Money Moves

Growing securities company stresses skills and critical thinking

by Wendy Shair

Edward Yuen, managing director
Polaris Securities (Hong Kong) Limited
Photo: Dickie Tam
Securities firms face stiff competition, but one stalwart continues to operate from a position of strength, says Edward Yuen, managing director, Polaris Securities (Hong Kong) Limited (PSHK).

Established in 1993, PSHK has gradually expanded and now employs around 300 staff, providing a host of investment services, including securities and futures brokerage and asset management.

"We've positioned the company as a 'financial supermarket' to provide the full range of preferred products," says Mr Yuen. "Furthermore, we offer diverse solutions at reasonable prices and regard service excellence as vital."

Ongoing training
PSHK offers on-the-job training to enhance staff's skills and professionalism. "Apart from ensuring that they gain the necessary accreditation, the training also helps our employees keep up with investment trends," Mr Yuen points out. The company has also published a series of books to provide clients and others with fundamental product information and market insight and to increase understanding of the services on offer.

The organisation hires experienced people as well as new recruits. Veterans are generally quick to adapt, but their industry knowledge can sometimes be too specialised, while fresh graduates may be impatient for results. "Sometimes, they're too focused on swift monetary returns."

New staff members are allowed to rotate between departments, getting an overview of the company's range of products and services. "It usually takes three to six months to develop an understanding of the individual investment products, but it may take up to two years to gain a thorough grasp of all their functions. Training is therefore crucial," notes Mr Yuen.

Retaining staff
With mainland-based rivals increasingly targeting Hong Kong investment professionals, financial corporations are stepping up efforts to retain their best people.

It can be expensive to replace key employees. Hence, PSHK offers attractive packages and bonuses to the right people, pushing salaries up even more for those with expert skill sets in areas such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and authorised and unauthorised funds. Proper qualifications are key to entering this field, but long-term success depends on performance.

The firm also offers high-calibre professionals a promising career path and promotion opportunities. "We have plenty of middle-management and senior roles for achievers that share our common goal and vision," Mr Yuen stresses, adding that the company seeks loyal and committed individuals.

Critical-thinking skills are particularly valued. "It's important for investment professionals to know why they're doing things and to carefully consider their goals. Those that can think rationally usually achieve better results."

The firm takes on about 50 new employees every year. "Part of our strategy is to develop the right caliber of people to become team leaders and to groom newcomers," Mr Yuen concludes.

Sound investment

  • Firm operates as "financial supermarket", providing full product range
  • On-the-job training enhances staff's skills and professionalism
  • Job-rotation opportunities broaden new recruits' horizons
  • Attractive packages and bonuses help attract and retain the right people
  • Critical thinkers have a bright career path ahead

Taken from Career Times 23 Sept 2011, A4

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