Money Moves

Working smart creates business benefits

by Wing Kei

K K Cheung, director, regional business development, Investec Asset Management Asia Limited
Photo: Ringo Lee

The best asset managers know that success comes from working smart. Foresight and careful consideration are needed to evaluate which investment options are most suitable for individual customers, but the payback comes in having satisfied clients who are subsequently more than happy to develop long-term relationships and make referrals.

"The sign of someone who works smart is that they are good at time management, have an extensive knowledge of financial products, and always understand the client's investment needs," says K K Cheung, director of regional business development for Investec Asset Management Asia Limited.

"This is what we look for when hiring, and we also target people who are adaptable, can generate new business opportunities, and recognise the importance of keeping costs under control."

Mr Cheung says that asset management is a competitive field in Hong Kong, but that the company has made a niche for itself by maximising the investment potential in different countries. This makes it important to have good market sense in order to spot trends and investment opportunities.

"We are slowly increasing our headcount in Hong Kong, but are very picky about finding the right calibre of professionals," he adds. "They must really understand the market and not simply have certain academic qualifications for the job."

Investec is a specialist international banking group that provides a diverse range of financial products and services for a select client base. In Hong Kong, it has a fairly flat corporate structure built around small teams and an open office plan, which helps to bring staff and managers closer together.

"That promotes better communication and has created a happy and cohesive work environment," Mr Cheung says. "Many important decisions are now based on team consensus and, of course, we welcome different ideas and opinions."

This open approach also makes it easier for new recruits to see how the sales and marketing process works and to learn about the different investment needs of clients and the kind of back-up support available. It also explains why Investec requires staff to be good team players with the ability to multi-task and communicate well.

Although the China market has great potential, the company is taking a cautious approach to expansion to be sure of understanding the different rules and regulations. "We are keeping a close eye on developments and waiting for the right time to make our move," says Mr Cheung. "The learning curve is very steep."

Taken from Career Times 06 October 2006, p. A2
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