Money Moves

Cooperation increases regional banking strength

by Grace Chan

Stronger ties enhance Hong Kong's status as global finance hub while increasing professional opportunities on both sides of the border

Carrie Leung, chief executive officer
the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers
Photo: Edde Ngan

Hong Kong's financial prosperity relies hugely on the accelerating development of mainland China's economy. With this in mind, the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) is actively engaged in a number of initiatives to foster closer ties between the Hong Kong and mainland China banking industries.

At the HKIB annual general meeting last week, the organisation revealed its agenda for strengthening the bond between the two regions. These include working towards increased mutual recognition of professional qualifications, running annual industry awards for the mainland's wealth management sector and hosting major region-wide conferences.

As a result of talks following the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the HKIB and China Banking Association (CBA) in 2006 at the Great Hall of the People, certified financial management planners (CFMP) in Hong Kong will now be recognised in China, while certification of China banking professionals (CCBP) will be recognised in Hong Kong.

"The mutual recognition arrangement offers Hong Kong practitioners the chance to expand their career opportunities on the mainland, while encouraging interaction between professionals from the two regions," said Peter Wong, president, the HKIB, and executive director, HSBC.

Closer ties

Peter Wong, president, the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers
executive director, HSBC
chairman, Banking Industry Training Advisory Committee
A total of 110 entrants sat the first CCBP examination in Hong Kong in June. This is expected to be the first batch of HKIB members to obtain professional financial planning qualifications in both Hong Kong and mainland China. Meanwhile, Mainland candidates will be able to sit the CFMP examination in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen in August.

Currently, about 570,000 mainland banking practitioners have obtained their CCBP qualifications and the mutual recognition agreement will facilitate closer industry ties between Hong Kong and the mainland," said Chen Yuan-nian, secretary general, CBA, adding that the collaboration between the HKIB and CBA will lead to more exchange opportunities across the border.

Since 2008, the associateship of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (AHKIB) is also recognised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (CIOBS) as equivalent to having the Chartered Banker status, noted Patrick Fung, chairman, executive committee, the HKIB, and chairman and chief executive, Wing Hang Bank Limited.

"This further promotes professional mobility and a transfer of knowledge and experience on a worldwide basis," Dr Fung remarked.

Chen Yuan-nian, secretary general
China Banking Association
In a bid to raise the professional standards of mainland China wealth management practitioners, the HKIB will be running the third Outstanding Financial Management Planner Awards on the mainland in collaboration with CBA and China's Financial News.

"The response to the competition has been overwhelming, with entries increasing from 200 in the first year to 1,500 last year," said Carrie Leung, chief executive officer, the HKIB. She added that the annual competition has enjoyed growing esteem among mainland industry players.

Creating a regional sharing platform is one of the HKIB's main priorities this year and a delegation from the institute will be visiting the People's Bank of China and China Banking Regulatory Commission in Beijing later this month to discuss the future development of the banking sector.

Industry standards

Patrick Fung, chairman, executive committee
the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers
chairman and chief executive
Wing Hang Bank Limited
The HKIB and CBA will also organise the first joint wealth management summit in Beijing where professionals from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan will be able to exchange views on the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

Following the success of hosting the International Banking Summer School (IBSS) last year, the HKIB is to organise the HKIB Annual Banking Conference in November with the theme of "exploring changes and opportunities facing Asia's banking markets in 2010".

"Positioned as an anchor event for Asia's banking and finance industry, the conference will consolidate Hong Kong's status as an international finance hub and training centre," Mr Wong emphasised.

The HKIB also plays a key role in promoting standards for the long-term growth of the industry in Hong Kong. "Due to the rapid development of the financial markets, especially on the mainland, there's a constant need to formulate and uplift industry standards," noted Mr Wong, who is also the chairman of the Banking Industry Training Advisory Committee (ITAC).

The HKIB has been appointed, to help draw up a set of Specification of Competency Standards (SCS) for the retail banking sector under the government's Qualifications Framework. A three-month consultation period kicked off in June and the SCS will be introduced by the end of the year.

"The SCS will help employers to better understand what is required from different job roles so that they can provide their staff with proper training. It will also assist employees with their continuous studies by helping them to determine their current competency level and what is expected of them," Mr Wong explained.

Strategic moves

  • Cross-border cooperation drives talent development and exchange
  • Regional events help consolidate industry strengths
  • Raising of standards facilitate sustainable development

Taken from Career Times 03 July 2009, p. A2
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