Hubert Burda Media

All Hail Success

Back for a third consecutive year, the DBS Insignia Spirit of Vision Prestige Award remains true to its roots of recognising foresight and innovation says KOH KAR SIONG. By Low Shi Ping

The institution of banking is a 4,000-year-old concept. So just how innovative can its players be after so many centuries of existence? It’s difficult to imagine that anything newfangled can make an appearance but it has.
As recent as 2011, DBS Bank was able to identify a niche in wealth management and create a new service to offer this group of clients. Called Treasures Private Client (TPC), it is targeted at those who have between $1.5 million and $5 million of investable assets, who were previously under-served on the priority banking platform. This effectively addresses the gap between priority and private banking and provides a more complete service offering in the wealth continuum.
Helming the division under which TPC falls is Koh Kar Siong, managing director & regional head of DBS Treasures & Treasures Private Client. “From customer feedback, our own analysis and other entrepreneurs who were looking for opportunities, we identified this white space,” he explains.
Tapping on the expertise of the priority and private banking team, DBS is able to help TPC customers create and grow their money, and hopefully accumulate enough to move into the next wealth management tier of private banking.
It is this constant pursuit of the qualities of foresight, innovation and courage that underline the values of DBS — something it tries to do in every aspect of its business. No surprise then that the bank is, for the third year in a row, sponsoring the DBS Insignia Spirit of Vision Prestige Award.
Its name is another recognition of the bank’s inclination towards creativity. Insignia is a credit card with a million dollar limit — the first among those offered in Singapore — that is only extended to individuals who have achieved a certain status and recognition in life from their financial and corporate achievements.
Launched in 2011, the DBS Insignia Spirit of Vision Prestige Award is given out at the annual Prestige Ball, and mirrors the DBS Insignia brand values which honour an individual whose life’s achievements have had a positive impact.
“Whether it is through doing good for the community or using an innovative insight to bring the business to the next level, that’s what we are celebrating with the award,” elaborates Koh.
If you’re trying to liken it to other entrepreneurial accolades in the market, don’t. Koh points out that there is no direct comparison since Spirit of Vision is judged using very different criteria: “We don’t purely look at a single element of profit and loss, or your balance sheet, or how old or young you are. We put more emphasis on how able you are to find change.”
That could come in the form of occupying a space no one has dared to enter and making it successful, or bringing a company or idea to the world stage; another example could be the ability to take an existing business and transform it into something new that will impress.
Koh cites the first two winners as examples: “What’s so great about a food channel? Everybody has one. But Hian Goh created something valuable — an Asian food channel. Tan Min-Liang owned a company (Razer) that supported the gaming industry in Silicon Valley. Many do that as well. Instead, Min-Liang saw and moved into a space not many people dared to touch (growing a gaming peripheral business from scratch).”
Clearly, selecting a winner is no mean feat. Koh says the hard facts need to be set aside with a focus on the softer, intangible ones: “We look at the difficulties and challenges that each individual had to embrace before they blossomed and created a positive impact. The deciding factor will ultimately be based on how difficult a path the individual has travelled.”
So does the award have any scope for expansion? Tough as it sounds, Koh certainly thinks so. “We can maybe split the award into different categories and recognise more than one individual. Within each category, we can have more specific criteria and this will keep Spirit of Vision fresh as we enter into subsequent years of sponsorship.”