Former deputy minister of finance Wu Tang-chieh (吳當傑) yesterday took over as chairman of state-run Hua Nan Financial Holding Co (華南金控), saying he would underscore risk control and legal compliance so the conglomerate can become a top-five player in Taiwan.
Wu, who was appointed as state-owned Land Bank of Taiwan’s (土地銀行) chairman one week after the change in governments on May 20, filled the vacancy left by Shiu Kuang-si (徐光曦).
Shiu was appointed to the helm of Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控) on Aug. 16, but stepped down two weeks later to take responsibility for a failure of compliance by Mega International Commercial Bank’s (兆豐銀行) New York branch that led the New York State Department of Financial Services to impose a fine of US$180 million.
“Corporate governance is my focus and strength after more than three decades of government service in related fields,” Wu said at a handover ceremony.
Wu held several positions at the Ministry of Finance and Financial Supervisory Commission after passing civil servant examinations. He has a bachelor’s degree in taxation and a master’s degree in finance.
The cost of compliance negligence is heavy — as seen in the Mega Bank incident — and Hua Nan Financial will make sure its overseas operations meet the requirements of all local governments, Wu said, adding that retaining foreign legal counsel is expensive.
Wu said he would stand by his predecessor’s ambition to raise Hua Nan’s profit ranking from sixth.
The goal is achievable now that Mega Financial, the most profitable state-run financial service provider, is caught up in judicial and regulatory probes into breaches of money-laundering rules, as well as a management reshuffle.
Under his stewardship, Hua Nan will also support government policies, such as an attempt to help companies upgrade, innovate and reach out to export markets other than China, Wu said.
Main subsidiary Hua Nan Commercial Bank (華南銀行) is recruiting 290 management associates for the rest of this year to bolster its wealth-management business and groom young talent for managerial positions, Hua Nan board director Tommy Lin (林知延) said.
The lender recently issued a joint credit card with Dream Mall (夢時代購物中心), a multifunction shopping complex in Kaohsiung, in the hope of increasing customers in the city, Lin said.
In addition, Hua Nan Bank is to open a branch in Manila by the end of this year to serve Taiwanese firms and their suppliers in the emerging market, Lin said.
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