Money Moves

Staying in top condition

by Martin Williams

Further expansion plans spur major recruitment drive

Jason Sadler, managing director — insurance business, Hong Kong
Photo: Wallace Chan

Hong Kong economy continues to gain momentum, and as Jason Sadler, managing director — insurance business, Hong Kong, HSBC says, there has never been a better opportunity to join the insurance industry.

Mr Sadler explains that HSBC Insurance covers four areas: general, medical, life, and retirement benefits. "We are a forerunner in the life business, being number one in MPF and medical and number two in general insurance," he says. "HSBC Insurance employs more than 1,000 people to support the sale of a wide range of insurance products and retirement services through HSBC bank branches, the internet, telesales, brokers and general insurance agents."

Retirement is now a key area since it recently became a major concern in Hong Kong. HSBC Insurance has added SimpleChoice — a new MPF scheme for investors who prefer to let the experts make MPF allocation decisions. Other MPF products have also been extended and a multi-manager structure is in place. These improvements are the result of customer feedback. "We foster close relationships with our customers, understanding and meeting their needs," notes Mr Sadler.

Last year, HSBC Insurance launched a life investment variable annuity product and a whole-life medical plan combining savings and investments. "It depends on personal needs. Clients need to sit down with a professional insurance planner and assess preferences. We have a comprehensive range of products to meet individual savings and protection needs through every stage of life," he adds.

Recruitment drive

"Our business is growing and this gives aspirants a solid career platform," says Mr Sadler. Hence, HSBC Insurance is also meeting its own needs by recruiting more staff for two key positions: insurance specialists, to support sales in bank branches; and sales staff for the employee benefits division. Back office staff are also required.

Recruitment agencies and the media are further avenues for reaching potential employees. An important channel through which HSBC Insurance recruits new staff is via postings on the company's intranet.

The huge recruitment day held last Saturday was the first of its kind for HSBC Insurance. Teams from different sectors of the business took part and potential candidates attended talks, deciding which aspects of HSBC Insurance interested them, and sat interviews. Those who met the job criteria were made offers that day, which made the recruitment process far quicker than typical interview procedures.

Solid ground

Academic qualifications are just part of the selection criteria and more important for some jobs than others. HSBC Insurance also seeks recruits with good communication skills, creativity and integrity. Mr Sadler advises applicants, "Be succinct, specific, and generous in terms of your strengths. Tell us about your proudest achievements. We are looking for people who are motivated, willing to pilot new ideas and passionately involved in the insurance business and the benefits our services bring to everybody in Hong Kong."

Beyond the powerful HSBC brand and the array of sophisticated services on offer are additional reasons for joining HSBC Insurance. "Our global strategy is to make HSBC the best place to work," says Mr Sadler. "We have great career opportunities and training and we make working here enjoyable and fun."

"One of the things we're very proud of is our support for job rotation and career advancement," he adds. Career options include remaining within insurance, moving from the front office to join back office teams and progressing into management. Also possible are lateral movements within HSBC alongside opportunities to work overseas. "HSBC sells insurance products in more than 40 countries globally and is now significantly expanding its insurance operations in Asia with recently commenced insurance operations in Taiwan and Malaysia and soon Korea, China and India," adds Mr Sadler. "Staff at different levels have opportunities for secondment to overseas operations, for short periods of two to three months, or for two to three years if they so wish," he details.

HSBC Insurance offers extensive in-house training with incentive schemes including bonuses and long service awards. There are family fun days and opportunities to participate in charitable activities. Channels including the intranet and newsletters keep staff informed of company developments such as product launches, as well as industry news. "There is also face-to-face communication," concludes Mr Sadler. "Open discourse recognises staff achievements."

Taken from Career Times 07 March 2008, p. A2
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