Gear up for a rewarding career in finance and FinTech

Business | 1 Nov 2019 10:08 am

At the recent Hong Kong Financial Services Development Council’s Career Day, students met with industry leaders to gain first-hand information on the variety of career opportunities in finance and cutting-edge financial technology

The Career Day organized by the Financial Services Development Council (FSDC) on October 26 began with a succinct advice by Laurence Li, Chairman of the FSDC in his opening address: “Finance is not about numbers, but what the other side needs and wants. It is always about the other side.” This echoes with the goal of Career Day: to help future employees understand what prospective employers are looking for and vice versa.

The event includes two panel discussions with top practitioners in the field, sharing their career stories, insights on the development of the industry and tips for job seekers.

Opportunities abound in FinTech

At the keynote address “My Story, Career Path and Key Lessons to Learn”, Tim Lui, Chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission, advised job-seekers to work hard, pursue their interests, broaden their horizons, communicate effectively, and “put yourself in the shoes of others”. In particular, they must uphold integrity and honesty.

FinTech is the focus of the closing remarks made by James Lau, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, who compared Hong Kong with successful FinTech countries like Sweden and Estonia. “FinTech and innovation are key to Hong Kong as an international financial center,” he said. He revealed that the government plans to put in HKD100 billion on innovation and technology, and advised Hong Kong students to keep being curious, observant, and abreast of international developments to capture the opportunities ahead.

A highlight of the event is the CV Clinic, where students brought their CVs for a free consultation from human resources professionals from Bowtie Life Insurance Company Limited, Ernst & Young, Euroclear Bank (Hong Kong Branch), Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Standard Chartered Bank (HK) Limited, The Bank of East Asia Limited, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, and Zurich Insurance (Hong Kong).

Panel 1: Career in Finance

Chaired by Mervyn Chow, Partner of Hillhouse Capital Management Limited and Member of the FSDC Human Capital Committee, the panel represents a good mix of industry: investment banking, insurance, private wealth and professional services, all projecting a bright career in finance.

David Lau, Managing Director of J.P. Morgan and Member of the FSDC Policy Research Committee: Knowing what your client wants and how to help them get it is key to success in financial services; similarity, well-equipped candidates who talk to us as if they are already in the industry stand a better chance.

Eric Hui, Chief Executive Officer of Zurich Insurance (Hong Kong): Finance is not only about salespeople, but also risk managers, IT experts and legal professional tips. Good communication and the willingness to learn are vital tips.

Dr Francois Monnet, Head of Private Banking North Asia and Chief Executive Hong Kong Branch of Credit Suisse: Identify your interests and networks; be adaptable and confident; show your passion; and go the extra mile.

Freddie Chui, Partner, Financial Services Industry of Deloitte China: Management consulting and risk management are developing rapidly in traditional auditing firms, and are expected to grow faster than auditing.

Panel 2: Innovation & Technology in Finance

An exciting peek into the future of FinTech was chaired by Christopher Hui, Executive Director of the FSDC.

Lukas Petrikas, Head of Innovation Lab, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited: I started out in finance but am now working with innovative technology that matches buyers with sellers in milliseconds. Career paths can be changed.

Gene Liu, Co-Founder & CEO of LegalX: Look at the problems surrounding you and see what technology can solve them. Don’t always look for ways to make money; instead, think of ways to help others.

Alan Lui, Chief Marketing Officer of Fusion Bank Limited: Virtual banks provide a fundamentally different experience in which they show up at the right time and place. The key is to understand clients’ needs and create a product accordingly.

Fred Ngan, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Bowtie Life Insurance Company Limited: Insurance is traditionally sold via agents or brokers, but the prevalence of cell phones and technology has given rise to virtual insurance companies and helped connect insurance with wealth management through a seamless experience.

A fruitful event for student job-seekers

Olivia Yuan, Economics student, HKU:

Top industry leaders gave interesting and useful opinions on the future of finance in Hong Kong and their career lives that are helpful in deciding whether I should seek opportunities here or in mainland China.

Anson Ho, BBA student, HSUHK:

Real life innovations in finance, virtual bank and virtual insurance have expanded my knowledge.

Carmen Lam, Law student, CUHK:

I came here to explore my career options and expand my network. The career paths of the panelists were intriguing. The experience of the CEO of LegalX gave me confidence to look for a job in finance.

Tom Chan, Statistics student, CUHK:

Experts at the CV Clinic gave recommendations on the format and word choice of my CV, making it more professional.

Eric Ho and Dino Wong, Accounting students, PolyU:

We came here for job-hunting especially in The Big Four. We are happy to be able to ask about the future of CPA and know what prospective employers are expecting at the CV Clinic.

Xavier Thillard, Business and Finance student, HKU:

Inspiring stories, especially Dr Monnet cold calling the head of Corporate Finance and getting an appointment at lunch! I plan to get some years of international finance work experience in Hong Kong before going back to the Netherlands.

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