Meet Head of Business Continuity Management Yew Kwong Bernard Ng, AFBCI

  • 28 Jul 2017

This week we grabbed some time with Yew Kwong Bernard Ng, Head of Business Continuity Management at AIA Singapore. Having led the crisis management team for his Japan office during the Tokyo earthquake in 2011, he’s had a lot of first-hand experience executing business continuity plans. 

Location: Singapore

My Career Background

I have been a Business Continuity and Organizational Resilience professional based in Singapore for just over 11 years. Coming from a Computer Science background and being an alumnus of the University Scholars Programme at the National University of Singapore, I have managed to apply my analytical and critical thinking abilities to good use in assessing the business impacts to organizations arising from major emerging threats in the global and regional threat landscape.

“I firmly believe that preparation and communication are the key ingredients to the proper response and management of a crisis.”

I have founded and evolved business continuity programmes within five companies, predominantly in Singapore’s financial sector and other markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Having been in the thick of the action in major crises such as the 2011 Tokyo 9.1 magnitude earthquake - which saw major organizations in Japan activating their crisis management and business continuity plans on large scales - I firmly believe that preparation and communication are the key ingredients to the proper response and management of a crisis.

Having received the Innovation and Excellence Award for Excellence in Business Continuity Management in the 2015 Corporate Livewire Awards, I have also been working closely with regulatory authorities in Singapore in spearheading industry efforts to enhance the BCM capabilities and readiness of banks, insurers and capital market firms in the financial hub. This includes being part of the Steering Committee for the May 2017 Industry-Wide BCP Exercise, which will see more than 130 financial institutions participating in a massive crisis management simulation.

What I Do Now

I am Head of Business Continuity Management of AIA Singapore, a leading insurer.

A Typical Day at Work

08:00 Scan various news and ISOS websites for any impending crisis news.

09:00 Hold an informal meeting with my staff to gather inputs on key BCM projects and any threats on the horizon.

10:00 Meet-up with key business stakeholders to advise them on updates to their business continuity plans.

13:00 Informal lunch and socialising opportunity with key stakeholders and departmental business continuity coordinators.

15:00 Present updates of the company’s risk assessment profile and Business Impact Analysis (BIA) results, as well as analysis of the latest business disruption threats at the Divisional Management meeting.

17:00 Attend Steering Committee meeting to plan for next industry-wide exercise featuring terror attacks and cyber security incidents as the scoped scenarios.

“I love the high level of interaction and communication with people from all levels of my organization.”

Favourite Parts of My Job

I love the high level of interaction and communication with people from all levels of my organization. As BCM is a very niche profession, the views and advice we give to our organization and the industry are also highly valued, and this results in great flexibility and autonomy for us to carry out our duties of protecting our businesses.

Most Memorable Incident 

In my previous company, which was a global brokerage firm, I led the crisis management for our Japan office during the 2011 Tokyo earthquake. We had to ensure that our Japanese colleagues and their families could be safely relocated to a hotel in Osaka, account for their safety and well-being, and still resume the critical business functions to maintain customers’ trade positions in the midst of a highly volatile market arising from the earthquakes.

My Goals for the Future

To be able to train more young and aspiring business continuity professionals so that this field can continue to grow and evolve.

Words of Advice for Other Business Continuity Practitioners?

Stay calm, stay strong and stay well, in order to contain a crisis.

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