Money Moves

Joint initiative to close gaps between academia and business

by Wattie Lo

The Hong Kong Institute of Bankers and Hong Kong Shue Yan University seal memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation in dual-qualification programmes
Photo: Edde Ngan
University students looking to tap into the finance industry can expect to fast-track their career progression by embarking on dual-qualification programmes that award them dual academic and professional qualifications. One newly announced joint initiative by the banking industry and an educational institution is an agreement by the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) and Hong Kong Shue Yan University (HKSYU).

The initiative aims to place HKSYU students on an accelerated course towards obtaining the HKIB's banking qualification by the time that they earn their university degrees in economics and finance.

It involves getting a diploma, followed by an advanced diploma and, finally, a specialist diploma. HKSYU graduates who pass required elective degree subjects will be exempted from some courses and be awarded the HKIB's advanced diploma in banking and financial services.

Those wishing to advance to the specialist diploma will need to complete at least two specialist diploma subjects and accumulate three years of work experience in the banking and finance industry before earning the Associate of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (AHKIB) professional status—a qualification that is increasingly required by employers in the banking sector.

"Closer cooperation between academia and the industry helps to increase students' understanding of real issues in the world of banking," says Professor Yu Fu-lai, head, department of economics and finance, the HKSYU. He adds that the department will continue cooperation with the HKIB in terms of qualification recognition and subject exemptions.

The joint initiative will enable students to better prepare themselves for the workplace by engaging with their future employers, notes Stanley Wong, deputy general manager, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Ltd.

Mr Wong, who is also chairman of the HKIB's membership and professional development committee, advises students to think carefully about their career paths. "Since the banking industry has grown in size and sophistication, it has evolved from merely offering traditional products such as loans and deposit-taking to promoting a wide range of services, including insurance and wealth management," he points out.

One major benefit of the collaboration is that students will be able to earn a university degree and a professional diploma qualification simultaneously.

The dual qualifications will equip graduates with sound theoretical fundamentals as well as practical insights into the way that banks operate, at an early stage of their career development.

At the signing of the memorandum of understanding earlier this month, HKIB chief executive officer Carrie Leung told prospective participants the advanced diploma would enhance their competitiveness and serve as a springboard for professional advancement.

HKIB members who have passed the necessary examinations and gained the required banking experience can earn the sought-after Certified Financial Management PlannerTM (CFMPTM) qualification, a professional status that is recognised in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

The announcement of a mutual recognition arrangement between the HKIB and the China Banking Association (CBA) in June last year has further strengthened the status of the CFMPTM as a regional professional qualification. It can also be converted into the mutually recognised Chartered Banker qualification granted by the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland. "Associates of the HKIB therefore enjoy improved professional mobility, with ample opportunity for career development on an international scale," Ms Leung remarks.

Taken from Career Times 19 February 2010, P3
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