Synpulse Hong Kong Alumnus, Sin Ki Ip, was known amongst his Synpulse Hong Kong colleagues for his penchant for carrying a book whenever he commutes. In his chat with us, Sin Ki spoke about what he’s been up to and how he’s shaping the banking industry.
Digitalisation and digital transformation have always been top priority of financial services organisations worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the importance for banks to digitise and innovate.
As a person responsible for shaping the innovations of one of Asia’s leading banks, Synpulse Alumnus Sin Ki Ip leads the Business Innovation and FinTech department at the Bank of East Asia (BEA), where he develops strategic roadmaps and materialises each milestone in open banking.
With open banking emerging as a key topic in fintech development in Asia, and with new focus and enforcements from the regulator Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Sin Ki predicts that the Hong Kong market can expect to see the beginning of a new era of banking from as early as 2022. “This is the time for any banks, including virtual banks or even non-banking financial institutes, to turn the tables and gain leading positions,” he shared.
Sin Ki envisions that customers will soon enjoy tailor-made products and services from both their banks and day-to-day app providers. “With the emergence of the data sharing economy and 5G establishment, one might say that our imagination needs to catch up with the available technology,” Sin Ki added.
Sin Ki was one of the early members of the Synpulse Hong Kong office when he joined in 2017. Although he was no stranger to the banking industry before joining Synpulse, he was attracted by the warmth and friendliness of the Synpulse representatives he spoke with during his interviews, as well as the direction the company was going in.
During his time at Synpulse, Sin Ki greatly appreciated the international work environment and flat hierarchy that made it easy for him to catch up with even the Partners. And while his time at Synpulse has left him with many fond memories, it was the people of Synpulse that made his time at Synpulse unforgettable.
The memory of the individual coffee sessions he had with the colleagues he met during his time at Synpulse especially holds a special place in his heart. “The people at Synpulse have a good heart, and it’s not something you can find everywhere in this industry,” Sin Ki shared.
It was these factors that made the decision to move from consultancy to business a difficult one for him. Sin Ki said that he “was at a crossroad”.
At the time, he had only been given the chance to start a new Synpulse project that would have taken him to Melbourne, Australia for several months. It was an opportunity that appealed to his interest in living abroad. However, at the same time, his friend had approached him with the idea of setting up a new department to lead the topic of open banking at BEA, which appealed more to his inner entrepreneur and desire to build an in-depth knowledge in a specific topic.
While he now enjoys his role as the Business Innovation and FinTech Department Manager, Sin Ki occasionally still thinks about what could have been had he accepted the project in Melbourne. He joked: “Sometimes I imagine myself strolling on a beach and enjoying the Australian laidback lifestyle and the perks of living abroad. It definitely wasn’t an easy decision.”
Moving to a new role was not without changes. At Synpulse, Sin Ki was given the freedom to choose topics of his interests, but at his new role, he had to build his focus on a single topic. The transition to a specialised role meant that he had to go from knowing a little about a lot to knowing a lot about a little.
But his experience at Synpulse had made him ready for that change. “My experience at Synpulse gave me tremendous confidence. From project exposures, trainings, and annual offsites to senior stakeholder management, it all gave me the opportunity to develop my professional skills,” he shared.
Sin Ki also credits his time as a consultant for making him an adaptable and agile individual. COVID-19 has drastically reshaped the way we live, work, and connect with the people around us, and he believes that his consulting background has left him prepared for the challenges that was thrown his way.
As a leader, Sin Ki believes that in the new normal, it is essential to ensure that everyone in the team is cared for and trusted. He added, “Maintaining direct, individual acknowledgement, and encouragement is also an important element to keep the team motivated.”
Like many others in Hong Kong during the pandemic, Sin Ki finds himself enjoying the rich nature of hiking in his spare time. He has even bumped into some of his former Synpulse colleagues during his hiking journeys. And during the summer of 2020, he added his first real estate to his portfolio.
Currently, Sin Ki is devoting his time to an online course that teaches the systematic ways of building a startup company, which he describes as fun and enjoyable, as many of the models taught during the course reminded him of the problem-solving approaches he learned during his time as a consultant.
Have a query? Reach out to the Synpulse APAC Alumni Team here.