9440
Good things recommended uncategorized

也無風雨也無晴 Come Rain or Come Shine

发布日期:2022-05-24 15:32
也無風雨也無晴
關百豪風浪中見智慧
關百豪,時富集團董事長兼行政總裁,旗下除了財富管理及金融投資業務,還有家喻戶曉的Pricerite實惠。手持兩家上市公司的他,自言是真正「手空空無一物」的草根出身。父親經營一間山寨廠,前舖後居,用作裁剪皮革的裁床,晚上擦一擦就成為關百豪的睡床,曾在睡覺時被老鼠咬耳朵嚇醒。小學二年級起,他上午上學,下午回家幫忙剪線頭、包裝、搬貨,一直到晚上九點以後才能溫習和做功課。
「我自小體驗勞力工作,知道有多辛苦,所以下定決心要讀大學,改變命運。」
小學年年考第一的他,到了中學因好動貪玩,成績只屬中等。而令他急起直追,最終考上大學的,是他當年想追的女孩、如今的妻子的一句話:「等你考上大學再來追我吧!」
「所以人想要有成就,一定要有驅動力。」他半開玩笑道。
1984年,香港經濟低迷,其他同學都在擔心一畢業就失業,而關百豪面試則一擊即中,成為班上最早找到工作的,而且是當年全球第四大銀行日本三和銀行。口說自己「有點仕途運」、實則凡事做足準備功夫的他之後加盟過幾家銀行,短短數年間,已成為全亞洲最年輕的第一副總裁。
關百豪的英文名Bankee和銀行家Banker只有一個字母之差,筆者冒昧一問,是否從事銀行之後才起的?怎料又是和他愛妻有關。唸中三時,當時的女同學、亦即現時的太太嫌他自己選的英文名不好聽。他當時很喜歡米高積遜的歌《Ben》,便以此為靈感,加上那年代流行的Winky、Franky等名字的尾音,變成Bankee。「所以一切就如命中註定,自己後來真的做了銀行。」
在美國運通銀行晉升到香港分行的信貸部主管兼高級總監時,關百豪才三十二歲,手下管着來自世界各地的精英。正當他在職場扶搖直上,總部也有意將他列為香港區總裁人選,準備調他到紐約培訓兩年之際,骨子裏並不安於捧金飯碗的關百豪猶豫了。自己是否打算一輩子待在舒適圈裏養尊處優?還是趁年輕多嘗試?連番心理交戰後,他遞了辭職信。
順着九七前的移民潮,他到加拿大短暫生活了個多月,但外向愛熱鬧的他耐不住異鄉的孤苦寂寞,便急急回到香港,給上市公司當起顧問,負責企業重組及管理。1998年,亞洲金融風暴吹得正烈,他果斷收購了瀕臨破產的時富證券,正式開展創業生涯。
創業路由金融風暴標記開端,接着在2001年,科網股泡沫爆破疊加九一一襲擊雙重影響下,他收購虧損中的實惠傢居廣場,不久爆發2003年沙士,零售行業陷入寒冬。2008年時富金融由創業板轉往主板上市,又遇上雷曼事件觸發全球金融海嘯。到後來的2012年歐債危機,再到最近的新冠疫症,創業每一步都充滿驚濤駭浪,但每次都化險為夷,關百豪透露,秘訣在於堅守公司的財政健康。
「過度借貸只能風光一時,而且埋下計時炸彈。譬如這次疫情,如果你的生意靠銀行借貸度日,現金流不足,那必定出現經營困難,甚至倒閉。做生意講求韌力,在風調雨順的日子好好管理財務風險,持盈保泰,預留足夠實力來應付突發危機,才是致勝關鍵。」
另一秘訣是,即使大難將至,也要臨危不亂。「我處理問題的準則是抱持平常心,不大喜不大悲,即使遇到特大挫折,還是謹記,樂天知命。順應生命中的變化,然後調適自己的心態、生活步伐、工作態度,以此來配合大時代發展的需要,跟着社會進步。」
創業維艱,歷經波折不足為奇,但關百豪除了備嘗市場的震蕩,還親歷南亞海嘯,令他對人生有深刻反思。若非有三個偶然,他和家人恐怕未能倖免於難。
他們原先打算入住靠近海邊的一間酒店,但由於聖誕旺季,酒店爆滿,只好改住另一間。當海嘯以排山倒海之勢撲向岸邊時,最先遭殃的正是海邊的酒店。
由於航班誤點,他和家人晚了到達酒店,職員把他們的房間由直通泳池與海灘的一樓,調到三樓。「如果我當時堅持要住一樓,第二天就會被大浪捲走,今天就不會在這跟你聊天了。
「所以人真的別太執着眼前的錙銖小利,耿耿於懷得與失。人有限的智慧並不能超越命運的安排。」
他本來約好同行友人第二天到酒店一樓的餐廳吃早餐,但由於疲困交加,睡過頭了。當海嘯發生時,他和家人還在三樓客房,從而躲過這場奪去三十萬人命的世紀大災難。
「我一向把家庭放在首位,但劫後餘生令我更加珍惜眼前人,享受當下。因為不知道下一刻會發生甚麼,奪走甚麼。
「世界永遠在變,不在你掌握之內,一定要學會用平靜的心對待。而要令自己立於不敗之地,唯有自強不息,活到老學到老。我經常想,如果哪天能放下生意,我希望回到大學校園讀歷史,知古可以鑑今。」
經歷過比喻和真實意義的海嘯,令關百豪深切體悟到「變幻原是永恆」。「人一定要有憂患意識,做好風險管理,更要時刻裝備好自己,為自己創造迎接機會的條件,當機會來臨時便好好把握,因為機會只留給有準備的人」。
他寄語年輕人:「走出去,才知天下事。身處香港這個國際大都會,要多看、多聽,才能認清自己,認懂世界;主動多做、多學、多問,打穩基礎,未來定必一飛沖天。」


Come Rain or Come Shine

How Bankee Kwan grows in wisdom through storms and crises

Bankee Kwan is the Chairman and CEO of Celestial Asia Securities Holdings Limited, or CASH, the conglomerate well-known for its wealth management and investment businesses, as well as for the household name of home improvement retailer, Pricerite. Owner of two listed companies, Bankee told us he was born to a grassroots family, ‘empty-handed, and with nothing.’
His father ran a handbag-making cottage industry. As was common for most cottage industries, the shop is at the front and the living quarter is at the back. At night, the leather cutting bench became Bankee’s bed after some casual sweeping. The young Bankee was once awakened horrified by a rat biting his ear. Since Primary Two, he went to school in the morning and returned home in the afternoon to help with such factory chores as thread trimming, packaging and moving goods until nine o’clock in the evening, when he could finally sit down to study and finish his homework.
‘Having tasted the bitterness of manual work when I was a child, I was determined to study at university as knowledge changes destiny,’ Bankee recalled. 
While coming first in class every year at primary school, the playful and energetic teenager did not care much about his secondary schoolwork and was only an average performer at first. What motivated him to catch up and finally won him the opportunity to enter university was a comment by his crush back then, who is now his beloved wife, ‘Come to me only when you get a place at university!’
‘That’s why one needs some driving force to achieve goals,’ Bankee concluded half-jokingly.
In 1984, Hong Kong was undergoing an economic downtown. While most of his peers worried that graduation meant unemployment, Bankee aced his very first interview and became the first one in class to land a job. And this was no ordinary offer, but one from the world’s fourth largest bank at that time, the Sanwa Bank Limited of Japan. Although he claims to be blessed with ‘a bit of career luck’, the truth is he always prepares well for everything. He worked for several banks afterwards. In just a few years, he became the youngest first vice president in Asia.
Interestingly, his English name ‘Bankee’ and the word ‘Banker’ differ by only one letter, which makes one wonder whether he got this name after entering the banking industry. Bankee surprised us with another remark about his dear wife. In Secondary Three, he gave himself an English name, one that his female classmate, now his wife, thought was no good. Inspired by one of his then favourite songs by Michael Jackson, Ben, and the names popular in those days like Winky and Franky, he gave ‘Ben’ a slight twist and added an ending sound to it. Voilà, Bankee! ‘Everything is written in the stars. I really went on to become a banker.’
At the age of 32, Bankee was promoted to chief lending officer and senior director of American Express Hong Kong, where he supervised elites from all around the world. Climbing fast up the corporate ladder, Bankee was considered by the headquarters as a successor to the chief executive post of the Hong Kong branch. They were ready to send him to New York for a two-year training. That was when he started to hesitate, as he knew deep down he did not want to settle for steadiness. Should I stay in the comfort zone forever and enjoy an easy life? Or should I make more new attempts when I am still young? After much inner struggle, he resigned.
During the pre-1997 emigration wave, Bankee moved to Canada for a month and a half. The extrovert could not but feel desolate under the foreign sky. He hurried back to his hometown Hong Kong and became a consultant to advise listed companies on corporate restructuring and management. In 1998, when Asia was seriously gripped by the financial crisis, Bankee took the resolute action of acquiring Celestial Asia Securities at the verge of its bankruptcy, and embarked on his journey as an entrepreneur.
The financial crisis marked the beginning of his road to entrepreneurship. What followed was the double blow of the bursting of the dot-com bubble and the 9/11 attacks in 2001, when Bankee acquired the money-losing Pricerite Home. Shortly after came the SARS outbreak in 2003, which sent the retail industry into a deep freeze. Then in 2008, when CASH Financial Services Group migrated from Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) board listing to Main Board listing, the collapse of Lehman Brothers unfortunately triggered the global financial tsunami. Later, there was the European debt crisis in 2012 and then the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Since the very start, Bankee has been sailing across the stormy seas of running a business. And yet, he has always been able to brave all weathers. His secret: steadfast devotion to keeping the company financially healthy.
‘Over-borrowing flushes you with only a transient moment of glory and plants time bombs. Take the coronavirus outbreak as an example. A company that lives merely on bank loans without a sufficient cash flow is doomed to face difficulties in operation or even to close down. Running a business is all about tenacity. Manage your financial risks well on fair weather days to maintain stable and sustainable growth. Spare adequate fiscal strength to cope with emergencies and crises. This is the ultimate success factor.’
Another recipe for success is to stay calm regardless of any foreboding outlooks. ‘I handle all situations with calmness at heart. I never get too happy nor too sad. Even in times of major setbacks, I remind myself to feel content and go with the flow. Responding to changes in life, I adjust my mindset, my pace and my attitude to cater for the latest development needs and make progress with society.’
It is not surprising that obstacles await business starters along their road to success. For Bankee, not only did he go through a bumpy ride in the business market, but he also actually encountered the Indian Ocean tsunami. The narrow escape put him into deep thoughts about life. If it had not been for three coincidences, he and his family would have fallen victims to the catastrophe.
They had planned to stay at a seaside hotel that Christmas. As it was peak season, the hotel was fully booked. They had to stay at another one instead. When the massive tsunami hit the shore, the hotels along the coast were the immediate targets of the scourge.
Due to a flight delay, Bankee and his family arrived at the hotel late. Instead of checking into the room on the first floor they had originally reserved, one that leads directly to the swimming pool and the beach, they were allocated a room on the third floor. ‘If I had insisted on staying on the first floor, we would have been washed away by the waves the next day. I would not have been able to talk to you right now.
‘So don’t care too much about small benefits and brood about gains and losses. With our limited wisdom, human beings can never take control over destiny.’
Bankee was supposed to have breakfast with some friends he travelled with on the second day of his trip at the restaurant on the first floor. He was exhausted the night before and so he overslept. When the tsunami struck, he was still in his room on the third floor with his family, narrowly escaping the calamity that took 300,000 lives.
‘To me, family always comes first. My experience of surviving the disaster has taught me to further cherish my loved ones and seize the day, for I can never tell what the future holds and what will be taken away from me.
‘The world is ever changing and out of our hands, and we therefore have to learn to treat the changes with a tranquil heart. All we have to do in order to keep ourselves ahead of the game is to always strive for improvement and never stop learning. I always wish to go back to university to study history one day when I retire, as one can learn from the past to know the present.’
Coming through tsunamis both figuratively and literally, Bankee understood deeply that ‘change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.’ ‘We must be aware of potential crises and manage risks well. Keep equipping ourselves with qualities that help us embrace opportunities. Seize any opportunity that comes to you, as chance only favours the prepared.’
He went on to offer his word of advice to young people: ‘You will never know what is going on in the world unless you go out and see it. In this cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong, see more and listen more to understand yourselves and the world. Take the initiative to do more, learn more and ask more. Strengthen your foundation, and someday, you will soar.’
分享到:
Follow us
latest articles
Article search
Good things recommended
3-1
3-3
2-7
2-5
1-16
1-12
1-14
2-4
1-5
1-11
15
1-9