Ali Setiawan

The Jet Setter

Ali Setiawan, HSBC’s Head of Global Markets Indonesia, talks to Asia Dreams about the firm’s keys to success as well as what makes HSBC a leader in the industry


ASIA DREAMS: As the Managing Director, Head of Global Markets Indonesia of HSBC, what does a typical working day look like for you?

Mr Setiawan: It’s usually quite a hectic and dynamic working day for me as dealing with financial markets means starting early and always being mindful of any volatile movements in the market. Internally, there are also a lot of controls and monitoring that need attention to ensure a solid business operation.

ASIA DREAMS: HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial service institutions in the world. In your opinion, what has been the key to its success?

Mr Setiawan: Persistency and a strong focus on key growth markets. In addition, HSBC has been successful in building their commercial banking operation.

ASIA DREAMS: HSBC is a renowned corporate banking & business services provider. In your opinion, what makes HSBC so attractive to business customers?

Mr Setiawan: International connectivity, product capabilities and a strong knowledge of local markets.

ASIA DREAMS: HSBC Premier’s message is “We focus on the most important economy in the world – yours.” What differentiates this service to those provided by other financial institutions?

Mr Setiawan: We focus on a “client needs” approach and so we provide the best solutions to fulfill our clients’ financial goals. It’s not just about offering a range of products which might not be applicable to our clients.

ASIA DREAMS: Currently, Indonesia is ranked as the world’s 10th largest economy, contributing 2.3% of the world’s economic output. How do you foresee the future growth of Indonesia and what obstacles, if any, may inhibit further growth?

Mr Setiawan: Indonesia definitely has the potential to grow further. It’s a very big market and opportunities are still there. Even in financial sectors, the coverage as a percentage of the total population is still quite low compared to regional markets. Heading to the ASEAN free trade in 2015, Indonesia needs to be competitive enough in order to deal head-to-head with regional countries.

ASIA DREAMS: As an accomplished businessman yourself, what does it take to reach the top of your career ladder?

Mr Setiawan: Integrity, persistence and being a good listener.

ASIA DREAMS: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your journey to success?

Mr Setiawan: I have to stay being responsible for what you are supposed to do and accomplish that task with full effort, resulting in the respect of fellow colleagues.

ASIA DREAMS: And how about the most challenging?

Mr Setiawan: The most challenging is of course, adjusting and coping with so many changes either from internal or external factors.

ASIA DREAMS: You travel the world for important business trips. Which country is your favourite to visit and why?

Mr Setiawan: London as it’s a city where you can enjoy both modern and heritage aspects from either architecture or culture.

ASIA DREAMS: So what makes a great business destination for you?

Mr Setiawan: Well, for me, trying many of the local food delicacies is a great experience when on a business trip.

ASIA DREAMS: And finally, any recommendations for your favourite business hotels in Asia?

Mr Setiawan: Shangri La in Pacific Place, Hong Kong because the location is perfect. The hotel is attached to a mall with subway access as well. It’s very convenient indeed.