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Field day for financial analysts

The latest perspectives, concepts, research, and practical solutions to Asian and global investment challenges were put under the spotlight this week during the first Asia Pacific Investment Conference organised by the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, and the Hong Kong Society of Financial Analysts (HKSFA).

Key speakers included Professor KC Chan, Hong Kong's secretary for financial services and the treasury, Blackhorse Asset Management's Richard Duncan, JPMorgan's Jing Ulrich, and Professor Patrick Chovanec, from Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management.

Ashvin Vibhakar, managing director of Asia Pacific operations at the CFA Institute, said conference speakers focused on the current economic situation in Europe and the United States, and how Asia Pacific real estate, currency and economic issues play an increasingly critical role in the global market place.

"Because of growth associated with the two big players of China and India, and Asia in general, we see more businesses moving to this part of the world, which is creating opportunities," said Vibhakar. 

Jimmy Jim, HKSFA president, said the conference had focused on the right issues and the right level of discussion to provide participants with insights relevant to the profession. "The combination of the wide agenda and knowledge of the speakers will help our members spot opportunities to expand their businesses and raise professionalism," said Jim. "The conference was organised to give participants a forum to network and exchange views, while gaining a picture of challenges and opportunities," he added.

Jim said the conference also highlighted how the Asia-Pacific region is interconnected with the rest of the world. "While many are looking at Asia to provide solutions to economic structural problems elsewhere, Asia can only reach its full potential when the entire world is booming," said Jim.

Another important issue emerging from the conference is the opinion that Asia cannot afford to be complacent, Jim added. "The way Asian governments and economies handle the balance between economic growth, inflation and social welfare over the next few years will be crucial if we are to have sustainable growth or face stagnation," he said.

During the conference, using examples of high-profile Asian business families which have waged court battles over assets and ownership, Christian Stewart, managing director at Family Legacy Asia, said internal factors rather than external issues were largely responsible for most family conflicts.

"Problems are often linked to a lack of documentation regarding inheritance and succession issues," said Stewart.

He added this was often compounded by the personal and highly centralised management structure that many family companies were operated under, and which could lead to the company splitting up.