Money Moves

Financial planning expertise ready to go North

by Charles Mak

This is a fortnightly series of articles focusing on the banking and financial industries

CEPA offers a welcoming hand to businesses in Hong Kong. However, as Eugene Law, an analyst with Shenyin Wanguo (HK) explains, financial planning professionals may need to wait a while longer before gaining entry to the vast market.

"With qualification as a qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII) being the first step, the long awaited qualified domestic institutional investor (QDII) recognition will be the next. We are on our way to further explore the China market but we must take it nice and slowly. Co-operation between the two regions has already improved significantly," says Mr Law.

Hong Kong stands a very good chance of prosperous business development in China. In Mr Law's opinion, it may only be a matter of time. "China still lacks the investment instruments to fully stress its market potential." Mr Law explains, "Opening the market is the road China has to take. What Hong Kong can do now is to provide the mainland with all the necessary peripheral support. Once the market is opened up, the long-term business development process will begin and we can foresee extremely stiff competition in the marketplace."

Mr Law also believes that Hong Kong companies have to strengthen communication with the mainland. "A lot of in-depth research and PR work has to be carried out. We need to understand the China government's concerns. For instance, introducing foreign competition in a hasty manner may upset the stability of its financial markets, which will not do anyone any good."

Job openings may increase in line with further opening of the China market. But at this time, only a handful of companies are recruiting talent to develop the China market.

"Financial professionals in China have already been through a few years of training and reached a certain level." Mr Law says, "For Hong Kong professionals, the lack of language skills and network are the biggest obstacles. On the other hand, better presentation combined with a pool of financial expertise are our advantages."

Taken from Career Times 03 September 2004, p. 2
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