Career Advice Recruitment tips

Widening the training net

In an era of increasing regulation and operational complexity, banking practitioners need the support of accreditation and training programmes that reinforce talent retention and help drive career development.

“A successful career in the banking industry requires a good understanding of the sector and the current challenges it faces,” says Carrie Leung, CEO of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB).

“Our professional training and accreditation programmes are recognised as essential components in raising bankers’ competencies and ethical awareness, while strengthening their expertise and customer service.”

A key feature of HKIB training and accreditation programmes is the way they are tailored to meet the latest industry needs. “We have a very strong relationship with the banking industry and regulators,” Leung says. HKIB has been supporting Hong Kong’s banking sector since 1963.

Leung says that HKIB programmes, with on-the-job training, support life-long learning initiatives and provide clear career paths. “To succeed in an increasingly demanding banking environment, continuous education is a key issue,” she says. She adds that HKIB helps members achieve this by offering courses designed from a global perspective that encompasses regional and local practices.

Career opportunities currently being offered by the banking sector are increasingly targeting candidates from a wider range of backgrounds. “When recruiting these days, banks are looking beyond those with a finance background. They need IT people, human resources managers, industry-segment experts and legal professionals,” Leung says.

Individuals with banking experience can also move into insurance, securities and other areas of finance. “There is always room for high-calibre people with ambition and aptitude. Banks and other financial institutions are prepared to offer them attractive career options,” Leung says.

While an estimated 160,000 banking jobs have been shed worldwide recently by major banks, Leung says the industry in Asia still offers a diverse range of career options. She says product diversification and increasing complexity and specialisation requires a larger pool of expertise. “Fast-paced changes, including the expansion of RMB products and services, are constantly reshaping Hong Kong’s banking sector,” she says.

As the education and training hub for Hong Kong’s banking industry, the HKIB plays a leading role in both helping groom the careers of existing Hong Kong banking practitioners and attracting new talent to the industry.

Its Accredited Banking Practitioner (ABP) programme allows non-banking individuals and those new to the sector to advance their careers within the banking industry. The programme is also open to undergraduates studying other subjects to equip them with knowledge needed to enter the industry.

Topics covered include financial systems and risk management, banking services, law in banking, and basics in accounting.

“Our ABP programme covers all the core elements of the banking sector and acts as a platform leading to our flagship Associate of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers [AHKIB] certification,” Leung says. Candidates who complete the ABP programme are awarded a diploma in banking and financial services.

The institute currently provides four categories of qualifications and designations for members with different academic backgrounds and career paths.

In addition to the ABP and AHKIB programmes, there is also a Certified Professional programme for those working in the management of credit, operations, treasury and wealth, and a Certified Financial Management Planner programme.

“Our programmes are designed to meet the needs of the next generation of banking professionals,” Leung says.

In response to Hong Kong’s rising status as an offshore RMB centre, the HKIB has been organising seminars, training activities and accreditation programmes. It is also working with the Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute and the Treasury Markets Association on developing professional qualifications for private bankers in Hong Kong.

During his presentation at the HKIB Distinguished Speaker Series last summer, Norman Chan, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, outlined the authority’s views on private banking development, including a new professional qualification. He said that under a new framework, industry practitioners could take different courses provided by professional bodies and ultimately acquire a professional qualification that is widely recognised and accredited in Hong Kong and abroad.