How to achieve career success in the Chinese financial industry

Alan Li April 21, 2016 3 mins read

We have seen and witnessed a significant transformation and reduction over the years of specific functions within the financial industry in China especially when it comes to middle to back office roles.

These shifts can be seen as a result of continuous scientific and technological advancement, enhancement of compliance requirements from global and local regulatory authorities as well as, of course, frequent economic climate changes. No matter what reason it is, the skill sets financial industry recruiters prefer have been altered greatly in response to all of those changes. So if you plan to find a new job or develop your career in 2016, here are some directions we suggest you to consider:

  • Right career motivation

Career motivation or Career Objectives, theses two clichés are frequently asked by everyone, recruiters, your friends or even yourself. It is something you should always be clear about and cannot ever go wrong when attending interviews. Always be clear about what you want to achieve, at least in the next 3 years, and be realistic and reasonable. I have heard some candidates who worked for a  few years in retail banking and wanted to change to corporate banking, it is possible but your reason should never be “a friend just told me corporate banking would have a brighter future”.

  • Update your compliance knowledge and improve risk awareness

Internet Finance growing rapidly in recently years, but the Ezubao scandal is reminding financial industry practitioners a fact that the essence of internet finance is not internet but still finance, and a core issue financial industry should always pay great attention into is risk and compliance. Recruiters in both internet finance and traditional finance enterprises are prioritising candidates who have knowledge and experience in compliance and experience, not only for front to middle office positions but back office jobs. For example, many financial institutions are setting up IT security positions in response to compliance requirements from local regulatory authorities.

  • Prepare to work around the clock

Many large financial institutions have centralised some of their back office functions into business shared service centres in Hong Kong, Singapore or other locations, such as HR shared service centre, regional IT data centre or regional operation centre. Financial industry professionals now need to prepare to be more flexible in work hours when involving in regional or global project coordination or implementation. This trend has also raised the requirement of English communication skills into a higher level.

  • Client service and communication skills

You will probably notice these two requirements appear in all job descriptions in financial industry, or maybe even in every other industry. For financial professionals, you will be facing will clients in different time zones, dealing with local and global regulatory bodies and reporting to internal stakeholders, you are always communicating. Even when you work in the back office, finance or IT,you will still need to communicate frequently with external stakeholders such as tax bureau and PBOC and CBRC. So a client-orientated attitude and effective communicating skills will definitely increase your value in the financial industry.

  • Certificates and qualifications

Last but not least, it is always important and it will never be too late to get  relevant certificates or additional qualifications. You probably will question how much those certificates would benefit you at this moment, but they are definitely relevant enough to convince your line manager or recruiter that you have enough knowledge in your area and are willing to learn continuously.

Alan Li's picture
Operations Director | Financial Services, Industrial & Life Science Recruitment
ali@morganmckinley.com