Kishore Ramakrishnan

Kishore Ramakrishnan knows about the Chinese concept of yin and yang – the idea that two apparently contradictory forces can be complementary. But it isn’t just because he lives and works in Hong Kong. Dialectic is a constant theme in his life. His career divides into two distinct parts – engineering and banking. His experience in banking divides into client side and consultant side. And his working life also divides into time spent in the western hemisphere and time spent in the east. These things have shaped his character, informed his work, and enabled his success. He could be said to be the embodiment of the fifth of Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”: first understand, then be understood.

When he was at EY, Kishore was engaged by an international bank. The US regulator had raised a “Severity 3” rating after an inspection, and he had to improve governance and control of external sourcing across 12 countries, and across multiple business lines.

“I was nervous, initially,” he says with characteristic honesty. “But I worked with the client for over a year , and they passed the examination with flying colours.” The client – a very senior person at the bank – was ecstatic, even characterising the relationship with Kishore as that of father and son, in that “he felt that I had helped him pass his exams. We have a close friendship to this day.”

“I was nervous, initially,” he says with characteristic honesty. “But I worked with the client for over a year , and they passed the examination with flying colours.” The client – a very senior person at the bank – was ecstatic, even characterising the relationship with Kishore as that of father and son, in that “he felt that I had helped him pass his exams. We have a close friendship to this day.”

He has advised top-tier U.S., U.K., Swiss, European, Japanese & Chinese banks, Financial Market Infrastructure[FMI] & Buy-side on the “structural” & “operational” implications on global and regional derivative regulations, Basel capital reforms, bi-lateral margin reforms, Volcker reforms, MiFID II, FRTB, front office trading supervision etc. His client engagements span multiple asset classes covering equities, derivatives & fixed income and his body of work includes but not limited to advising clients on booking model and legal entity strategy, margin model approvals, CPMI P-FMI assessments for CCP’s, target operating model design, industry benchmarking exercises covering banks, broker dealers, custodians, exchanges, CCP’s, asset managers, insurance firms. He has several national & international publications to his credit and has worked closely with global & regional regulators, industry associations such as ISDA, ASIFMA, HKSI, AIMA.

Kishore’s tone in describing what he did for the client is typical of the man. He is sanguine and yet enthusiastic; mild but candid. Even the way he talks about the 16 hour days, 6 days a week, that he worked for the client is in the same vein. “I truly enjoy what I do. It doesn’t feel like work. I enjoy learning knew things. It’s why I became a consultant.”

So why has he come to TGP? “The alignment of purpose is what attracted me to Temple Grange Partners. I have worked in too many places where the client has limited access to the senior partner or the subject matter expert after the contract is signed. The big consultancies tend to send in people with less relevant experience to deliver the engagement – and this is very frustrating for the client.”

Kishore does bring expertise and an extensive client base, but it is as much his cultural knowledge and sensitivity that have propelled him through the more senior stages of his career and for which he is so valued. The pressures of doing business in the Far East can be very taxing, he notes, unless you understand those pressures. “For the first three or four years I had a really tough time trying to understand the work dynamics. But I learned that becoming trusted is a matter of patience. That’s true of home life as well as work.” Kishore found that the process was “as much about sincerity as hard work”.

A deep interest in other cultures runs all the way through Kishore, and he travels for fun as well as for business. “I really enjoy exploring places I’ve never been before. I have been lucky enough to have lived and worked in so many places in the world. This has enabled me to develop a great deal of empathy.”

The ability to straddle eastern and western cultures is a skill that’s becoming even more important in his work because, in Kishore’s judgement, “the world is getting more polarised and tolerance to cultural diversity runs wafer-thin with the passage of time ” . As he says, “being direct and candid in the west is a welcome trait which on the contrary can be perceived as being impetuous and impolite in the east and therefore not many people have the stomach for the work atmosphere when they first arrive. But as long as you don’t take it personally, you can penetrate the “circle of trust” over time, and gain respect through what you do.” Then Kishore’s irrepressible optimism surfaces again. “Once you do that, there’s no looking back.”

Kishore Ramakrishnan worked in mining before his natural aptitude for finance pointed him to banking. Working within banks for eight years, he then moved to EY, and then PwC, where he was Managing Director, Hong Kong, before accepting the offer from Temple Grange Partners to help found the business across the Far East. He is based in Hong Kong.

SUMMARY

Kishore Ramakrishnan, Partner 

  • Managing Director at PwC
  • Executive Director at EY
  • Senior Manager at EY
  • Global Equities Change Management at HSBC
  • Equity Derivatives Group – Asia Operations Plan Manager at JP Morgan
  • Senior Consultant at Infosys
  • Business Analyst at UBS
  • IT Analyst at Tata Consultancy Services

Education

  • M.S., Finance at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
  • B.E., Mining at Bangalore University