Career Advice Job Market Report

Career Forum Apr 2016 highlights: HKIB offers young jobseekers a path to professional success in Hong Kong’s banking sector

The banking industry is one of the pillars of Hong Kong’s economy, and one of the most popular career choices for local graduates. Luckily for attendees of the Career Forum, the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) was on hand to share advice on entering the industry.

WH Yeung, HKIB’s deputy general manager of professional competence development and membership, shared his thoughts on developing a successful career in banking in a presentation to young jobseekers.

Based on his more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Yeung noted that the model for banking operations has moved away from the traditional model of interest income. Instead, it is relying more on non-interest income, such as service charges and handling fees from making investments for clients.

“With the banking industry getting more competitive, this is inevitable, and banks need to look for more income sources,” he said. “Hong Kong, which has one of the freest economies in the world, is presenting a lot of opportunities in the banking industry.”

Yeung went on to talk about the different banking areas that are currently in strong need of talent. The first was compliance. With banks and financial institutions around the world pledging to work together to strengthen effort on anti-money-laundering, the industry is looking for talent in the compliance and risk management department.

“You have heard of recent cases of financial institutions facing huge fines because they have not done a good job with compliance,” he said. “Banks are certainly looking to beef up in that area.”

Another up-and-coming area for opportunity in banking is fintech. The use of online banking is growing leaps and bounds, creating a lot of opportunity for IT talent, especially for those specialising in cybersecurity.

Fee-based banking services will continue to be a trend in the future, bringing demand for talent in wealth management roles, such as relationship managers.

Yeung added that for bankers, the road to education does not end with a bachelor’s degree.

He explained that the HKIB plays a crucial role for graduates and banking professionals in moving up the career ladder. As well as offering up-to-date training programmes and qualification accreditation in core banking skills, it also covers areas including personal development and language training.

For fresh graduates, the most common qualification needed is the Associate of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (AHKIB), which requires graduates to take a series of examinations and to have three years of banking or financial experience.

Yeung explained that the first step is earning the Accredited Banking Practitioner (ABP) designation, which requires completion of the advanced diploma in banking and financial services and a year of relevant working experience.

The ABP examination covers essential knowledge required by every banking practitioner, including banking services, professional ethics, accounting and law in banking, financial systems, and risk management.

The next step is completing a professional diploma in banking and financial services to earn the Certified Professional (CP) designation.

Yeung told his audience that the AHKIB programme provides all-round knowledge in banking and grooms industry professionals for managerial positions.

This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Banking on your future.