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Banks must find winning formulas

Amid rising operational costs, increasing customer expectations and evolving regulatory developments, the annual conference held by the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) will focus on the challenges and opportunities in the banking industry and how banks can plan winning formulas.

Patrick Fung, chairman of the HKIB Executive Committee, says the annual conference is taking place at a strategic time in the banking-industry calendar.

“This is the time of year when most banks are engaged in their planning activities. I am sure there will be plenty of discussion and comprehensive insights to provide delegates with actionable initiatives they can use to help plan the year ahead,” says Fung, who is also the chairman and CEO of Wing Hang Bank.

“The conference is designed to inform and create awareness and by so doing, support and further strengthen the opportunities available to Hong Kong’s banking community,” he adds.

The HKIB’s flagship event is aimed at senior and mid-tier management executives. The one-day conference is expected to play host to more than 500 delegates, including top bankers from the mainland, Macau and elsewhere in the region.

Based on the theme “Finding the New Winning Formula”, the conference includes a plenary session and specialist panel discussions, which will look at various aspects of the banking industry from both macro and micro perspectives.

Fung says that the conference evolves each year and builds on the successes of previous years. For example, the keynote speech delivered by Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, he explains, is now keenly looked forward to. “This is the sixth year we have organised the event, which continues to grow in strength and content,” he says.

As well as identifying winning formulas, the conference will host panel and Q&A sessions that will tackle issues facing corporate and commercial businesses, retail and private banking, and developments in risk management and operations.

A CEO panel discussion, offering insights on “The Way Forward for the Hong Kong Banking Industry”, will include Anita Fung, group general manager and CEO for Hong Kong at HSBC; Gao Yingxin, executive director and CEO of Bank of China (Hong Kong); Weber Lo, country officer and CEO for Hong Kong and Macau at Citibank; and Sebastian Paredes, CEO of DBS Bank (Hong Kong).

The conference also includes a presentation focusing on how banks in Hong Kong can capitalise on opportunities being created by the new Qianhai special economic zone – dubbed South China’s Manhattan.

Ma Weihua, chairman of Wing Lung Bank, will offer his insights on drivers for the next banking revolution.

As in previous years, the conference will focus on issues and concepts relevant to the city’s banking industry and the wider community, Fung says.

Arthur Yuen, deputy chief executive at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), will explain the need for stronger risk governance in a new regulatory landscape. Barry Chan, associate partner for the financial services sector at IBM Global Business Services, examines the potential of social business from a banking angle.

Fung says the event will also highlight developments surrounding other key topics for the industry, including Hong Kong’s expanding wealth management and private banking industry, and the growing role the SAR plays in supporting offshore renminbi (RMB) activities.

According to Fung, Hong Kong’s offshore RMB business and the geographical proximity to the mainland are strategic competitive advantages.

He says Hong Kong’s offshore RMB business, geographical proximity to the mainland, mature financial infrastructure and effective regulatory regime are key strategic strengths.

“Overall, Hong Kong’s banking industry is in good shape, but we do need to build on our strengths and take advantage of our opportunities,” Fung says.

He adds that the rapid development of e-channels and mobile technology is creating both challenges and opportunities for the local banking industry.

“We have moved very quickly from engaging with customers through fixed line, to internet and now increasingly to smart phones and tablet devices,” Fung says.

E-channel facilities provide process scalability for banks. For instance, personal loan applications can now be made online through smart phones.

To maintain the sustainability of Hong Kong’s banking industry, Fung believes it is important to attract, train and retain a pipeline of professional banking expertise. “We are in competition with other industry sectors to attract the best people, so it is important we gain the attention of young talent as early as possible,” says Fung, who would like to see banking concepts introduced in university programmes at an earlier stage.

In January this year, the HKIB’s professional banking qualifications programmes were accredited by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications. (HKCAAVQ). Fung says the accreditation provides academic status for qualification holders, and could help banking professionals to navigate a clearer path for their career progression. The HKIB’s Qualifications Framework from level four to six is comparable to the master’s degree programmes offered by local universities.

HKIB Annual Banking Conference Highlights

Finding the New Winning Formula
Date and time
Sep 9, 2013 (Monday), 9am-5pm
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai
Opening Keynote The New Winning Formula for Hong Kong
Regulatory Keynote Need for Stronger Risk Governance in a New Regulatory Landscape
China’s Manhattan The Qianhai Opportunities for Hong Kong Banks
Keynote Speech The Next Banking Revolution
Panel Discussion The Way Forward for the Hong Kong Banking Industry
Afternoon Streams Retail Banking, Commercial and Private Banking, and Risk Management, Compliance and Operations