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Singapore banks navigate face-to-face landmark

The full-year results of DBS, OCBC and UOB marked the first time in a year the Singaporean banks had attempted to give any kind of media briefing face-to-face.

OCBC’s CEO-elect Helen Wong is livestreamed into a press conference despite being in the venue

Singapore has weathered the pandemic exceptionally well, but has done so through its customary fastidiousness with regard to any kind of rule.

The three domestic banks’ logistics teams had to navigate some complex restrictions to make the in-person briefing happen.

Mostly this was straightforward enough, if occasionally quirky. UOB and DBS opted to give every journalist an individual sanitized microphone; OCBC spread us out across a cavernous top-floor hall to keep social distancing intact, and we were allowed coffee provided we didn’t attempt to move.

OCBC's press conference

Everyone wore masks throughout, leading to some muffled questions about non-performing asset formation.

The oddest situation was around OCBC’s CEO-elect Helen Wong, who had just returned from a business trip to Hong Kong, in one of the rare examples of regional travel permitted for high-rolling executives without requiring them to do full quarantine.

Instead, Wong is simply restricted in the number of people she can be around for a couple of weeks, which led to her being livestreamed into a press conference she was actually present at, just behind a wall.


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