The first bachelor's degree to train students to work in major sectors of the territory's financial services industry will be introduced by Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Course leaders said graduates would be ideal candidates for more than 8,000 new managerial positions expected to be created by 2001, in banking, insurance, treasury management, investment services, fund management and corporate finance. It would be the first bachelor programme in Hong Kong dedicated to these areas, said Assistant Professor John Lee Wai-sing of the Department of Business Studies. The course, which will take its first batch of students in the autumn, will let second years focus on one or two areas, while getting a 'good grounding' in the rest. 'Finance is a very general term and degree courses in finance have a narrow focus on fund management and the behaviour of financial instruments and markets,' he said. 'The new course, on the other hand, aims to provide graduates who are well-versed in the idiosyncratic features of the financial services sector and at the same time capable of applying the more general business knowledge and functions within the sector.' The department studied similar courses in Britain, Australia and the United States and surveyed the needs of the Hong Kong market. Professor Lee said graduates should have no difficulty in passing professional banking and insurance examinations. 'The syllabus has much similarity to the study material used by the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Britain and other professional bodies in the financial services sector,' he said. 'Unfortunately, many of the graduates who work in the financial sector do not sit for the professional exams, which aim to keep the standards. 'The course incorporates the practical aspects required by the profession but on a more advanced, academic level,' he added. Among the programme's unique elements are financial services operations, foreign exchange and finance for international trade, life insurance and securities regulation. The programme will include compulsory courses in English for professional purposes and written Chinese. There would be a strong emphasis on examples from the territory and its international and Chinese orientation, said Professor Lee. 'This would be in line with our motto that business education offered by the PolyU should be for business in Hong Kong, rather than about business,' said Professor Howard Davies, also from the business studies department.