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JP Morgan banks on talent

Published on Thursday, 13 Jan 2011
Photo: Edward Wong
Shun Pang

The three-year graduate training scheme for private banking analysts offered by JP Morgan allows participants to explore the sector’s businesses and products, and client relations.

Shun Pang, managing director of JP Morgan Private Wealth Management, says graduate trainees are usually recruited following open-day presentations at Hong Kong universities or through informal social events where they are invited to meet senior managers. Candidates are invited to submit résumés and are shortlisted for a formal interview.

He says graduate placements are not offered purely based on academic accomplishments. “The main goal is to ensure there is the right fit between the graduate trainee and the organisation,” he says.

There is also no limit on the number of graduate trainees the bank is prepared to accept. “We are committed to recruiting and training our own pool of talent, which also boosts the pool of talent in Hong Kong,” Pang adds.

Graduate trainees can gain exposure to senior management though mentoring programmes, learn different processes, review finance and accounting rules, improve computer skills and participate in networking events.

To improve their communication skills, they are invited to participate in regular morning meetings when members of the private banking team gather to discuss and explore strategies and ideas.

Pang says ideal candidates should display an interest in financial markets, analytical skills, maturity, strength of character, a strong focus on customer service and excellent communication skills. Those who participate in community events, charity work and leadership projects can also improve their chances of being offered a place.

For those with an interest in the private banking industry, Pang encourages them to widen their horizons by studying global affairs, art, music, sports and culture. He says it is rare for a client relationship to be based wholly on financial services, adding that it can take many years to nurture a close relationship built on trust, friendship, mutual respect and common interests.

“Our graduate programme is comprehensive and very structured, and provides invaluable access to each department and the issues faced by each function,” he says.

“At each stage, trainees are supported and know what they are expected to achieve. After three years, they should have a very good understanding of the various financial operations. Therefore, it is the soft skills, such as communication, working as a team player and a genuine interest in looking after clients, that are equally important.”

Recovery will bring strong hiring growth

Banking and finance  

Despite last month's seasonal dip, Hong Kong hiring trends point to the sustained recovery of the labour market.

With the financial markets booming in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong and Singapore, we anticipate a continuous increase in hiring in the banking and finance sector this year. Financial institutions are growing their teams, particularly hunting for revenue generators, including relationship managers for private and corporate banking. Front-office teams have expanded to capitalise on market conditions, meaning that middle and back offices must add resources to cope with growing demand.

Employers are constantly seeking professionals with an accounting background, particularly audit and compliance. Accounting firms are keen to hire professionals with skills in audit, internal control, compliance, risk management and financial reporting.

With more mergers and acquisitions, and the resurgence in initial public offerings, the banking sector will continue to be buoyant, so demand for corporate finance and financial professionals will be trending upwards. Greater concern over risk management will boost hiring plans in compliance and internal controls.

Isabella Tan, head of banking, finance and accounting, Manpower Professional

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