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Sharing from our former MTs/”Oldies”

Carmen Chu
Executive Director (Banking Conduct)

  • Responsible for the supervision and development of business conduct of authorized institutions, licensing matters, and oversight of financial market infrastructure

Carmen is among the first batch of the HKMA’s MTs. She was working in the banking industry when she came across the recruitment advertisement. She decided to apply for the post because she was interested in public policy. Moreover, she thought she could put what she had learnt into practice as the courses she took in the university were relevant to the work of the HKMA.

One might have the impression that the work of a public entity is very boring and tedious. Yet Carmen has a different view. Though she has already been working at the HKMA for many years, she still finds the work very challenging. Her most unforgettable experience is participation in the internationalisation of Renminbi. This policy of financial liberalization was so important that there was no room for mistakes. The regulators in both places have stepped up their communication and cooperation in the process. It took years from policy design and formulation and deliberation to implementation. Despite the seemingly endless process, the outcomes were a great encouragement to Carmen. Since the introduction of renminbi business in 2004, Hong Kong has become the leading offshore renminbi business centre in the world.

There are many opportunities to go on overseas business trips or station overseas. Carmen was seconded to the World Bank Office in Beijing from 1998 to 1999, responsible for conducting research. She got the opportunity to meet with various Mainland institutions and officials during her time in Beijing, establishing some very valuable personal connections that were conducive to the development of offshore Renminbi business in Hong Kong by the HKMA later.

In addition, as the HKMA is a member of the Bank for International Settlements, staff will have the opportunity to attend meetings in Basel, taking part in the discussions with senior officials from other central banks and exchanging views on latest global financial market conditions and regulatory developments. Carmen thinks that these are valuable experiences and opportunities that are not available in the private sector. Another unexpected reward from working at the HKMA is the friends from different parts of the world she has made when attending various overseas meetings and events.

Carmen (right) attends the opening ceremony of an event under the HKMA’s Consumer Education Programme
Caption: Carmen (right) attends the opening ceremony of an event under the HKMA’s Consumer Education Programme.


Vincent Lee
Executive Director (External)

  • Responsible for promoting the development of Hong Kong as an international financial centre, RMB business, and keeping pace with the latest global regulatory developments by participating in various international forums to advance financial stability

Vincent is also among the first batch of the HKMA’s MTs. He admitted that he joined the MT Program because of the competitive remuneration package and had not given much thought to what exactly central banking work was about. Yet he has been with the HKMA for more than 20 years.

Vincent has worked in various departments at the HKMA, including economic research, banking supervision and enforcement. He has also served as the Administrative Assistant to the Chief Executive and was posted to the HKMA’s New York Representative Office. He says, “It is very fulfilling whenever I see the policies which I am involved in have contributed to positive market developments.”

As a regulatory authority in one of the world’s premier financial centers, what qualities does the HKMA expect its MTs to possess? Vincent thinks that the candidates should demonstrate that he/she is able to “boldly hypothesize and carefully verify”. When formulating policies, in addition to regulatory requirements, the HKMA has to take into account the impact on the market. Therefore, the MTs should have an inquiring mind to research and analyse different information. All these will help devise policies that are both effective and acceptable to the market.

Let’s look at the Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office (“IFFO”) which Vincent has participated in its establishment as an example. Just like many others, at first Vincent queried whether Hong Kong could provide the foundation for the facilitation of infrastructure financing. However, after deliberating with various stakeholders and studying the related information and facts carefully, he found that there should be great potential for the development of this highly specialized area of investment.

Then what kind of people is unsuitable for applying for the MT positions? Vincent thinks that there are two kinds of people. First are those who seek short-term returns. “We have to be committed to our society and policy work is very time-consuming and painstaking. We are not focusing on short-term results.” Second are those who sit in ivory towers. “We have to take into account the actual situation in order to find feasible solutions and theories can only get you so far.”

On work-life balance, Vincent is a long distance running enthusiast. He trains in his spare time. Together with other colleagues representing the HKMA, Vincent’s team has once won the champion in the corporate category of an open race. He says, “If I have not joined the HKMA, I would not have become friends with other running and hiking enthusiasts in the Authority.” He has formed a hiking team with some colleagues, organising hiking activities from time to time to share the joy of hiking with other colleagues in the HKMA.

The HKMA Corporate Team, comprised of Vincent (left) and other colleagues, is the Champion of the Men’s category in the Raleigh Challenge - Wilson Trail 2013 “Adventurer — Night Course”.
Caption: The HKMA Corporate Team, comprised of Vincent (left) and other colleagues, is the Champion of the Men’s category in the Raleigh Challenge - Wilson Trail 2013 “Adventurer — Night Course”.

Last revision date: 19 September 2017
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