2 Key Insights from Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Limited’s Chief Executive Officer

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Limited (SGX: O39) is one of the three major banks in Singapore and also counts itself as the oldest bank in the Garden City.

The bank has operations in 15 countries and counts the S$9.4 billion insurer Great Eastern Holding Limited  (SGX: G07) as one of its subsidiaries.

Given OCBC’s long history and heft, there may be interesting things to learn from it.

Recently, Samuel Tsien, the bank’s chief executive officer (CEO), was featured in an interview series by bourse operator Singapore Exchange Limited  (SGX: S68). I had picked out two key insights from the interview that may be useful for investors.

1. Tolerance towards mistakes 

“I would go beyond encouraging people to learn from their mistakes. I would rather put it this way – be more tolerant of mistakes, from yourself as well as others. In this respect, we as a nation can do more to cultivate such a mindset.”

Tsien believes in tolerance towards mistakes. He believes that this attitude may cultivate an environment which encourages innovation and creativity. The future progress of OCBC may rest on the innovative spirit and ingenuity of its employees.

2. Managing uncertainty

“Any acquisition will have uncertainties, as they did in the Wing Hang case [OCBC had acquired Hong Kong-based Wing Hang in late 2014]. You cannot foresee or plan for all the issues that may arise, but you must have the confidence and determination to address, and deal with them, as they come up.”

Tsien sees two major ingredients in managing uncertainty, namely, self-confidence and the determination to resolve issues. The uncertainties may not be in his control, but his own attitude in dealing with the uncertainties may be the key in obtaining favourable results ultimately.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.