The demand for Chartered Secretaries has been on the rise in Hong Kong, as these professionals are needed by an increasing number of publicly listed companies, particularly those based in China, to help maintain a high standard of business ethics and practices and to cater for the rapidly changing and increasingly complex corporate environment, said Tracy Sin, Company Secretary, Kwang Sung Electronics HK Co Limited.
Ms Sin, who gained full membership of The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries (HKICS) in 2002 and became a fellow member of the Institute in February 2009, is now responsible for monitoring the company's corporate compliance matters, participating in the development of corporate affairs and carrying out the company secretarial work including the preparation of annual and interim reports and administering board meetings and general meetings. Her responsibilities also encompass interfacing with regulators, legal and financial advisers and screening corporate legal documents as well as supervising assistants to keep proper statutory records and maintain trademark registration for the group.
She emphasised that attaining the HKICS full membership has allowed her to develop a rewarding life-long career in the Chartered Secretary profession.
The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries is an independent professional body with more than 5,100 members, including graduates, and over 2,650 students. The Institute is dedicated to the promotion of its members' role in the formulation and effective implementation of good corporate governance in Hong Kong and throughout the Mainland, as well as the unique value that the Chartered Secretary profession brings to the businesses.
To qualify as a member of HKICS — the international recognised Institute in Hong Kong and Mainland China, applicants who hold a professional qualification or a recognised degree are required to undertake the International Qualifying Scheme, in addition to three to six years of relevant work experience. The International Qualifying Scheme consists of eight papers. Exemptions can be obtained subject to the individuals' academic qualifications.
Ms Sin noted: "I took examinations under the previous Hong Kong Qualifying Scheme that required me to pass 17 papers. This took me 10 years to finish, including the five years I spent studying in Canada."
She revealed that it was a lengthy journey but the opportunities, recognition and promotion that she had gained along the way had been invaluable and worthwhile. "Much akin to our daily work duties, examinations give us the necessary pressure or drive to perform," she said.
Young people preparing for the Chartered Secretary profession should look to developing themselves into well-read and resourceful professionals that are able to demonstrate a superior level of business acumen and competence, Ms Sin said. "Commitment and passion are important. They should have a clear target, commit to it and work hard to achieve it. Support and engagement from family and friends help too," she remarked.
For people who want to develop their career in the Chartered Secretary profession, Ms Sin advised that they should remain persistent particularly during difficult times. "It will take some time for anyone to build up a knowledge repertoire and the skills for the role of a Chartered Secretary. To professionals in the field, keeping abreast of change is like absorbing nutrition to maintain optimal health. People who excel in this profession have one thing in common – they truly embrace the concept of life-long learning," she concluded.