In response to the harsh economic conditions, some organisations focus on surviving the crisis by cutting headcount and expenses rather than investing in future growth. One company however, decided to go against that trend.
OSK Holdings Hong Kong Limited (OSKHHK) is taking advantage of the current market situation to expand the company's marketing efforts and range of services to prepare for the next boom period.
"We have a strong vision for our business strategy and management principles," says Stephen Hui, chief executive officer, OSKHHK. "We've been expanding the equity sales and research teams as well as extending our services into corporate finance, precious metal trading and wealth management since the start of the financial crisis last year."
The expansion plan clearly reflects OSKHHK's long-term strategy of moving into the high net worth customer segment with the services extended both in breadth and depth, according to Mr Hui.
"We aim at building a solid platform that will help establish us in the regional market," Mr Hui explains, "In other words, we are gearing up for the future."
To achieve this, the company has invested extensively in regional advertising over recent months to build up the company's image. "We're a regional financial institution with a good range of services that are supported by our parent group, OSK Investment Bank Berhad, which is an investment bank with a long-history in the Malaysian market," he adds.
Through the parent company's long history and a comprehensive portfolio of services, Mr Hui and his team are positioning OSKHHK as a trustworthy and professional investment company in the region.
Mr Hui notes that the company's research and market analysis services are both a means to support the core businesses in stock trading and wealth management in the Hong Kong office and another route towards achieving strategic goals as a regional finance company.
Since the second-half of last year, OSKHHK has recruited a team of experienced analysts to focus on niche segments such as the small- and medium-sized markets, red chip stocks and resource companies.
Ultimately, this whole expansion plan will pave the way for the group's further development in the mainland market following the opening of its first investment advisory arm in Shanghai last August.
Mr Hui anticipates recruiting about 40 frontline staff in the coming year as part of the expansion plan for retail trading branches and wealth management services.
"Corporate culture and management principles are key recruitment factors. Our staff are our long-term partners," he remarks. "This is clearly demonstrated in our HR policy during the financial crisis, where no pay cuts or layoffs were enforced in our office."
He adds, "We recognise the past contribution our sales team have made to the company," says Mr Hui. "We give them a sense of security and help them become an integral part of the company's future. It's through this management principle and employee relationship that we find our staff wanting to stay with us."
OSKHHK provides professional training as well as a year-end incentive scheme to deserving members of its staff. "With our wide-range of services, job functions across different business units can be offered to candidates to expand their exposure in the industry," he notes.
In executing the recruitment initiative, Mr Hui says the company takes a cautious approach. He emphasises, "While a good industry network is preferred, we don't want candidates who are just looking for quick cash. Rather, we are calling for people with integrity and those who share our corporate vision."
Besides those with experience working in the financial industry, OSKHHK will be looking to recruit fresh graduates this year to fill about 20 trainee positions. "We'll provide systematic training to help develop these graduates into professional financiers," he says.