The success of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers can be gauged by the quality of those who have undertaken its courses and put this knowledge into practice. One example is Steven Tan Son Jun, deputy manager, corporate finance, of the China Development Finance Co (CDFC), who passed the HKIB Levels I and II while working with the Bank of China (BoC) and its joint-venture partners in Shenzhen. Mr Tan now specialises in preparing initial public offerings for China's state-owned enterprises that want to go public. CDFC is a wholly owned subsidiary and investment arm of the BoC's Hong Kong branch. Its main business is fund management, corporate finance and loan syndication. 'My job is to help restructure these companies so that they are suitable to be listed in Hong Kong and raise funds,' he said. Mr Tan, from Shenzhen, obtained a Bsc (Economics) from the University of Wuhan and then joined the BoC's Guangzhou branch. 'My first job, in 1987, was credit analysis and leasing. In 1991, I was seconded to a joint venture in Shenzhen between BoC Guangzhou, Sumitomo Bank, Nomura Securities and Bank of East Asia. During my stay in Shenzhen, I completed Level I and Level II HKIB examinations in 1995.' For his efforts, Mr Tan was awarded the Standard Chartered Bank and Macquarie University Joint Scholarship, amounting to $120,000. He was the first associate to finish his HKIB banking examinations in China. He was posted to Hong Kong for a two-year stint and is now following a master's course in applied finance. 'I studied in Shenzhen by myself and the exams were arranged there. My boss, from Bank of East Asia, was kind and brought the textbooks I needed from Hong Kong. The HKIB courses helped me, particularly in Shenzhen. 'Because I worked in a joint venture, it was necessary to know Hong Kong banking. And through these courses I was able to study the Hong Kong banking systems and laws,' he said. 'For example, I learned Hong Kong documentation procedure and I now understand why the documents are so lengthy and detailed. Before I took these courses, I always questioned the need for such details. But, after I studied the courses at HKIB, I now understand, for example, why a guarantee has so many clauses.' Mr Tan said the banking laws in Hong Kong had a good foundation and there was no need to change them. He said while the HKIB courses were comprehensive enough, he felt there should be more emphasis on the practical application of banking practices that prevailed in the SAR. 'Britain and the SAR have quite different approaches to corporate finance, taxation and trade finance. The courses should place greater stress on the rules and practices as they apply in Hong Kong. Then, after following these courses, we can put them into practice,' Mr Tan said.