CEO of ING Direct Australia Vaughn Richtor first headed up the company from 1995 to 2005, helping establish the brand. Within that decade, Vaughn brought ING Direct from virtual anonymity to become the country’s sixth-largest bank. In 2006, the organisation sent him to manage various branches throughout Asia, particularly in India and Singapore. He came back to Australia in 2012 but continues to oversee ING’s retail banking brands in India, China, and Thailand on top of his role in Sydney.

With Asia becoming a surging region of industrial and financial power, Vaughn cherishes his experiences there and the change in perspective it offered him. "If we say that this is the Asian Century and Australia is becoming more linked to that region,” he says, “I think having the experience and understanding of its cultures, the way business is done, plus the different business models can only help. What’s really important is that people talk about Asia, but Asia is not homogenous. The experience in dealing with countries like Japan, Korea, China, and the Philippines demonstrated that each country is unique, and I think that was a great learning for me".

As part of a larger international group with similar business models across various countries, ING Direct works closely with its offshore counterparts to test and adopt developments within different markets. "When I went to India, we introduced a digital keypad for security", Vaughn recalls. "We were the first ones there, but we’d already done it in Australia. So we can introduce things from here offshore, and we continue to do that and learn. We can also bring things here from offshore – that’s pretty important – and we can pick up on the experience rather than learning and trying things ourselves".