Introducing our latest interview in the #MoneyMatchSpotlight series! Today, we turn our attention to the heart of our organization—Operations. In this feature, we sat down with our esteemed COO, Haddy Rohan Zulkifli, a qualified Chartered Accountant . Haddy brings a wealth and breadth of experience to MoneyMatch’s core management team. His previous exposure range across industries such as financial services to oil and gas. Haddy also held various roles from startups to Fortune 500 multi-national conglomerates!
The Trifecta Leader
Hi Haddy! As the COO, you play a critical role in overseeing the company’s operations. Can you provide an overview of your responsibilities and how you ensure efficient day-to-day operations?
My responsibilities basically lend themselves to the smooth running of the business, specifically our core cross-border payments product. I also lend my expertise to other projects and products on an ad-hoc basis where required. Ensuring efficient operations is largely down to process enhancement, optimization, and employee empowerment. I establish clear authority limits and keep constant communication lines open between the working level and decision makers.
What are the departments that you lead? How do you promote cross-functional collaboration and smooth information flow across different departments?
The departments I lead include:
- Treasury Operations: Middle and back office processing functions.
- Communications: Client servicing and support.
- Partnerships: Growing MoneyMatch’s global payout network and capabilities.
Ultimately, for everything to run smoothly, I simply ensure that everyone talks to each other constantly. We hold cross-departmental meetings weekly or bi-weekly so that pertinent issues can be escalated, feedback can be actioned upon, and progress can be shared. It used to be simpler when the company was smaller, but now that it’s grown quite a bit, these touchpoints are very important to ensure everyone is aligned and no silos develop.
Overseeing Treasury Operations, can you explain the key components of your treasury management strategy? How does it align with the company’s financial goals?
Despite MoneyMatch’s growth in size and complexity, the goals are still the same: efficient, prompt settlement of positions and minimizing foreign exchange risk. The industry is ultra-competitive with extremely thin margins, hence efficiency is the name of the game. It determines whether we make a profit or a loss on any particular transaction. As the company grow, more tools have been made available for us to further optimize our treasury management. Now, we find opportunities to make money where perhaps previously it was minimal or non-existent.
Optimization Tools & Risk Mitigation
In an increasingly globalized business landscape, cross-border transactions and foreign exchange management are crucial. What tools do you employ to optimize foreign exchange operations and minimize associated costs?
In this rather niche market, there are no off-the-shelf tools that we can use to optimize our ever-evolving operations. Hence, a lot of our tools are built in-house with the help of our Engineering and Data Science colleagues. Ultimately though, the initial calculations and mathematical proofs are derived from the collective experience of the Treasury Operations department. Additionally, counter-intuitively, as the company grows to be more complex, there are many complementary benefits and opportunities afforded by scale. This opens up new avenues for us to minimize costs, such as better bargaining power with our banks and partners due to the sheer size of our aggregated flows.
Risk management is an important aspect of any business. Can you discuss your approach to mitigating risks, and how you balance risk-taking with the need for stability and growth?
Given our humble scrappy beginnings, risk mitigation has always been part of our DNA and that endures despite our continued success. The founders both come from a banking background, and I myself am fairly well-versed in financial services and large corporate machinations, so we’ve always put into place structures which serve to minimize risk and have multiple levels of mitigating controls. However, we are not adverse to changes and are constantly reviewing our position as our situation changes. As we become more successful and have access to more resources, we find ourselves evolving our approach to become less conservative whilst still adhering to industry best practices.
The Positive Impact of Partnerships
Partnerships are often instrumental in driving business growth and expanding market reach. How do you identify and evaluate potential partnership opportunities that align with the company’s strategic objectives?
We approach partnerships based on demand and not simply to be the player with a large reach. A significant example of our network expansions in the past two years is the result of requests from our Enterprise partners. Ultimately, all we are doing is aligning our capabilities with the demands of our customers. There are also other non-network-specific partnerships which are more complex and more akin to special projects. Those require multiple departments’ involvement and again, the overriding factor is that they must provide a commercial or strategic benefit to MoneyMatch.
Collaboration with financial institutions and fintech companies can be vital in enhancing Treasury Operations. Can you share some examples of successful partnerships you have formed in the financial services space and how they have positively impacted the company?
I would be remiss not to mention one of our most successful partnerships with a global, China-based social media and e-commerce juggernaut that we managed to convince to use our services in Malaysia over many other larger, more established players in the region. This was only possible with the tireless efforts of the various MoneyMatch stakeholders to deliver the very demanding requirements set by this partner in a very tight timeframe. Nevertheless, we managed to do it and this partner spurred us to make many system and infrastructure improvements in order to service their needs, which indirectly improved the service delivery for all our other customers. Subsequently, the capabilities that we developed to service this partner became a competitive advantage that we used to win even more business from other partners in the region, and it continues to bring dividends operationally as well.
Digital Solutions Opens Up Future Opportunities
In today’s digital age, technology plays a significant role in driving business operations. How do you leverage technology and digital solutions to enhance operational efficiency and create a competitive advantage?
I would say that MoneyMatch is at its core, very technologically driven. We always seek for ways to apply the latest technologies and make every aspect of our business efficient. We actively develop all of our tech in-house, positioning us uniquely with intimate knowledge of our systems. Moreover, our ever-expanding connection to other financial institutions and fintechs globally, exposes us to the best practices in the industry. All this leads to an advantage that trickles down to our customers and partners which they appreciate and acknowledge. The work is never done. As the adage goes, “if you are standing still, you are falling behind“. So we always aspire to run at full speed ahead!
Looking to the future, what are some of the key opportunities and challenges you foresee for MoneyMatch’s operations? How do you plan to capitalize on the opportunities and address the challenges?
One of the main opportunities is to take advantage of our in-house Treasury inventory management platform. This arrives at a time when our operations have been getting immensely more complex and this tool will aid greatly in identifying trends and suggesting the most profitable courses of action to the team. Upon validation, we will apply our existing robotic process automation and straight-through processing capabilities to the suggestions output by the system. This will help free up the team to address other strategic and value-adding tasks.
In terms of challenges, as our systems get even more complex, the risk of system failure or misbehavior could lead to financial losses. Although it frees up the team from a lot of manual work, it places a lot more emphasis on their involvement in the design, planning, implementation and monitoring stages of the system. As well as continuous improvement as the company grows. I see this as a good thing as a whole as it expands their domain knowledge and upskills them to be more involved in higher value-adding and scalable activities.