After a run of four bull years, the local stock market has become volatile as a result of international developments outside Hong Kong's control.
Nevertheless, many investors are cautiously optimistic about the overall performance in the rest of the year though aware that irrational market behaviour is always possible. On the other hand, fund-managing companies are confident they can find a profitable way forward in the changing investment environment.
Paul Pong, managing director of Pegasus Fund Managers Limited, believes there are still opportunities despite the unstable market. "Many investors are agitated by the scare headlines and bad publicity and so are stampeded into unnecessary losses," he says. "This is the time when it pays to be calm and observant. In order to keep track of significant market information, and so help people make good judgments about their investments, our research department has made a great many analytical studies that enable us to see the right way forward."
Mr Pong believes the industry is still experiencing rapid growth. One important point being widely discussed is whether the amount of MPF contributions should be increased, although the management of these funds is already a big pie for the financial service industry. Predictably, the protection now offered by the MPF is being seen as insufficient, and demands are rising for the introduction of more comprehensive retirement plans.
Mr Pong points out that apart from the local market, China is undoubtedly a customer base of enormous potential. "To get a prime position in this race we are taking the crucial step of internationalising ourselves," he adds. One of the ways Pegasus is doing this is through strategic alliances and partnerships with major financial service providers in Europe and the US. By collaborating with international associates, team members of Pegasus will gain international exposure. Further, the company's professionalism will be raised to a higher level. "Embracing international standards is the key to outperforming competitors both in Hong Kong and on the mainland," Mr Pong remarks.
Nevertheless, the key to maintaining the highest professional standards in money management lies in the company's human resources, according to Mr Pong. "We consider work experience an added asset for candidates looking for a career with us. But of course they must also possess the right qualifications and necessary skills to do their job," he adds. "Exposure to business in China, or at least a good understanding of the financial situation there, is needed as well."
To handle anticipated business growth, Pegasus will double the number of its member account executives to 80 this year. Other intakes include financial planning, where candidates with certified financial planner qualifications or strong legal backgrounds are welcomed. Also there are openings in the investment and research department for chartered financial analysts. All positions require a minimum of two to three years' experience in the relevant fields.
Successful candidates can expect above-the-market pay packages. However, Mr Pong believes the money is a lesser incentive for joining Pegasus. "I believe it is the scope of services we provide that is the major factor," he says. To people wanting gainful careers in financial services, it represents a diversity of career opportunities. They can explore different aspects of the industry and try a range of market mixes. Few rival companies offer such a spread of opportunities. "With us, people can really gain an in-depth insight into virtually every stream of the industry before choosing a particular focus," notes Mr Pong.
On top of the remuneration and promising career path, Pegasus provides a supportive environment to work in. "As I often emphasise, our strong research team is vital in providing market updates and effective analysis," says Mr Pong. "Our fund managers can always rely on these insightful resources when making investment decisions for clients."
Thanks to its expertise and professionalism, Pegasus has succeeded in providing its services to a pool of high-end customers. "I would label Pegasus as 'the doer' in this field, which means we actually manage and execute our products day to day," says Mr Pong. "By maintaining our high standards over the years, we have not only gained monetary rewards for our clients but also achieved an enviable reputation." People who join in will get a sense of satisfaction when they contribute to such pleasing results.
Pegasus serves as an agent for over 1,500 Securities and Futures Commission authorised funds. It provides services in unit trusts, monthly saving plans for education, retirement and investment, corporate and personal portfolio management, corporate and personal financial planning including property, immigration and tax consultation, fund management and analysis, MPF, plus insurance.
- Account executives being doubled to 80
- Other openings in different sections
- 2-3 years' experience necessary
- Knowledge of Mandarin a must