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Financial Planning / Wealth Management

Banking industry offers job varieties and rewards

by John Chan

Andy Hon
head of retail distribution
HSBC Hong Kong
Photo: Wallace Chan
Support for professional development attracts, retains and motivates talented career seekers

Hong Kong's burgeoning banking and finance sector will continue to thrive, thanks to the fact that people nowadays are more in touch with their financial conditions and aware of their future needs. The influx of affluent customers from across the Chinese border and Taiwan has also contributed to the rising demand for professional wealth management advice and tools.

To keep the momentum going and drive sustainable transformation for the industry, banking institutions and financial houses alike must carefully assess their growth strategies and ultimately place human capital management at the top of their list of priorities.

Banking leader HSBC, for instance, is driving a strong HR agenda aligned with its business strategy. In particularly, the bank is looking to boost its sales and service team with currently available positions including premier relationship managers, wealth management managers, financial services officers as well as general banking officers, in a bid to satisfy the mounting demand for sophisticated banking services.

This essentially ties in with a series of service initiatives including branch enhancement and branch expansion. According to Andy Hon, head of retail distribution, HSBC Hong Kong: "It is always down to our people to create the best banking experience for our customers."

Talent advantage

In the face of fierce competition for the best talent in town, competent banking leaders in the city have all stepped up a gear in human resources management. Mr Hon notes that it is indeed now more challenging to recruit talented financial management professionals.

He is confident though that the bank's recruitment package, clear progression roadmap and diverse development opportunity will keep aspiring career seekers interested and engaged. He explains: "People nowadays expect to work in tune with life. As a responsible and responsive employer, we have rolled out a plethora of employee-friendly initiatives." These include family fun days as well as popular perks such as birthday leave and early day off on some special occasions, ensuring that the bank will remain "the best place to work".

"There's no better time to tap opportunities in the banking and finance sector," Mr Hon adds, advising that interested individuals should assess their aspirations and gain a good understanding of the industry before reaching a career decision. An ideal job candidate should be determined, committed and able to communicate effectively with people from all walks of life. "Knowledge of the industry and products are comparatively less important. Our new recruits can rest easy that an array of classroom and on-the-job training will help to get them up to speed with industry trends and to stay on top of the job," he says.

Right royal experience

Aside from talent acquisition, the bank has also revved up staff training initiatives and made people development a leadership issue. Bank managers now pay extra attention on staff members who demonstrate a knack for the profession, a passion for the job, a positive attitude and the determination to succeed. These professional attributes may have well been instrumental in achieving credentials in major industry events like the Hong Kong Institution of Bankers (HKIB) Outstanding Financial Management Planner Awards.

In fact, a number of the bank's delegates were hailed grand winners at the event over the years, while some other took home well-deserved accolades for their professional skills.

"The HKIB is a highly respected organisation that has been providing top-notch education and training to members of the local banking community for more than 40 years," says Mr Hon. "As a result of their efforts, the general public is now much more aware of the importance of financial planning and risk management to their financial future."

He states that the launch of the HKIB Awards six years ago has further strengthened the public's confidence in the expertise and high professional standards of banking practitioners. "The Awards encourage professionalism and ongoing development within the industry and recognise outstanding individual performance," he remarks. "It allows participants to showcase their know-how and ability to apply financial planning concepts to customer situations within the scope of wealth management."

The bank's success in the event over the last few years and its continuous support for the HKIB demonstrate that the two organisations share the same vision in enhancing the competitive edge of practitioners in the banking and financial sector.

Mr Hon believes that the HKIB Awards lay down a level playing field for up-and-coming talent in the banking industry to compete with their savvy counterparts. "Change and challenge will raise their confidence levels as financial services practitioners," he stresses. "Participation in such widely recognised industry events in turn will give them an opportunity to reassess their knowledge repertoire, polish their skills and help to broaden their professional horizons."

Taken from Career Times 13 May 2011, A14

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