Money Moves

Blueprint for rosy future

by Maggie Tang

Hong Kong an ideal choice as regional financial training centre

Peter Wong (left), president, the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers; executive director, HSBC
Patrick Fung, chairman, the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers; chairman and chief executive, Wing Hang Bank Limited
Photo: Johnson Poon

Closer economic and social cooperation since Hong Kong's reunification with China has resulted in diverse benefits which are now universally enjoyed. Financially, Hong Kong has emerged as the leading offshore stock market for state-owned and privately held companies in China.

"As new chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers, I am excited to announce our vision for Hong Kong to become a major training hub for regional banking and finance professionals. I am confident that more can be achieved in this area as greater collaboration with China is in sight," says Patrick Fung, chairman, executive committee, the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB), and chairman and chief executive, Wing Hang Bank Limited. "The HKIB has a service history of more than 40 years catering to the developmental needs of local banking professionals. Our management comprises seasoned bankers and financiers. We have first-hand knowledge of progress and requirements in the industry."

Besides having prominent personalities from major banks and financial institutions serving on its council and executive committee, the HKIB joins hands with reputable educational institutions offering a variety of training programmes. These include the Certificate in Risk Management, a joint programme with the Chinese University of Hong Kong; and the Certified Financial Management PlannerTM (CFMPTM) programme, a top-notch programme devised, with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology as academic advisor, in accordance with requirements set out in the government's "qualifications framework" (QF).

Mutual recognition

According to Dr Fung, the HKIB is working with China's banking and finance industry on mutual recognition of professional banking and finance qualifications. "The HKIB is actively playing a bridging role in the area of banking and finance education between Hong Kong and mainland China. We have initiated and facilitated exchange activities to promote deeper collaboration. The results have been positive with the China Banking Regulatory Commission supporting the plan," says Dr Fung.

Peter Wong, president of the council of the HKIB, and executive director of HSBC offers further elaboration. "The financial markets in Hong Kong and mainland China have integrated rapidly since 1997. Many mainland companies are currently listed on both the A-share and the H-share markets. The growth of foreign banks in mainland China is eye-opening. Ever larger numbers of sophisticated new financial products are steadily being introduced into the mainland. Here in Hong Kong, local banks are offering RMB products. This strengthening partnership has created an obvious need for more collaborated training and knowledge transfer to attain sustainable growth on both sides of the border," he says.

Mr Wong also underlines the implications that will result from the proposed mutual recognition of the Certified Financial Management PlannerTM qualification. "Once such a reciprocal scheme is implemented, banking and finance professionals in both mainland China and Hong Kong will enjoy much greater professional mobility," he adds.

Global platform

Looking towards 2008, Dr Fung has announced that the HKIB will host the 61st International Banking Summer School (IBSS). "It will be the first time the event is held in Hong Kong. The HKIB is honoured to play such a pivotal role," Dr Fung enthuses. The inaugural IBSS took place in 1948, hosted by the Institute of Bankers in London. Since 2005, it has been organised under the guidance of the European Bank Training Network (EBTN), an association consisting of 35 European banks and associate members from around the world.

The theme of the 2008 IBSS is "Next Wave and Beyond: The Blue Ocean of New Banking and Financial Services". While many agree that emerging markets in Asia are strong driving forces behind global economic growth and new economic powerhouses such as China and India represent sumptuous opportunities, challenges remain. For example, market structures, regulatory frameworks, culture and language vary substantially from place to place. Therefore, the upcoming IBSS aims to offer insights into the major issues surrounding the opportunities and challenges in the fast-evolving Asian markets. Plenty of networking opportunities, professional training, panel discussions and case studies will be provided for participants. International banking professionals can share innovative ideas and embrace the chance to benchmark their operations with those of their global peers. Taking advantage of Hong Kong's proximity to the mainland, the 2008 event includes an optional visit to Shanghai for those interested in gaining first-hand knowledge of China.

Dr Fung emphasises that the HKIB will continue to nurture talent for the local banking and finance industry. In addition, the organisation is committed to ensuring Hong Kong becomes an international training hub for the banking sector through the provision of quality educational events and talent recognition.

Taken from Career Times 07 December 2007, p. A13
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