Consultants offer edge in finance sector rivalry
In the ultra-competitive financial sector, corporations are always looking for ways to improve and to outperform rivals. As professionals with timely industry information and specialised knowledge in specific areas, consultants obviously add value to a business.
Rita Xiao Wenhui, a consultant from Stirling Finance, expects the market demand for consultants to continue to rise as specific expertise becomes more and more important in the financial area. After working for the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, she decided to delve deeper into the area of finance, which is her main interest.
“As a consultant, my main duty is to provide clients with industry news by producing monthly newsletters. To provide the best information, I follow industry news very closely. Every morning I go through the finance sections of various papers to keep myself up to date,” Xiao says.
Xiao said her education background in finance has helped her a great deal in adapting to the role of consultant.
“One major part of our daily job is to conduct research and prepare reports. I graduated from City University of Hong Kong, majoring in finance, and obtained my master’s degree in economics from the University of Hong Kong,” she says.
“During my student days, I took part in many competitions, such as the investment research competition run by the Hong Kong Society of Financial Analysts – which requires good research, analysis and writing skills – and those turned out to be very handy for my current job.”
A good consultant needs to be skilled at research and ready to go networking in order to acquire information from other industry professionals. Apart from daily research work in the office, Xiao also needs to attend events and conferences for new information, and meet clients and industry players.
“Networking was never my strength, I was afraid of going out at the very beginning. However, from my boss I learned how to interact with different people and now I find it much more interesting,” she says.
Xiao’s regular working hours are from 9am to 7pm but sometimes she needs to work overtime, especially when there are urgent projects in hand.
“Recently, I published a book on investment funds in China with my boss, Stuart Leckie, who is very famous as a China expert in this area. I worked a lot of overtime when I was writing the book.
“Consultants are usually very independent, so we tend to be flexible regarding time management, as long as we can meet the deadlines,” she says.