Music composer turned CFO

Chuah Bee Kim, New Straits Times | 29 December 2021

Juan has since August 19, 2019 been serving as chief financial officer (CFO) of OCR Group Bhd, a Kuala Lumpur-based listed company that focuses on property development, construction and project management consultation.

MOST teenagers would have been awed by fame and opted to pursue a music career, but not Wong Jyh Juan.

When Juan, as he is better known, was in secondary school, he joined many music competitions.

The music he composed captured the hearts of talent scouts from a notable music publishing company under the Rock Records label. This led to one of his compositions being used in the album of Michael Wong, better known as Guang Liang, a Malaysian singer who made it big in Taiwan and Mainland China with the hit song “Tong Hua” (Fairytale).

Even in his teenage years, Juan was aware that a career in music may not be sustainable. It is something of a hit or miss, and only a very small percentage of musicians make it big.

“It was fun and definitely self-fulfilling, but I always thought about the opportunities and calculated the risks. There was one time where my team was tasked to produce an album with an estimated revenue of RM30,000.

“Time is of the essence when you record an album due to the cost of renting a music studio. So, I’ve allocated one and a half hours for the recording of each song. Normally when recording starts, you lose track of the time and it could go on for long hours, but I made sure every session ended at precisely 90 minutes,” he says.

It is precisely this business sense and knack for calculation that led him on the path towards a career in finance.

Juan, 42, who came from a family of engineers – both his parents were engineers – knew then that the music royalties was not going to get him far in life. With three younger sisters, he knew of his role as the eldest sibling.

Juan decided to pursue a degree in the Bachelors of Accounting (Honours) from Universiti Tenaga Nasional.

He then went on to further his studies for a string of professional certifications and qualifications such as the Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and a chartered accountant (CA(M)).

He started off his career as an external auditor in professional accounting firms, from Deloitte to Ernst & Young.

Not contented with his professional qualification, he used his hard-earned savings during the fourth year of his work life to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA International) from the Nottingham University Business School.

He honed his expertise in the investment and corporate banking arena when he was the associate sirector with CIMB Investment Bank Bhd for more than seven years.

Juan has since August 19, 2019 been serving as chief financial officer (CFO) of OCR Group Bhd, a Kuala Lumpur-based listed company that focuses on property development, construction and project management consultation.

Before joining OCR, he was the CFO and assistant regional president for Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd Malaysia between 2014 and 2019.

He was in fact the most senior Malaysian in the organisation at the time.

Having worked in an investment bank, Big Four accounting firms, a Fortune 500 company and a listed entity on Bursa Malaysia, Juan has always believed in using his knowledge, expertise and experience to contribute towards the growth and development of an organisation.

“My financial understanding and discipline has helped me in my personal life journey be it investment or my corporate career. You have to apply financial literacy in your daily life, and the financial knowledge has provided the foundation for my personal growth.

“Figures are meaningless if it does not help you to understand and appreciate the real picture. Figures will help you gain a perspective and lead you to a more informed decision,” he says.

Juan’s personal investing journey had started while he was in university. “I am more of a fundamental investor although I do look at charts”.

Just like everything else, Juan says investing is also something that requires constant monitoring and effort.

“My advice to young investors and anyone who wants to climb the corporate ladder is to get the fundamentals right whether in terms of the mindset or one’s attitude in life. If I do not embark on self-improvement and stay competitive, I cannot expect my team to improve and stay dynamic.

“I believe that in whatever that we do, learn from others’ experience but do not fear trial

and error yourself. Making mistake is fine so long as one does not repeat it,” he adds.

Although Juan doesn’t have the luxury to compose music nowadays due to his hectic work schedule, he still keeps in touch with many talented artistes in the local music scene.

Read the full article here.