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Education

Local learning a global experience

by Carmen To

Mark Coggins, CEO Kaplan International, Asia

Financial training enhances competitive edge in business

Since the beginning of the year, individuals and banking institutions have stepped up demand dramatically for financial training. The Financial Training Company (FTC) has witnessed such a significant growth particularly over the past six months.

Mark Coggins, CEO of Kaplan International, Asia, the education group comprising of The Financial Training Company (FTC), Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, Asia Pacific Management Institute (APMI) and Hong Kong Putonghua Vocational School (HKPVS), recognises the importance of maintaining the competitive business edge in financial training. "To keep the number one spot as a financial training provider in Hong Kong, we ensure our students and clients receive and are encouraged to utilise the best learning resources and products," he says. "We have more than 30,000 enrolments on our Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) courses yearly and we have the Premier PLUS Registration status from ACCA for the quality and service we deliver."

Increased demand

So far this year, there have been over 2000 local students in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) courses and about 10,000 enrolments in the ACCA courses. Mr Coggins discloses that there are more to come. "This year, we have launched our Chartered Financial Planning (CFP) training programme, and a Risk Management course (FRM) will follow in October," he says.

Besides the range of courses tailored for professionals in the banking and finance industry, FTC's corporate training division is focused on delivering financial training such as the preparation courses to the Hong Kong Securities Institute (HKSI) Licensing Examination, to those in the non-financial sectors, with an aim to improve students' work performance as well as preparing them for future challenge.

For example, HSBC is using FTC's customised customer service training package to meet the specific needs in developing customer relationship management. The package helps the bank's staff in building long-term relationships with customers.

Mr Coggins is pleased with the 500 per cent growth in this area in term of the number of enrolments. He says, "People in general underestimate this growth and we are not only lucky to achieve this brilliant result. It is also because we do not compromise on quality."

Learning Trend

FTC is constantly looking for ways to upgrade its services. For example, the unique 'Global with Local' approach works especially well in Hong Kong.

"We have the knowledge in worldwide finance, and by using bilingual teachers, students can enjoy their classes in their mother tongue," Mr Coggins says. "Also, through our Mandarin Training School in Hong Kong, we will be able to enhance students' language competence, which is becoming essential in the region's business community. We are committed to helping students build relevant practical experience for their jobs."

Looking to the future, Mr Coggins believes there will be a merger between traditional higher education and professional education since they are ultimately working together to achieve excellence through learning. Through such initiatives, Hong Kong can become an international education hub and attract more overseas students especially those from China.

"We are now working through our Shanghai Office with banks such as Bank of China to develop major financial training programmes," he notes.

Online breakthrough

Next year, the launch of FTC's innovative online learning support system will allow students to take their tests and revise online at a time that best suits them. Through this, they can progress themselves locally and globally and this provides a best chance of passing their examinations.

"The online learning support, which is much stronger than anywhere in the world, comes into being side-by-side with the adaptability of Hongkongers.

With huge amount of investments we pour in, we strive to provide excellent service to individuals and corporate banks in Hong Kong," Mr Coggins concludes, "Students awarded with the certificates will stand a better chance to succeed in the banking and financial industry both inside and outside Hong Kong."



Taken from Career Times 30 June 2006

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