Non-finance professionals seeking to move into the banking and finance sector face important challenges. One is how to prepare themselves personally to make the transition, and another is how to present themselves to employers.
"Working in the banking environment can be a very different experience for people with a background in other industries. The move needs to be thoroughly planned," says Swapna Gurijala Reddy, Links Recruitment division manager for banking, finance and accounting.
According to her, while a transition into the banking industry is often motivated by remuneration and professional recognition, it is important to formulate a good understanding of the industry and assess any personal adjustments that may be needed. "Someone who holds a senior position in one industry might have to start at a lower level at a bank," says Reddy.
She adds that, to make themselves attractive to employers, candidates can think about taking up an MBA or other finance-related courses at good business schools.
Reddy says that before applying for banking positions, job seekers should work on their resumes.
For those without financial experience, the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) offers a higher diploma in banking and finance, which is recognised by the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB). Should they continue their studies, graduates from the diploma programme are exempted from two core subjects of the HKIB's Accredited Banking Practitioner programme.
The HKIB also offers the Certified Professional Associate and Certified Financial Management Planner qualifications, which meet Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) guidelines.
Eunice Ng, director at Avanza Consulting, Pacific, says that depending on the banking area, she often recommends studying for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification. "The CFA is one of the most respected designations and provides a flexible way to work in many different segments of banking and investment," Ng says.
The CFA Institute says holders are part of a community that signals professionalism to potential employers.
John Mullally, Robert Walters banking manager for alternative finance, advises that job seekers should ensure they stay in touch with relevant developments in the banking industry. "An individual with qualifications that save a bank time and money on training is attractive," he says.