Money Moves

Integrity a key asset

by Christy Liu

Ammon Lam, chief executive
Head & Shoulders Securities Limited and Head & Shoulders Asset Management Limited
Photo: Keith Cheung

Despite the recent slump in the stock market and global economic uncertainty, the demand for asset managers remains robust.

Asset management is a comprehensive and structured approach to the long-term management of assets, and Hong Kong's asset management companies are developing their businesses via an array of client focused and product oriented strategies. As a result, sales people in the industry also develop themselves into product specialists and customer relations professionals, forming the backbone of the industry.

"The asset management business is expanding rapidly because people and companies increasingly understand the importance of planning for the future," says Ammon Lam, chief executive, Head & Shoulders Securities Limited and Head & Shoulders Asset Management Limited. "As such, we are looking to recruit more quality people, particularly meticulous and disciplined candidates with the ability to work in a highly-charged environment."

Financial consultants are at the core of any asset management company's sales and marketing team, Mr Lam notes. "They must have solid and relevant work experience and a good understand of a range of financial tools. Since we are looking for quality rather than quantity, we don't have an upper limit on the number of candidates we are recruiting."

Employers in the sector tend not to consider fresh graduates or people with transferable skills, even if they are struggling to find candidates with the professional acumen they are after.

"I urge candidates to be honest about their work experience and personal and academic backgrounds when they attend job interviews," Mr Lam stresses. "When the right candidates are onboard, we pull out all the stops to help them build up their professional confidence and competence to face future challenge." In particular, he adds, new recruits who pass their probation periods will have the chance to develop long-term careers within the company and the industry.

Despite the stringent hiring requirements, the financial compensation and possibilities for career advancement in the asset management sector make it all worthwhile.

Mr Lam emphasises that asset management firms differ from wealth management, securities and insurance companies. "Asset management professionals mainly help premium clients to build solid and long-term investment portfolios, focusing on their unique financial needs. In addition to helping individuals, we also serve corporate clients, for example by assisting companies that are preparing for an initial public offering. One aspect that sets us apart is the depth of service we deliver," he says.

High-performing financial consultants have plenty of opportunities for growth, and may in time find themselves moving up to the positions of manager, vice president and even sales director. Mr Lam advises people who are interested in developing a long-term career in the profession to use their skills, self-discipline, energy and passion for the job to make their mark.

Worthy of pay

  • Sales people developed into product specialists and customer relations professionals
  • Employers value skills, discipline and experience
  • Hard work pays dividend

Taken from Career Times 22 August 2008
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