Jens Reisch, Chief Executive Officer of Allianz Malaysia Berhad, discusses the TalentCorp initiatives in helping expatriates settle down and bringing back Malaysian talent
SHIFTING EXPERIENCES ACROSS THE REGION
I moved to Malaysia from Indonesia, where I was attached to Allianz Indonesia, in August 2010. Indonesia was the first time I’d lived in Asia and it was a very exciting time to be there. There were plenty of investments and it was a dynamic experience.
I’ve been with Allianz for 30 years, but it’s not often in your life and career that you have the experience of working for large corporations to set up business, which made my time in Indonesia especially memorable.
Although Allianz is a relatively young brand in Malaysia, we are the largest general insurance company and the fastest growing life insurance providers in the market. Part of the excitement comes from our sheer size and continuous success, which we strive to maintain.
Our position in Malaysia is also unique as we’re a publicly-listed company here; this provides better communication across a broad spectrum—from customers, employees, agencies, business partners and shareholders. Malaysia is one of the core markets for Allianz and I’m excited about our future here.
We’ve had a successful journey and the country is in a prime position for us to utilise new media technologies to connect with customers and the younger generation. Insurance is an intangible product, compared to items such as cars or iPads, and we have to put in extra effort to promote its value.
The first two things that made the biggest impression on me when I arrived in Malaysia were the food and diversity of the people. Coming from Europe, we actually have a few countries with high diversities, but it’s not comparable to what you see and experience here.
Malaysia has plenty of attractive offerings, which explains why so many tourists come here—it’s nice to work in a place where other people holiday! It’s worth noting that when you travel to Malaysia just to attend board meetings, you aren’t very connected to what’s going on and you don’t see Kuala Lumpur in all its operations.
SETTLING INTO MALAYSIAN LIFE
TalentCorp contacted me about the Residence-Pass Talent (RP-T) and its benefits soon after I arrived in Malaysia. It was a nice, unexpected surprise; I learned that I was one of the early batches of foreign professionals to get the RP-T when the new pass was introduced in April 2011.
I was quite impressed by the government’s focus on human resources. As an expatriate, it makes you feel welcome on a national level. Furthermore, I’ve engaged in a couple of discussions on how Allianz can collaborate with TalentCorp to strengthen our company here.
For families, one of the key benefits linked with having the RP-T is the fact that it gives your spouse the opportunity to work as well. When I was based in Indonesia, it was a main obstacle for us to recruit individuals who were not Indonesian citizens due to difficulties in obtaining work permits. The RP-T allows spouses to join the workforce too, providing them with a chance to contribute to the household..
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY
As President of the Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MGCC), which TalentCorp is a premium partner of, I can say that there are a lot of collaborations for our members, comprising both German and Malaysian companies. TalentCorp actively engages and advises companies on their services, which helps strengthen bilateral German-Malaysian trade.
For Allianz, this means we can look into ways to encourage the homecoming of Malaysians through certain specialized professions such as investment bankers and investment fund managers. We are in constant discussion with TalentCorp on what we can do to achieve successful repatriations, a key feature associated with the organisation.
It’s great to have a government body that assists not only foreigners, but Malaysians as well for the sake of connecting and improving companies, in addition to identifying areas that need to be worked on from a professional level. TalentCorp is a good example that other countries can learn from; I’m convinced that it will grow further and provide benefits to individuals and companies in the future.
Having worked in Asia, I realised that there are so many Malaysians working overseas. It’s a very good sign for the country to be able to export so many talents to other nations.
However, it’s equally as important to find the right mechanics to repatriate them back to Malaysia for the benefit of contributing to the country through attractive compensation and career opportunities.
TalentCorp’s programmes, which also provide some form of tax incentives, help these individuals settle down.