Lindrawati Widjojo
    Category: Inspiring Women 2015 By : Ardian Wibisono Read : 2976 Date : Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 01:18:19

    Santirta Martendano for Forbes Indonesia

    Lindrawati Widjojo has built PT Sucorinvest Central Gani into one of the largest local securities firms, with over ten thousand retail clients. Last year, Sucorinvest ranked number 17 in terms of volume and number 32 in value in terms of stock trading among the 110 Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) members. It is the largest securities firm in the country owned and operated by a woman, in what is a very male-centric industry. Established in Surabaya in 1989 with only one staff aside from herself and Rp 50 million in capital, Lindrawati has a grand ambition for her company: to become the biggest local securities firm.

    “We see a huge opportunity to build a leading securities company in Indonesia and be able to compete with foreign ones,” says Lindrawati, now president commissioner, in her spacious office filled with huge paintings and other artwork at the heights of the Equity Tower, overlooking the IDX building in Jakarta. Since the beginning, Lindrawati has grown the company through learning by doing. Graduating with a BA in accounting from Airlangga University, she had no background in the stock market. Her involvement in stocks began when Marzuki Usman, the head of the stock market supervision agency head at the time, offered her husband a seat at the recently established Surabaya Stock Exchange—later merged with the Jakarta Stock Exchange to become the current IDX. After taking a brokerage license, Lindrawati began to sell stock investments door to door in 1989. She remembers they had only about ten investors with the company during the first year.

    Unlike today, the stock market was a strange thing for many, and was underdeveloped, so she had to explain to people why they should invest in stocks. There were only forty members on the Surabaya Stock Exchange, the daily transaction and volume was still small, trading was recorded on a blackboard, and investors still got paper shares. In 1991, Sucorinvest bought a seat in the Jakarta Stock Exchange and in 1996 Lindrawati decided to move the office to Jakarta in search of bigger opportunities. That year, the company also started to expand its business, offering underwriting and investment banking, and added asset management in 1997. This growth, Lindrawati says, complemented the brokerage service and had better margins. The company’s first client for an underwriting was regional lender PT Bank DKI with a Rp 500 billion bond issuance, where Sucorinvest was one of the lead underwriters. “They trusted us because the bank was already our client,” Lindrawati says.

    Then the Asian monetary crisis came. However, while many suffered from the impact of the rupiah depreciation and bad loans, Sucorinvest saw an opportunity instead. “Back then we saw a shifting demand from our clients. If before their need was financing for expansion, during the crisis they needed to do restructuring, which we facilitated,” Lindrawati explains. “Bad debts can be restructured or sold, and we helped look for buyers, the distressed fund managers who believed that they are able to solve or restructure the bad loans.”