In response to the rising demand for private banking services, Hong Kong Polytechnic University is offering two Master of Finance (MoF) programmes, one specialising in wealth management and the other in investment management. It is no surprise that wealth management is starting to receive greater attention in academic circles. According to Datamonitor, a provider of online data, analytic and forecasting platforms for key vertical sectors, the number of high-net-worth individuals in Hong Kong grew at an average rate of 11.1 per cent annually over the 1998-2003 period. PolyU's MoF courses were started in 2000 at the same time that, according to Wilson Tong Hin-sang, programme director, Master of Corporate Finance and Master of Finance at the Graduate School of Business, PolyU, there was a strong move towards wealth management. 'Actually, the insurance industry in Hong Kong, and also in mainland China, developed very fast at that time. This development triggered the expansion of our programmes to include these areas,' Dr Tong said. PolyU also offers a Master of Corporate Finance, which appeals mainly to finance professionals with an average of 10 years work experience. Its MoF programmes tend to attract younger executives, mostly those with three to five years of work experience. Both the MoF streams are taught part time over two years. The wealth management stream includes second year electives like estate and retirement planning, personal financial management and risk management and insurance. Graduates of this programme are eligible for exemption from five out of a total of six modules that are required for the professional Certified Financial Planner programme run by the Institute of Financial Planners of Hong Kong. The investment management specialisation includes subjects such as derivatives securities, fixed-income securities and security analysis and portfolio management. It prepares students for Chartered Financial Analyst examinations. As part of their electives, students are encouraged to submit a project, done under the supervision of faculty members, exploring areas that interest them. 'Many of our students pick topics that are related to their jobs and their companies,' said Dr Tong. Another feature of the MoF courses is a programme development lecture series, where practitioners from the finance industry are invited to give talks to the students. They could be experts in the forex market, corporate banking or wealth management, said Dr Tong. 'This helps the students focus on cutting-edge developments so that they can keep ahead of frontier developments in the financial area.' PolyU has a total of 150 students in both its Master of Corporate Finance and MoF programmes, with 50 specialising in corporate finance, 50 in wealth management and another 50 in investment management.