Money Moves

Get set to embark on through train

by Isabella Lee

Experts gear up for new opportunities from investment reforms

A wealth of talents looking to creating career and business success at CMB International Capital Corporation Limited
Photo: Johnny Kwok

Keen eyes are watching over the launch of China's direct overseas investment scheme, which will permit individuals to invest in overseas stock exchange markets. In Hong Kong, the local capital market awaits its inauguration with baited breath, ready to seize the tremendous financial opportunities which will result from the initiative.

With its close ties to the mainland, Hong Kong profits from outward capital flows from China, especially as controls become more relaxed. Organisations with strong China connections, such as CMB International Capital Corporation Limited (CMBI), are poised and ready to capitalise on the advantages of increased cross-border investments.

CMBI provides brokerage and corporate financial advisory services with licences from the Securities and Futures Ordinance of Hong Kong. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of China Merchants Bank, a commercial institution with branches in more than 30 major cities serving a tremendous portfolio of corporate and individual clients.

"At this stage of business development in Hong Kong, we are focusing on establishing solid foundations," says Vivian He, general manager, human resources, CMBI. "To achieve this, we require a strong approach to team building and the implementation of quality IT systems," she says.

Upping the ante

Since the contemporary recruitment market is highly competitive, CMBI keeps abreast of the latest salary and benefit trends to stay ahead of the competition. Within the financial sector of late, a general shortage of professionals has elevated remuneration levels. In response, CMBI regularly analyses the employment market making generous and frequent adjustments to the company's pay packages.

Recruitment professionals also from part of the equation to attract and retain experienced individuals alongside a staff referral system which complements traditional advertising via recruitment media.

For candidates with less experience, an established internship programme gives prospective graduates a soupcon of a career with CMBI during study breaks. "From an employer's perspective, the programme creates not only a potential talent pool for the company, it also helps educate and cultivate the necessary manpower for the financial sector as a whole," Ms He remarks.

Although the people element is key, IT systems ensuring uninterrupted transactional consistency also play an important role for the securities brokerage sector of CMBI. Edmond Choy, executive director of the securities department points out, "Unlike Hong Kong residents, more than 80 per cent of investors in China trade online. Advanced hardware, including super powered 'fault tolerant', servers and technologies capable of hosting a large customer base effectively and efficiently are a basic necessity for us."

Upgrading IT

In preparation for the increased business opportunities resulting from the cross-border investment scheme expected this year, CMBI is updating its IT platforms with the relevant systems required to serve a growing clientele from the mainland.

CMBI will benefit from its unique position as its parent company China Merchants Bank, is among the second batch of institutions which will process investments once the direct overseas investment scheme is given the green light. Mr Choy elaborates, "Our position is optimum because we will have time to observe those who run ahead. As such, this will assure we fine-tune everything before presenting enhanced services to clients."

Since service standards are quintessentially important at CMBI, heavy investment in resource upgrades has benefited the current professional team. All staff enjoy full sponsorship to complete professional qualification courses organised by the Securities and Futures Commission, which has stringent requirements regarding participants' integrity.

In addition, staff activities for team building and stress management are arranged. Ms He notes, "We conduct training for our employees to gauge better personal understanding and to elevate emotional quotient levels. Vital to our operational success is the creation and appreciation of a harmonious working ambience."

As an employer of choice, CMBI has also earned its brand name in the industry. According to Sunny Chan, executive director, investment banking department, the elevated status of China Merchants Bank makes organising and distributing CMBI investments uncomplicated.

"The biggest gap in the manpower demand and supply chain is in the execution, but with our team of professionals including talented individuals with qualifications in law and accountancy at CMBI, investment banking will remain a strong and flexible entity," Mr Chan concludes.

Baited breath

  • Direct overseas investment scheme eagerly awaited
  • Bank poised to capitalise on scheme
  • Sophisticated IT essential for success
  • Internship programme offers first taste of finance career

Taken from Career Times 07 March 2008, p. A11
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