Career Path

Good advice from a finance professional

by Wing Kei

Kenty Wong, manager, corporate communication and business development, Phillip Securities (Hong Kong) Ltd
Photo: BJ

The success of a financial services business in Hong Kong can depend on getting the details right. That is what Kenty Wong has realised and, as manager for corporate communication and business development at Phillip Securities (Hong Kong) Ltd, he has concentrated on that aspect, as well as always maintaining a positive attitude.

Since starting as a settlements clerk working in the back office in 2000, Mr Wong has gained extensive experience in different departments and, about three years ago, was promoted to his current role. Besides overseeing general business development activities, he also has responsibility for training and recruitment.

"When I first got into the financial sector, I was really starting from scratch," says Mr Wong. "But I don't mind trying new things, and this gave me the chance to gain all-round knowledge of the business and a wider range of skills by working with different people." He believes that by handling both front- and back-office roles in the last few years he understands the full picture of how the company's operations run.

These days, meetings occupy a fair amount of his time. "My job is people-oriented, since I am dealing with both management and staff issues," he explains. "There are regular meetings relating to sales, assessing potential recruits, and giving advice and ideas about business development initiatives." Mr Wong also has to monitor the performance of various branches.

The job provides tangible rewards and great satisfaction for those who do it well

He says that, to recruit successfully, you must be completely clear about the type of candidates you want to hire. "The company should be sure of its own direction and focus on its own way of doing things," he recommends. "This makes it possible to achieve better results."

In particular, Mr Wong looks for candidates who can demonstrate an obvious interest in the work and are willing to accept new challenges. "If you enjoy what you are doing, you will be more motivated and more inclined to use your initiative," he says.

Usually, the company relies on referrals and word of mouth to find suitable recruits. Candidates are expected to have clear ideas about what they want to achieve in life and to be hard-working and outgoing. "We are running a people business, so anyone who wants to join the industry needs to have good social skills and to like dealing with people from different backgrounds," Mr Wong says. Specifically, the role of sales representative or financial advisor requires flexibility, a responsible approach and the dedication to keep abreast of new products and market changes. "The job provides tangible rewards and great satisfaction for those who do it well," he adds.

Phillip Securities offers a good training platform and equips new joiners with extensive financial knowledge and all the necessary skills. This enables advisors to handle with confidence any kind of customer enquiry. The company currently has six branches in Hong Kong and plans to open a further four in the next year or two. A parallel target is to increase the sales force from the present level of 350 to as many as 500.

China Opportunities

According to Mr Wong, it is a definite company target to get established in the mainland market. "We believe that will present many new opportunities, but we are taking a step by step approach," he says. "China is a huge market and it takes time to explore everything there." The company already has a representative office in Shanghai doing research and groundwork for future expansion.


Taken from Career Times 08 September 2006, p. A23
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