Veteran financial official Wang Rong-jou (王榮周) took over the reins at Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控) yesterday, vowing to raise the company’s return on equity (ROE) to more than 10 percent within three years.
The 62-year-old industry veteran voiced confidence that the nation’s third-largest financial services company by market value could realize the goal, despite the fact its ROE had stood at 4.99 percent for the first six months of this year.
Wang also said that under his leadership the company would strive to raise its return on assets to 1 percent, from the current 0.53 percent, in line with goals set by newly installed Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Gordon Chen (陳樹).
With assets totaling NT$2 trillion (US$65.8 billion), Mega Financial posted a pre-tax profit of NT$5.8 billion in the first half of this year, a decline of 19 percent from the same period last year.
Former Mega Financial chairman Joseph Lyu (呂桔誠) said that profits would have hit NT$10.2 billion — a 40 percent increase from a year earlier — if the company had not lost NT$4 billion in investments linked to the US subprime mortgage crisis.
Wang, who voiced pride in his coordination and communication skills, said he believed Mega Financial could expand its business at home and abroad.
“I helped streamline Yuanta Commercial Bank [元大銀行] without causing any stir,” Wang said. “The reform successfully boosted the bank’s efficiency, although some people lost their jobs.”
Before being appointed to the helm of Mega Financial, in which the government has a 23 percent stake, Wang worked as Yuanta Bank president, vice minister of finance, investigation bureau chief and head of the national treasury agency, among other posts.
Wang said that Mega Financial was eyeing the capital market in China and the rest of the world, and that the company was in an advantageous position to expand its global footprint.
Once the government relaxes its rules, Mega Financial will seek to set up subsidiaries or branches in China,” Wang said. “I believe it is in the company’s interest to do so.”
The company has 179 branches and offices in Taiwan and 28 outlets overseas.
Wang was less clear about potential acquisition plans, saying he needed more time to evaluate whether to merge with other financial firms such as Taiwan Business Bank (台灣企銀), in which Mega Financial has a 14 percent stake.