Zafrul Aziz: Planned transformation
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Zafrul Aziz: Planned transformation

As part of Euromoney's 50th anniversary coverage, we profile some of the biggest names that we interviewed for our May Asia focus.

When Zafrul Aziz became chief executive of CIMB in 2014 he embarked upon a transformation plan called T18, or Target 2018. Although CIMB was at the time the fourth or fifth largest bank in southeast Asia, it was not among the leaders in terms of profitability, return on equity, cost-to-income ratio or capital.

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Zafrul Aziz, CIMB

“We were down there because we were in expansionary mode,” Zafrul says. “We did a lot of mergers and acquisitions to grow to where we are, but along the way markets turned against us and the investment banking franchise was affected.”

Hence the focus on reducing costs (the cost-to-income ratio stood at 59% when the strategy started, the highest among the 12 banks CIMB considered to be a peer group) and the capital adequacy ratio, which had been as low as 8%.

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