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Sharing from other MTs

Sharing from other MTs

Why did you join the HKMA’s MT programme?

Tiffany: I majored in Economics in the university, but I am also very interested in public policy. The chance to work for the HKMA fits both my background and my interest. The HKMA’s functions cover various areas, including maintaining monetary and banking stability, managing the Exchange Fund and developing financial infrastructure. Therefore, the MT programme is quite diversified. One would have a good understanding of the HKMA’s functions and operations after completing the two-year programme which consists of three postings.

Angela: I was working with a bank before joining the HKMA. While I am interested in the financial field, I also want to serve the community and so the switch to the public sector. One merit of the MT programme is that one gets to understand the HKMA’s work within a relatively short period of time. Through job rotations, one can find out his/her interest and work areas where one’s potential and capabilities are put to the best use.

Joshua: Thinking hard day in day out to make money for a commercial firm is not really my cup of tea. Instead, I’d like to make better use of my knowledge and effort to serve the society by contributing to the maintenance of our banking and financial stability. The MT programme is attractive as it offers the chance to understand the different functions of the HKMA in addition to the fact that on successful completion of the two-year programme, one will be promoted to be a Manager.

Bill: I joined an investment bank after graduating from college. But I am always more interested in the public sector, as I hope to serve the community. So I applied for the MT post without hesitation once I spotted the HKMA’s ad.

Phillip: The HKMA very often acts as the agenda setter regarding most issues. Its role is more pro-active, bringing more job satisfaction.

Doris: The HKMA’s unique role as the central banking institution in Hong Kong means that we are the policy setter and regulator regarding many financial activities and have the responsibility to act in the best interest of the public and strive to maintain Hong Kong’s status as an IFC. The work is always intellectually challenging, exciting, meaningful and fulfilling.

Jason: I studied for a finance master's after college, so the chance to join the HKMA and apply what I have learned is very appealing. The rotational MT programme also brings me the invaluable experience of working in multiple divisions that perform vastly different but equally important central banking functions. In addition, the immense satisfaction that comes with serving the community at large draws me to the job.

 

You all had worked with a private company before coming to the HKMA. What is the biggest difference between the two in terms of the working environment?

Tiffany: The switch from the private sector to the public sector is quite interesting, involving a totally different way of thinking. In an investment bank, we only need to work out how to seek the highest returns and beat our competitors with our projects. We rarely need to consider the possible implications outside of the company. At the HKMA, we have to make more in-depth and comprehensive consideration and analyses. For example, when I was at the Banking Policy Department, our supervisor would remind us that we have to carefully consider the potential implications of our every suggestion to the Supervisory Policy Manual for banks and the financial industry in Hong Kong.

Bill: We have a stronger sense of job security. In comparison with the private sector, economic cycles and changes in market situations will not have too much impact on us.

Tiffany: I agree. It’s hard to build a sense of belonging when one always has to worry about being laid off.

Joshua: This relates to the corporate culture and environment. With commercial firms, colleagues seek to outshine others whereas colleagues at the HKMA have a strong sense of mission - working for the public interest. Moreover, the working environment is more congenial, with a better work-life balance.

Bill: There are a host of investment banks, consultancies and accountancy firms in Hong Kong. But the HKMA is unique, tasked with unique missions, and often working with special institutions on special projects. This valuable experience may not be available in other companies. For example, while accompanying our senior executives to some meetings overseas, I got the chance to meet with some key figures in the financial industry. In addition, as MTs will be posted to different departments, they will be able to broaden their experiences and meet more colleagues.

Phillip: I had accompanied our senior executives on an overseas trip following the UK’s referendum on leaving the EU. We met with various financial institutions and learned about the possible impact of Brexit on these institutions. I would also like to point out that as our daily work at the HKMA is quite challenging, we often have the chance to put our strengths to work.

 

How do you adapt yourselves to the different postings?

Phillip: Each department requires different expertise. But the HKMA has a relatively consistent culture and thinking mode, which, if grasped, can help us adjust more easily when transferred to a new department.

Doris: The adaptation is indeed quite challenging as each department requires very different skill sets. An MT is expected to learn quickly in each rotation and may sometimes be assigned to work on completely new projects. One of my previous rotations was to the Fintech Facilitation Office, which was set up in March 2016 to facilitate the development of the Fintech ecosystem in Hong Kong. Lacking a tech background, I had very little understanding of the concepts behind technologies such as “Blockchain”, “Artificial Intelligence”, “APIs”, “Digital Currency” and “Cloud Computing” and found it quite hard to pick up the various tasks assigned to me at the beginning. Fortunately, our tech savvy colleagues were all very friendly and approachable. Their support and guidance made the whole transition a lot easier. My supervisors and mentor also played a large part helping me with the adaptation by sharing with me their experience and offering me career advice.

Jason: MTs at the HKMA work closely with the more experienced colleagues of the divisions they are posted to. As long as one can be proactive and learn from other colleagues on the job, the transition period need not be very tough.

 

In what way does your job serve the community?

Angela: I am now with the Banking Conduct Department. So I can witness closely how the HKMA seeks to protect the interests of the general public through the supervision of banks. For example, a fitness group closed down recently, causing public concerns about refunds and termination of autopay arrangements. Through explaining the different payment methods and banks’ general approach in handling the issue to the public and taking part in other follow-up work, I have gained a deep sense about the importance of my work to the public. We also work on promoting the spirit of financial inclusion, such as encouraging banks to launch video teller machines and mobile branches. These are all relevant to the daily life of the whole community.

Doris: Quite a lot actually. Take the Fintech Facilitation Office (FFO) as an example. One of its major roles is to act as a regulatory interface. Almost every day, colleagues in the FFO would meet with different tech firms and start-ups to collect their views and discuss our regulatory stance. The FFO has conducted or co-organised many outreaching activities, thematic seminars, site visits and competitions to bring together market participants and interested parties to exchange innovative Fintech ideas. The FFO has also kick started a number of projects on topics such as Blockchain and Know Your Customer Utility, which when implemented, may cause a huge change to the operation of certain fields, such as trade finance, mortgage valuation and account opening, lifting the current banking standard to a new level.

Jason: As part of my posting in the Banking Conduct Department, I was involved in the efforts to address difficulties some bank customers had experienced in opening bank accounts. The HKMA was very responsive and set up a special team to address the issue, including the launch of a designated webpage and email account. While helping to maintain the webpage and analyse and respond to the enquiries received, I gained a better understanding of the HKMA's full attention and commitment to this important issue involving general public’s access to basic banking services.

 

Do you have any advice for the potential applicants for the MT post?

Tiffany: MTs have to be versatile. If you are a fast learner and highly flexible, there are many opportunities in the HKMA. For example, many of the colleagues in the Reserves Management Department come from the private sector with extensive working experience. However, the management will not dismiss the MTs because of their lack of experience. On the other hand, there are plenty of opportunities for the MTs to learn and grow.

Joshua: Good communication skills are very important. In particular, ability to write accurately and clearly is a must. After all, we are a regulatory authority and proper documentation is essential. Therefore, no matter which department you are working in, writing skill is a prerequisite.

Doris: Think carefully whether you have the passion to work in the public sector. Being passionate and committed to serving the community is the key to developing a long term career in the HKMA.

Jason: A genuine interest in local and regional social and economic issues would be very helpful. And in addition to keeping abreast of the news, it is equally important to try to analyse the issues from the perspectives of a policymaker.

Last revision date: 19 September 2017
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