Putu Dewika Angganingrum is the head of legal and compliance at Indonesian investment bank PT Danareksa (Persero), and also supervises compliance activities. In her current role, she oversees six legal officers directly and 20 legal and compliance officers indirectly.
ALB: How would you describe your strategy for the legal team?
Angganingrum: This pandemic has forced legal professionals to rethink their strategy, as working remotely from home has become the new way to work. How to optimize the use of technology has become our main strategy in this difficult situation, as all meetings are conducted virtually, and we need to use technology to deliver almost everything.
ALB: What are some of the big challenges the business has been facing in the past few months, and how are you looking to tackle them?
Angganingrum: Danareksa has been a well-known player in Indonesia’s capital markets space since it was established. With capital markets being affected by COVID-19, we have no choice but to remain hypervigilant and keep rewriting the playbook as pandemic circumstances evolve. From the legal perspective, we try to support the company to achieve its goals in these difficult circumstances without leaving good corporate governance principles behind. Efficiency is the key to tackle this challenge, and this includes managing the budget efficiently in our department. We have had to re-evaluate our plan to use external counsel, while new hires have been put on hold for the moment.
ALB: How important is the company’s culture, according to you? What kind of internal culture are you looking to foster both within the team, as well as your business as a whole?
Angganingrum: Company culture is indeed very important. It will provide a clear understanding of the company’s core values, which will help us to create the strategies needed to achieve the company’s goals. The first basic principle is to provide a clear picture of how people should deliver their work and deliverables.
In addition, it is important to have a friendly work culture without compromising the quality of the work. I believe that when the office working environment feels like home, it will boost the sense of belonging for all employees in the company. They will not only demand the company provide for their needs but will also eagerly help the company to achieve more.
ALB: How would you describe your approach to technology? How has the use of tech within your team evolved since you started at the helm, and what is your blueprint for the next year or two?
Angganingrum: Technology indeed will help the company keep delivering. Almost every employee in every role relies on technology in order to do their job. If technology stops working, I believe that we will struggle to even complete the most basic of tasks. The use of technology is no longer limited to writing in our computer. For example, we have signed documents electronically during this COVID-19 pandemic through the help of technology. We have also successfully completed all our tasks from home and even attended meeting virtually – all of which we owe to technology. For the next two years, I believe I will be even more dependent on technology.
ALB: How have your legal requirements evolved in recent times (either generally or as a result of the pandemic)? How does that change the way you use external counsel and other legal services providers?
Angganingrum: COVID-19 has definitely changed the manner in which most companies run their business. The role of external counsel has also transformed as the focus of the companies is aligned with budget optimization and efficiency to apply board-level strategies. As the role transforms, the requirements follow. The external legal counsel is no longer expected to provide services on an hourly basis, and instead offer a fixed fee, as the company needs to ensure the total budget is spent on its lawyers at the first place of engagement. The company also need the external counsel to provide true value when it comes to the work they do, and provide advice that is impossible to find from a Google search. Thus the criteria for selecting external counsel is becoming more rigorous – they need to provide value to the company at a reasonable price.
ALB: What motto do you live by?
Angganingrum: “For women to get to the top, you need skin as thick as a crocodile,” is a quote from Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, who previously served as managing director of the IMF. She delivered that quote during her visit to my previous office in 2015. Working in the legal industry, especially law firms, is tough for a woman, as it requires long hours of working while leaving everything else behind. Therefore, we need to have skin as thick as a crocodile to be strong enough in this industry, to receive all inputs, comments, and criticism over our work with an open hand, and leave all our domestic excuses behind. Being a woman is not an excuse to limit yourself; you can still be equally acknowledged in the industry or the office. Let them see your qualities before your demands.
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