Howard is regional director at Michael Page Hong Kong and oversees a number of disciplines including sales, marketing, digital, procurement & supply chain, retail & sourcing, finance, and HR.
Use contracting to network your way into a wealth management role in Hong Kong
I’ve recently moved to Hong Kong and am looking to break into the finance industry, specifically in wealth management. I have passed my CFA level 3 exam, and have about two years of experience as an assistant financial adviser in a large bank in the Philippines. I’ve heard that making it in the industry is all about contacts, but I’m worried that it will take too long to develop relationships – I need to make the rent in the interim. Considering I don’t have a lot of experience, what is the quickest way for me to secure a position in this field?
Given the current economic state in Hong Kong, financial firms are now taking a more prudent approach when it comes to hiring. As such, the employment market is fairly competitive, so it is important to take measures to ensure you stand out.
A good reputation is key to securing a wealth management role. Though it takes time, networking remains one of the most effective ways of landing a job, especially in a new country. Make your job search public and leverage any contacts in the Philippines who may have connections in Hong Kong. Reconnect with them and request referrals – this traditional method is still an effective means to accelerate your search.
Ensure you update your social media accounts to increase your digital presence, create a personal brand, and raise your profile in the market. Having a compelling personal brand is a great way to build credibility in the eyes of peers and potential employers, and is especially essential in a competitive environment.
You may want to take up a contract job to help build up a professional network. With the current market outlook in Hong Kong, we have seen an increased tightening of headcount. Because of this, more employers in the financial industry are adopting a contracted workforce.
Though front office roles such as wealth management are impossible to find on a contract basis, it is important to consider a contract role in the middle-to-back office in the interim. For example, with your CFA certifications, you can explore other roles – such as a financial control analyst or compliance analyst.
Contracting is an attractive way to enter the finance industry and make contact with reputable corporations, and a smart way to broaden your experience and diversify your network.
Recruitment agencies can also help, as they have inroads with employers and can identify opportunities in Hong Kong’s financial services sector.
Whatever your approach, stay organised when sending out multiple emails and attending various meetings. It may help to create an excel spreadsheet to track the status of each application.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Network your way into a wealth management role.