Pact makes dual qualification simpler

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2008, 12:00am

The agreement helps to expand industry recognition of Hong Kong's banking professionals in the international arena

A mutual recognition agreement was signed in April between the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) and the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (CIOBS). It means members of HKIB's Associateship Examination (AHKIB) and CIOBS Chartered Banker can obtain dual qualifications through a simple and direct conversion programme.

Following the agreement, applicants don't have to go through the whole set of examinations, which carry 10 credits, because they can apply for exemptions. HKIB said the agreement represented a major milestone in expanding industry recognition of Hong Kong's banking professionals in the global environment. AHKIB, with a history of more than 40 years, is a prestigious qualification for banking professionals.

It is also the only professional examination recognised and endorsed by banks established in Hong Kong.

Many banking professionals have been AHKIB qualified and have become the backbone of Hong Kong's banking sector.

'We are extremely pleased to see that the HKIB and the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland have reached this important mutual recognition agreement, which signifies Hong Kong's banking and finance professionals are well qualified and have the same international vision and global knowledge that are imperative to any global banking operations,' said Stanley Wong Yuen-fai, director and deputy general manager of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) and chairman of the membership and professional development committee of HKIB.

'This is a major endorsement of the HKIB's commitment to provide world-class education and training services to the industry. Now our professionals are offered expanded international horizons to pursue their professional development,' Mr Wong said.

Chartered Banker, created and promoted aggressively by CIOBS, the world's oldest banking institute, is Britain's most important qualification in the banking and financial sector.

The qualification is equivalent to a master's degree under the Scottish qualifications framework and is endorsed and supported by leading global banks in Britain and Europe.

CIOBS chief executive Simon Thompson said at the signing ceremony: 'We are committed to raising the standards of education in the banking industry to provide better qualified banking professionals, which will help create even better banks and better banking systems.

'We are proud to be forming this partnership with the HKIB which shares the same commitment, and this shows that both institutes are working together to support and build a global profession that everyone can be proud of.'

The world's economic and financial development has shifted focus into Asia, influenced by China's strong economic growth and rising capital power.

The mainland's banking industry has also seen exponential growth in recent years, which is reflected by the surging demand for qualified professionals. AHKIB, which has been introduced to the mainland banking industry, will be a key vehicle to help upgrade international practices and standards there.

Carrie Leung, chief executive of HKIB, said: 'Though AHKIB already represents an internationally recognised qualification we are committed to restructuring and modifying it further by accommodating new features and required working competences established under the Qualifications Framework (QF).'

QF is an initiative led by the Hong Kong government to help academic, vocational and continuing education by establishing a voluntary network of learning pathways to enable sustainable manpower development.

'By sharing our resources, experience and expertise with our counterparts in China and other major financial markets, we are playing an important part in building a global banking industry that benefits all industry practitioners and everyone using banking services,' Ms Leung said.

Other than the AHKIB professional qualification, applicants can also try the Certified Financial Marketing Professional (CFMP) programme. According to the HKIB, the CFMP programme is Hong Kong's first financial planning programme which put together banking law, banking products and services into one.

HKIB said apart from individual banking products, such as mortgage loans, deposits certificates, personal investment products, account types and management, the programme also covered commercial banking services, treasury products and risk management. Students can learn about regulation, financial markets, insurance and taxation regime in Hong Kong and the mainland. Students can either choose the self-learning programme or attend the tuition programme.