Lester Ngoh

Lester has made his mark as a trail blazer, being the pioneer batch of Management Associates (MA) in SGX. He saw an opportunity, took hold of it and has not looked back.

Although he received offers from various organisations, nothing really caught his eye. But when one of his professors spoke to him about SGX's newly designed MA programme, something clicked.

“My professor shared that one thing was for sure.
When the top management designed this programme,
they were serious about grooming and cultivating young talent
to be the next management group in SGX.”

Lester started his stint as a Management Associate in the Office of the CEO. His interaction with the CEO showed him how leaders draw relationships with seemingly unconnected ideas. It was not just about accomplishing a target and doing well, but to realise what other areas can be developed alongside it, such that the end result would be further enhanced.

“The MA programme constantly expects one to possess mental agility to think both vertically and laterally,
from different aspects, down to every single detail.”

When he moved into the Product Development Unit, Lester worked closely with the Head of Products and Services. There, he gained an operational perspective of what was happening in the marketplace.

In the Business Analysis unit, Lester learnt more of the systems behind the derivatives products, which gave him the know-how to launch a product successfully. Lester's last rotation in Operations (Market Control) has provided him a comprehensive understanding of the entire product launch.

Through this, he knew precisely how much time it would take to complete each task, helping him to manage projects with greater efficiency and control. As an integrated Exchange, the running of any project will inevitably impact or involve different departments. The advantage of the MA programme, he quipped, was being able to gain a bird's eye view of the different aspects of the revenue generating Business Units.

“The biggest benefit about the programme is that management takes a personal interest in your development.
SGX values talent and development and gives you challenging work opportunities that can make a difference
in the organisation. You are given the opportunity to shine and you must prove yourself.
So the question is, are you a risk taker?”

Upon completing the MA programme, Lester returned to the Product Development Unit to develop and nurture new products. He introduced new products in the SGX securities and derivatives market, across asset classes such as equities and fixed income, and over a variety of instruments such as futures, options, exchange traded funds and exchange traded notes. In addition, the team was constantly involved in projects that reviewed and enhanced SGX's market structure so as to better address the needs of customers.

“The MA programme is designed to enhance an individual's strengths by training up his or her ability
to think and react quickly in different scenarios and being able to anticipate and mediate problems.
This greatly increases the efficiency of your work.”

After five years in SGX, Lester has returned to the CEO's office once again, this time as a senior staff assistant to the CEO. His efforts and achievements have certainly been recognised. Although he knows that he has high expectations to meet, Lester is ever ready to take challenges with the fighting spirit he inspires.

Keys to success

Lester When asked to share some words of wisdom, Lester encourages potential MAs to grab opportunities and challenges as they come.

“Don't be afraid of failure. Crave for success.”

Keep reading up, asking questions and be adaptable. Knowing yourself, your risk appetite and what environment suits you, would go a long way in your development.