARY TAN A CELEBRATION OF LIFE


I have this tagline ‘make a difference’ – with anything you do, you need to make a difference! If you want to be an artist, paint like you never painted before. If you want to be a runner, run as fast as you can – and do it to the best of your ability.

GA RY TA N


H OME C OMIN G B A N K ER All he wanted was the best deal on a student loan but he got a Dealing Room job instead. In Feb 2014, Gary Tan shared with The Exchange* how he kick-started his 19-year journey with Standard Chartered. Read on to discover what he had to say about: starting off, the job and learning the tricks of the trade, his return to Singapore after a sabbatical, and life in general.

*

The Exchange is the internal blogsite of Standard Chartered Singapore.


ON STARTING OFF

ON THE JOB

I don’t know whether many people know this story, but when I joined the Bank it was really to get a much better rate on my student loan. I remember walking into the recruitment fair at Manchester University and the first question I asked was if staff get a preferential rate on loans. They told me I had to join the Bank first.

WH AT IS YOU R TYPIC A L D AY LIK E? Well, now running a broad-based business, I get involved in a lot of meetings and discussions. I wish I spent more time following the markets because what really interests me is being able to seeing the pulse of the market. Whenever I do find some time in my day, I try to be with the team and understand what is happening on the ground first-hand.

TELL US ABO UT G ARY.

I said sure, just tell me what to do, where do I have to sign up? And 19 years on, I’m still here.

My worst trade really was my best lesson, so I don’t see it as the worst trade. But my best trade was in 2001. We didn’t have much risk in our books then and we came in and started to add to our risk profile that day. I got a call from a colleague in New York that night and he said “Oh my gosh, the FED surprised the market and cut rates by 50 basis points!” We were just really happy as we hadn’t expected it to happen that night.

WH AT WA S YOU R B EST A N D WOR ST TR A D E?

We had to do an assessment as part of the final process in joining the Bank – I believe they would have changed the approach today. It so happened they asked us to play this game and I love board games and strategic kind of games. The objective of this one was to actually “break the Bank”. You have to collaborate with everyone – I think there were about 30 people there – and convince them to cooperate in order to win the game. HO W DI D YO U G ET STA R T E D WI T H T R A D I N G ?

At first, I was just sitting back watching everybody and trying to understand the rules. Five minutes in, I just got so excited I stood up, took the white board and told everybody, this is what we have to do. They looked at me as if I was crazy and Mike Rees was also there and he looked at me like, what’s wrong with this guy? I think everybody was quite nervous, so they just followed what I was saying and after 10 minutes, we did it and won the game. The point of the game was that if we collaborate as one, we would be a more powerful force versus pitching a fight against each other. I remember the HR colleagues who were there were like, “Oh my gosh! Normally this game takes about half a day – we don’t know what to do with the rest of the time allocated.” I kind of fell into trading because Mike Rees came up to me after and said, “You’re going to join Treasury (which was what Global Markets was then called).”

I tend not to sleep a lot. My mind doesn’t switch off. It’s not only just about work; I tend to think about a lot of things, so that keeps me awake at night. If I get five hours of sleep, it’s a good thing [laughs].

WH AT K EEPS YOU AWA K E AT N IGH T?

H OW D O YOU SEE TH E M A R K ET IN TH R EE TO SIX M ON THS?

Well, I expect it to be volatile but the recovery to gather more pace as the year progresses. It will be developed markets versus emerging markets.

A S TH E N EW H EA D OF GLOB A L M A R K ETS A N D C O- H E AD OF WH OLESA LE B A N K IN G, SIN GA POR E, WH AT A R E YOUR

I’d like to build stronger collaboration across teams by driving alignment across initiatives, build on the strong franchise and develop a talent pool of future leaders.

PR IOR ITIES FOR TH E B U SIN ESS IN 2 0 1 4 ?


ON LEARNING THE TRICKS OF THE TRADE I would say generally you do need the qualities to be a good leader. But having the right experience is very important. It really sets you up for greatness and character building. And sometimes going out and experiencing things give you more depth of character.

IS GR EATN ESS B OR N OR M A D E?

So, you may have all these innate qualities, but if you don’t challenge yourself and stretch your limits, you may never know what it takes; or you don’t know you actually have what it takes to be a leader when an opportunity/situation presents itself for you to take the lead. I think the first you need to learn is how to fail. When I started off as a trader, my mentor Corina Ho who was the Chief Dealer then, was instrumental in getting me to overcome that fear. The minute you learn how to stand back up, you learn to move on and not get emotional about it.

WH AT LESSON S H AVE YOU LEA R N T A LON G TH E WAY?

Rockclimbing Team Building activity in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

WH AT

Hiking a Glacier, Perito Moreno, Glacier in Argentina.

A D VIC E

CAN

YOU

OFFER

C OLLEA GU ES

W HO

J U ST STA R TIN G OU T? I would say to persevere! Be disciplined! Rome was not built in a day but make sure you dare to dream and push yourself to work hard and make a difference.

ARE


ON HOMECOMING

YO U’ VE RECENTLY RE T U R N E D TO S I N G A P O R E A F T E R A

I was in Hong Kong for four years. Ever since I joined the Bank I always wanted to work overseas. Hong Kong is very transitory – a lot of people come and go, so the friendships you form there tend to be very strong and impactful because one doesn’t really have a home or family there. I’ve made quite a good bunch of friends and so far we’ve stayed in contact. If I were to compare the two – Hong Kong, if you want to have fun and Singapore, if you want quality of life.

STI NT I N HO NG KO NG – WH AT WA S T H AT L I K E ?

YO U

TO O K A SABBAT I C A L

L E AV E A F T E R

YOUR

STINT

I N HO NG KO NG AND B E F O R E TA K I N G O N A N E W R O L E I N SI NG APO RE. CO ULD YO U S H A R E WI T H U S WH AT M O T I VAT E D

When I joined the Bank, I promised myself that I would work really hard and when I reached 40, I would stop and reflect. Well, that day came and I decided it was time to press the pause button and I felt it was the right time as I had built a strong team and business. It has been the best decision I have ever made. YO U TO TAKE A SABB AT I C A L L E AV E ?

Building houses for the less fortunate with Habitat for Humanity in Jordan.

W HAT DI D YO U DO D U R I N G Y O U R S A B B AT I C A L L E AV E ?

I completed my coaching qualification and certification – I coach individuals in life skills and run team building events. Travelled, reconnected with family and friends, did a lot of volunteer work.

W HAT M ADE YO U DEC I D E TO C O M E B A C K ? A N D WH AT I S

HO M ECO M I NG LI KE? Well, it took a lot of convincing from a few people to get me to return. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want to come back, but I wanted to be sure and stay true to myself that I know I can still make a difference, to stand up for what I believe in.

Homecoming... it was like I never left. Just got back and immediately into the swing of things! In Milan, outside the Milan Cathedral, Duomo di Milano while travelling with friends for a concert.


ON LIFE WH AT D O YOU D O FOR FU N ? I love running but have decided to scale back on the number of full marathons that I do in a year. Running now is for general fitness. I do also spend a lot of time on my own (coaching) business - this is my passion so I see it as fun.

I love watching movies and watch three to four movies a week. I love cinemas and I don’t mind going to a movie alone. I actually prefer it so I can concentrate. I also love travelling as well. I love board games. I’m also a godfather to quite a few kids – trying to keep up with the latest trends and the things they like keeps me busy too. I visit Facebook, R2D2D.net, Linkedin regularly as well.

GIVEN A C H A N C E TO STA R T OVER , IS TH ER E A N YTH ING

I would join Google – do something totally creative and not be bound by any protocols. I have a friend who works for Google and he tells me his day is never the same. Every single day is different and he works in a different space everyday and his deliverable is to come up with one great idea a week. It’s amazing and I would love to be in that kind of environment.

YOU WOU LD D O D IFFER EN TLY?

WH AT WOU LD YOU LIK E TO B E D OIN G 1 0 OR 2 0 YEA R S FR OM

I don’t think that far these days. In my younger days, I planned my path 10 to 20 years ahead but as you grow older, you tend to just live day to day…and for the moment.

N OW?

October 2012 - Melbourne Full Marathon; achieved Personal Best time of 3hr 27mins

I read this book recently; I can’t remember the title offhand, but it talks about how we get through the week. We start the week with Monday, then Wednesday goes by and we think, great I made it through midweek. Then we get to Friday and TGIF! Then the weekend passes and oh, I had the best weekend ever, and we come back to Monday. You don’t realise that time has passed by, week after week, and you haven’t lived each day to the fullest. What if this is your last day? How are you going to make most of that day? Imagine if you live life and made full use of every single day. What would your life be like then?


Vietnam

Petra Jordan

I have this tagline ‘make a difference’ – with anything you do, you need to make a difference! If you want to be an artist, paint like you never painted before. If you want to be a runner, run as fast as you can – and do it to the best of your ability.

ANY FI NAL CO M M ENTS / A D V I C E F O R C O L L E A G U E S ?

Machu Picchu

Start of Inca Trail, Machu Pucchu, Peru

Highest point of Inca Trail


W H AT H I S C O L L EAGUES SAID ON T HE “ H O M E C O M I N G BANKER” INT ERVIEW

R E: H OM EC OM IN G B A N K ER

welcome back Gary ! C H A N , D ER R IC K IN SPIR IN G

CO NG RAT S O N A G R E AT C A R E E R . .

A truely inspiring story. Thanks Gary. Continue making difference!!

True “local” inspiration..

C H EN , SC OTT QIN G

D’P E N H A , D U N C A N

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R E: H OM EC OM IN G B A N K ER

WELCOME BACK!

Wonderful read. Will benefit lot of younsters starting

Great to know u are back and best of all... doing something that you enjoy.

VA SU D EVA N , K R ISH N A N

S U R I AT I , N A S

-

-

IN SPIR ATION A L

WELCOME HOME

Love the Hiking a Glacier, Perito Moreno, Glacier in Argentina. Must be tough. And welcome back!

Hi Gary, welcome home to Singapore ! TAY, P U AY L I G O OD S T U F F R E A D I N G

Like the picture “Hiking a Glacier, Perito Moreno, Glacier in Argentina” very much ZHO NG, E D WA R D WE N H U I AWE S O M E

Many thanks for sharing your story, Gary :) B A D R O M , Z A N I TA

WON G, K ON YOC K GA B R IELLE TH A N K S FOR C OM IN G B A C K !

I have spoken to you many times when you were a dealer but surely am glad to know you have come back. Thanks LEO, M A R IA J A C QU ELIN E R E: H OM EC OM IN G B A N K ER

nice success story EC H C H ATB I, C H A R A F


TRIBUTES

PAM EL A WALK D EN Group Business Head, Regions

Gary was an inspirational and amazing person to work with. Not only was he very bright and very diligent, he was also very inspirational. He cared so much for the people he worked with and made a much broader contribution beyond his immediate job. When he came back from his sabbatical he seemed to have really found his balance in life and appeared so happy. The hugely emotional response there has been to Gary passing away speaks for itself in terms of how he was valued and loved in the Bank. We shall truly miss him as a friend and colleague.

Corporate and Institutional Clients Employee Recognition and Appreciation Night 2014


I SABELLE G I RO L AM I Regional Head, Financial Markets, ASEAN

Gary was amazing, I always got the feeling he lived 3 lives at once, unlike most of us! He was passionate about work, about people. He never cared about making money for himself and was truly selfless. I feel immensely privileged having known him and worked with him and I think about him very often in a thousand little things. Take care Gary, wherever you are.


PATR I CK LEE Managing Director and Head, Corporate and Institutional Clients Singapore and Global Clients ASEAN

Gary always inspired us to stand up for ourselves and do the right thing. He did this by example and was a natural leader. Gary was the best colleague and partner.  Always supportive, never negative, bringing out the best in us all.

Corporate and Institutional Clients and Financial Markets staff appreciation event July 2014


CARO LI N E SAY Personal Assistant

“How are you today?” I would hear him asking me every morning in the office. How can one have so much energy especially when you have to ask every other person you meet (at least 20 people a day). “This is my favourite!” he would exclaim happily when we offered him snacks like a red velvet cupcake or a slice of pandan cake or a bowl of Bubur Hitam. He loved his teh-c from “Old Tea Hut” and would have it twice a day. He was always enthusiastic when we said we were going to buy 4D or try our luck at Toto. He enjoyed getting us together for birthday lunches or when colleagues were leaving the bank. He was an amazing multi-tasker, typing furiously on the keyboard and at the same time eavesdropping on our conversations. I will miss his bright beautiful cheeky smiles. Thank you Gary for all the good memories … BIG HUGS!


WEE S EN G H O N G Head Legal and Compliance Singapore

Gary, I thank God for you. I wouldn’t have started running (after more than 10 years) if not for your invitation to join the CMG Ekiden team relay race in December 2014. I will not stop here and hopefully I can complete my first marathon in the near future!

Chinese New Year Staff event 2014


SAR A Z HA N G ALM Analytics Officer

Gary left with me the impression of kindness and generosity. Whenever I think of Gary, my mind can’t get away from his ‘smile-as-sunshine’. I still remember vividly the last Friday before he was gone. I met him in the elevator and we talked about how it’s a pity that he couldn’t attend our CSR activity (with Willing Hearts) that weekend. He told me he was going to KL that weekend and asked me to say ‘Hi’ to Richard and Tony. I can’t forget that day and his smile will stay in my mind forever.

Media announcement of the Bank’s renewal of its title sponsorship of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore in April 2014

Gary has a heart of gold and the good deeds he has done for all the charities encouraged me to follow. I believe his impact will last in spite of his leaving. I can’t say how sorry I am about his leaving, but I am sure he will have peace in heaven.

Launch of the 2014 Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore in July 2014


LI N X I N Y I HR Business Partner, Financial Markets

As a leader, Gary showed many great qualities – humility, kindness, and authenticity. Gary was also passionate about people and took a real interest in talent development and coaching others. Gary always made time for people at work no matter how busy he was. We worked closely in organising various people sessions and he was such a charismatic speaker. Many were inspired hearing his personal experiences and anecdotes. Gary lived up to his personal motto: “Make a difference in everything I do�. He made a difference, in his own special way, as a well respected mentor, trusted colleague, and dear friend to many others in the Bank as well as outside the bank through his extensive community work. Silver Lining Carnival 2013

Gary lives on in our memories and holds a special place in the hearts of many, including myself.


GENE KIM Global Corporate and Northeast Asia

Gary told me a story of how he worked in HK when he ran Global ALM. He would leave office at 7 pm so that his staff will also feel free to go home. Gary will come back to office at 11 or at midnight to finish his work. Shows what a good and caring manager he was.

ALM team celebrate the relocation of HK dealing room from DVR to 2IFC Hong Kong October 2009

Standard Chartered Hong Kong 150th anniversary event


V I K AS H M I S TRY Regional Head of ALM, Asia

Gary was a friend and mentor to me. I was lucky to know and work closely with Gary over the last 8 years. When I first met Gary he made a strong impression on me, I found him to be smart, energetic, passionate about everything that he did and he had strong values. I found him great to be around and he helped me enormously at work by training me and over the years providing me with support and guidance – he has been a big part of my personal success at work. As I look around the Bank, Gary has done this for so many people, he was incredibly generous with his time and support – so many of us owe him a big thank you. I wish I got to say this more often to Gary. When I worked with Gary in Hong Kong we had some great times. He got to know my family too. My kids remember him fondly as “Dad’s cool boss with the spiky haircuts”. I recall in the office Gary worked with real intensity. He used to tell us to leave the office at around 7pm, so we did. However he used to go off and watch a movie or get some dinner then come back to the office later and worked till 1am – I caught him so many times and used to ask him to go home too. I will remember those late evenings when we used to chat about things. He was always a dreamer and words like “Dare to Dream” and “Make a Difference” were often in the conversations. Gary had a fun side too and we did get to see that. I recall on his leaving party from Hong Kong we hired a boat and cruised around for the day. We shared a lot of stories, particularly about our college days in Manchester (we were both there at the same time). In the evening we went to Karaoke. Gary was unusually shy in Karaoke but he got the biggest cheer when we made him sing “Like a Virgin” by Madonna – he was a good sport. I will truly miss my friend Gary. He was an inspiration and he did make the difference to me and my family. I will remember all the good times we had together with great fondness.

ALM HK team farewell to Gary. Boat trip to Lamma Island, and seafood lunch. Hong Kong 16 April 2011


TAN WE I LY N N Director, Infrastructure and Transportation

In the short time that I have known Gary, I have been fortunate enough to benefit from his generosity, selflessness, wisdom and advice. He will be remembered fondly.

Silver Lining Carnival 2013


AN D RE W VAUG HAN Managing Director, Head, ALM Credit (UK)

My youngest daughter, Sofia, got to know Gary well when he took over from me in Hong Kong in 2008. They used to chat through Facebook on a regular basis and bear in mind she was only 10 years old at the time. When Sofia came back to London she got into horses in a big way and Gary followed her adventures. A few years back she and her horse got down to the final five in the UK for a competition whereby the general public (as opposed to the selected Judges) vote as to who should win, based on a picture of the horse and rider. This was the first year that voting for the completion went electronic, through Facebook – you can guess where this is going! Gary obviously voted for Sofia and then he came up with an idea to help her. He put the link on his Facebook page and told all his friends to vote for her. Needless to say there was a very happy outcome for Sofia, for which both her and Gary had many laughs about.

ALM HK team farewell to Gary for his return to Singapore. Boat trip to Lamma Island and having seafood lunch Hong Kong, 16 April 2011


N G KEE W I N Head of ALM, Taiwan

In an interview with Gary, I spoke to him about the experiences that I have had. After talking for several minutes Gary stopped me and said, “So you have told me what you can do. What don’t you do? Do you go fly kites?” I sat stunned. Gary suddenly interjected “I meant real kites! In the sky!” We had a good laugh. He hired me. We shared many years of laughter since that time.

World Cup themed staff party for Financial Markets hosted by Gary, June 2014


N I CHAPAT ARK Head, Financial Markets, Thailand

I will truly miss a smart, professional and caring colleague and friend like you! Rest in peace...

WAN TH I CHA POTHAN U N Trader, Corporate & International Banking, RBS (Thailand)

Bringing home the Sing KL Games trophy September 2014

Dear Gary, thank you for all great advices, encouragements and supports. You will be missed by all of us. Rest in peace.


RO CK EU N SUK CHU N Head of Financial Markets, Deputy General Director, Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam) Ltd

Gary! I will miss your passion, kindness, integrity and positive attitude/philosophy towards work, life and people. You were a man with a ‘doing the right thing’ philosophy and you were not afraid to stand strong on your principles. I really respect that! And you did that with soft human touch, something only few people can do! Good bye and rest in peace…

Kids at work 2013


ACHAVAPH O L CHABCH I TRCHA I D O L Thai Castor Oil Industries Co. Ltd. (Thailand)

I only had a chance to know Gary Tan as an indirect boss, but his impact to me was beyond that. His coaching and advice inspired me to not only work hard, but to also be a better person along the way. He was a great role model to follow as he was someone that was not only the best at his work, but also very well-rounded in doing other things too. Gary Tan cared not only about his work, but also the world around him as well. His proverbs still resound in my head today, such as “the only constant in life is change�, and have made me understand more about work and able to apply it to the world around. He was that kind of boss where you can share your thoughts with easily, and know that you would receive good advice in return. I know that not only has he impacted me, but also ALM, Standard Chartered, and the whole world around him as well. We will miss him a lot. Leading a HR Coaching Session


AR AM S R I CH OOWO N GS E ALM Head, Thailand

Gary Tan, you are one of my BEST bosses... there are many good memories about you that I can recall. I would like to sincerely thank you for your great support and inspiration that you contributed to me. You used to be my mentor and I got lots of working tips from you... very appreciated. You will always be in my heart of memories. Rest Well, Gary


O R ATA I PRUKSAJAM ROO N Senior Manager, LM, Standard Chartered Bank (Thailand)

Pre-marathon staff brunch 2013 with Liverpoool legend John Barnes and former CEO Ray Ferguson

“Money is not everything” was the very first word of wisdom from Gary. His last was “Make a difference in everything we do”. You were definitely a great coach to me and to all of us. RIP Gary, you’ll be missed so dearly.


Y I P, H A NSEN CHI M AN Director, Global Liquidity Management Hong Kong

Gary you have said “people tend to think about give-and-take in human relations, but for me it should be give without thinking about take. The world is more colourful this way”.  Thanks for adding favours and colours to our lives.

Staff Chinese New Year Celebrations at Changi Business Park February 2014


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Celebrating Life: Gary Tan  

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Celebrating Life: Gary Tan  

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