By Hyma Haridas

In the business of financial insurance, it is not always about the numbers. PIDM’s CEO Rafiz Azuan Abdullah shares his views on some of the people and practices that make his organisation tick.

Banks are often regarded as infallible institutions. However, the Greek Debt Crisis that unfolded not too long ago was a harsh – but somewhat sobering – reminder about the vulnerability of banks, in the event of a major financial or economic crisis in the country.

Fortunately for Malaysians, Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM) is here to protect our bank deposits in the unlikely event that a member bank fails. Each depositor is protected up to RM250,000 for each member bank through the Deposit Insurance System (DIS).

“If you have deposited your money in a PIDM accredited bank, which most commercial banks in Malaysia are, then your deposits are automatically insured by us. This means that your money in the bank is protected and in the event that the bank becomes insolvent or bankrupt, your hard-earned money will not be lost,” explained Rafiz Azuan Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PIDM.

“We want to protect the best interest of the masses, which is why we insure up to RM250,000 for bank deposits. This is based on a study we carried out in 2010, which showed that 99% of depositors in Malaysia have savings that do not exceed that amount. We are planning to carry out another survey soon to check if the figures have changed in any way, and if so, adjust our protection accordingly,” added Rafiz.

In addition to DIS, PIDM also administers the Takaful and Insurance Benefits Protection System (TIPS) which protects owners of takaful certificates and insurance policies from the loss of their takaful/insurance benefits in the unlikely event of an insurer member’s failure.

Prior to taking over as CEO of PIDM in August 2017, Rafiz worked with the Ratings Agency of Malaysia (RAM) where he cut his teeth in the financial industry, specialising in risk assessment and analytics.

In January 2007, he decided to switch gears in his career. He moved away from his first love, data-and-number-crunching, to a role that primarily involved people management in a then-new organisation. It was his way of challenging himself and expanding his career horizons.

“In life, we need to expand our horizons from time to time. I always tell my team – we need to always challenge the norm; always question. Don’t just be like the hamster that repeats the same thing day in and day out, without even knowing why.”

PIDM piqued Rafiz’s interest from the start because of its open culture – a practice that he has continued to build on since taking office.

Other than its quarterly Town Hall sessions, PIDM has introduced other activities to facilitate two-way communication between employees and management. ‘PIDM Talk’ is a TED Talk-like session where three employees are invited at every session to tell their stories and share ideas on non-work-related subjects. Rafiz opens his time for an informal chat with 10 to 12 employees in a monthly session called ‘Coffee with Rafiz’ where they talk about a variety of subjects.

In life, we need to expand our horizons from time to time. I always tell my team – we need to always challenge the norm; always question. Don’t just be like the hamster that repeats the same thing day in and day out, without even knowing why.

These are some initiatives Rafiz feels that will encourage all members of the Corporation to interact openly with each other and be open to exchanging ideas about matters pertaining to work and beyond.

“I believe in engaging and interacting with my people regularly, regardless if they are managers, executives or the cleaning staff. We have over 200 people working here and they are the real assets of the organisation. It’s important that they are comfortable enough to interact freely with the CEO and their respective superiors, and not be afraid to share ideas on various subjects. There is always something we can learn from everyone,” said Rafiz.

PIDM continuously seeks high-calibre individuals and experienced talent to join its team. One of the key attributes that Rafiz stresses on is the ability to ‘be yourself’.

“Although our core industry covers finance and risk assessment, we do look for staff that have a specific or niche area of expertise. My philosophy is to hire someone for what they are good at and what they know – it could be an engineer, who may be skilled in a specific area of his field. I usually look for people who are able to speak up, share ideas, and articulate their thoughts well. Someone different, who doesn’t necessarily follow the norm and is able to challenge the status quo. Most importantly, someone with the right attitude and teamwork culture.”

Aside from possessing the right attitude, owning an aptitude and appetite for growth is also important for PIDM employees.

“We are not in the business of resting on our laurels. We are constantly looking for ways to improve and grow, and of course our employees must have the same mindset in order for us to grow together,” said Rafiz.

Share this article: