About this series
Building Asia is a collection of business stories on CNA that examines the financial forces driving Asia's position as an economic powerhouse.
Wearnes – The engine for regionalisation is the fourth episode in the Building Asia with UOB series and was first aired on 5 April 2021. It looks at how a leading multi-brand car dealership uses UOB’s cash management solution to seamlessly access their working capital in the region.
Andre Marc Roy (South East Asia CEO, Wearnes):
The trend of the luxury markets, I guess it falls into two categories. The people who buy cars just for basic transportation and those people who buy cars for more of a passion.
We work with twenty brands across nine countries.
Brands all have their specific requirements when it comes to facilities, people, processes, how we treat customers. So there’s a lot of complexity in that.
Katherine Tan (CFO, Wearnes):
Different markets will have different regulations, different setup requirements.
And if the bank is already present in that market and understands the local setup, that will help us a great deal to expedite the entire journey.
Leong Yung Chee (Head, Corporate Banking Singapore, UOB):
When Wearnes decided to expand in the region, we were in the exact same footprints as they had ambitions for.
And that made rolling out banking needs for them very easy, it was seamless. It was just a matter of flicking on a switch and saying, “Look, which countries do you want operations to be in? Let’s flick on those switches, run business”.
In any new markets, we will study the market, develop the brand according to that particular customer segment, know how many years ahead we expect the business to pick up.
So we actually deploy our financial investment according to KPIs and targets that we have set internally.
The financial discipline is very important to ensure that we get the right rate of return at the right timing.
Leong Yung Chee:
Wearnes today runs a complex operation across multiple brands and in different countries. The number of cash payments that they have to handle, it is actually a very complex process to manage on the backend.
The good thing is, we have systems and processes in place today that allows that process to be very seamless.
So when Wearnes came to us, we said, “Look, we have the perfect solution for you.”
The core basis of the product and solution that we rolled out for Wearnes, is a very elegant cash management solution which takes the different pools of cash and capital that they have residing in different countries and in different subsidiaries, into a central location where the CFO or the treasurer has clear visibility of what is coming in and where it’s going.
Andre Marc Roy:
We’ve been in business a hundred years, and are financially strong.
We work across many countries, so what I can do is have the same backbone of infrastructure of operations.
So working with business partners who work across the regions is very important. That allows me to move very quickly and to take advantage of a lot of opportunities that might come up over time.