After twenty years of running cash-management businesses, Yvonne Yiu this summer took on the role of head of global liquidity and cash management for Hong Kong at HSBC.
“I previously ran the international markets in Asia, and now I’m running our biggest market,” Yiu said.
That puts this banker in charge of some of HSBC’s most important digital initiatives, including developing the business under the city’s new Faster Payments scheme, as well as overseeing HSBC’s PayMe mobile payments app, which now has over 1 million users.
“Are we going to just be a conventional player in cash management?” she asked. “Or are we going to be progressive, learn, and differentiate?”
She answered her own question. “Standalone, no bank can survive over the long term, so we are reaching out to fintechs and learning how to collaborate and create value.”
Yiu declined to comment on the bank’s approach to Hong Kong’s new virtual banking licenses, but says it has become a much more customer-centric place. “We need to cater to clients’ need to transact and settle with speed and convenience,” she said.
Yiu, a native Hongkonger, began her career in sales, where she interacted with corporate treasurers and learned how they managed working capital. She then moved to product development, helping HSBC scale up in the cash business – an experience that exposed her to I.T. “It was stressful because I didn’t know the tech, but I knew the clients.”
From there she jumped to the finance office, and then ran regional markets, helping central banks and other regulators drive innovation in their own payment systems. Now she’s at the forefront of the biggest payments battle yet – in her hometown.