Condensed programme yields essential information for investors

by Nicole Wong

Milind Rao, adjunct associate professor
Department of Economics
HKUST Business School
Photo: Leung Chun-ki
With the constant fluctuations in the global financial markets, wealth management can seem dauntingly complex to casual investors. However, what most people fail to realise is that financial education can easily untangle the intricacies of investing wisely.

To impart the necessary knowledge and skills to discerning individuals, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School offers an open programme in wealth and asset management. Milind Rao, adjunct associate professor of the Department of Economics, HKUST Business School, says wealth and asset management has been increasingly important in both international and domestic business in Hong Kong since it concerns the majority of investors in the city.

"It's crucial for the public to have basic knowledge in wealth and asset management since many investment issues, such as bonds, were blown out of proportion during the financial crisis," Professor Rao says.

The two-day programme covers the essentials in financial education, which includes asset allocation, building a portfolio for individual investment needs, different investment strategies for different time frames and the use of various investment vehicles. At the end of the programme, the participants spend half a day on designing their own investment portfolios, where they put their knowledge from asset classes into practical use.

Professor Rao stresses the programme is distinguished for its emphasis on underlying theories in finance as well as practical applications. During the lectures, the professor guides the audience through specific topics such as treasury bonds, and gives clear ideas on how the public should set up their portfolio if they decide to invest in specific bonds. The audience is encouraged to submit questions, which tend to be diverse and shed new light on topics.

"We run our discussion within one framework. There're always many possible solutions since our participants have different interests," Professor Rao pinpoints. "In this sense, our programme is suitable for investors at all levels." So far, the programme has attracted participants from various nationalities, age groups and financial backgrounds, since it serves as an unbiased, practical platform for knowledge exchange.

With an overload of information in the market, Professor Rao believes participants will gain essential knowledge and insightful perspectives that are closely aligned with the changes and challenges in today's business environment. The programme also covers issues such as how to ask the right questions, how to work with brokers and agents, which should help participants make better-informed decisions on the advice they receive. 'It's essential that investors know how to do their own research, and our programme gears them towards the right direction,' he contends.

Any investor who would like to increase their wealth or savings should consider enrolling in the programme, regardless of the levels of investment, emphasises Professor Rao. For active investors who spend 10 to 20 hours a week on their portfolios, the university offers a "Value Investing" programme. "If people take the time to learn and apply the knowledge to life, our programme is definitely an investment that will yield return," he concludes.

Taken from Career Times 30 April 2010, A8
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