When news broke more than a year ago that a rogue trader at Societe Generale had lost the bank Euro4.9billion (HK$50.89 billion) over a series of bogus transactions, people considering a career at the French bank had cause for concern. But those misgivings are a thing of the past, according to Joyce Yap, the bank's regional head of human resources for Asia-Pacific for its corporate and investment banking division. 'Job candidates were very bullish about us before the incident happened in January last year. But, as a bank, we have been able to call on a strong sense of solidarity and have rebuilt quickly, focusing on the opportunities that have cropped up in the past year or so,' she said. The bank's net banking income for the corporate and investment banking division was Euro4 billion for last year, compared with Euro4.5 billion during the same period in 2007. Client revenues were reportedly at its second best historical annual level after 2007 at Euro4.8 billion. The division, which has operations in more than 45 countries employing about 12,000 staff, will continue to be on the lookout for talent to take advantage of the slack job market in this economic environment. The group's corporate and investment banking division is one of its three main business lines. It specialises in euro capital markets, derivative products and structured finance. The other divisions are retail banking and financial services, and global investment management services. 'A lot of banks are in the same condition as ourselves, which is that we are adjusting to the challenging financial environment, but we are still looking for opportunities to cast the net wider. We have always focused on attracting talent. Now, we will still be recruiting but in reduced numbers,' Ms Yap said. 'We don't have any real numbers in mind, but for areas that we would like to focus on, such as derivatives, capital markets and support functions, the opportunities will be there.' The bank is seeking professionals with experience in dealing with derivatives, and executives well-versed in product control and risk management to man a new division. She said for product control roles, the bank would be interested in candidates who had worked in a similar field in banks and people from related fields such as auditing or banking operations. Recruitment usually involves at least two rounds of formal interviews, supplemented, where needed, by psychometric tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and informal meetings to ensure a good fit between the candidate and their prospective team members. She said that one of the bank's main value propositions as an employer was exposure to how business was done in different places around the world. For executives who seek international experience and possess the necessary mobility to move to other regions, Ms Yap said the bank offered short- or medium-term assignments for them to gain experience working usually in Paris or London, or in Asia where there was operational need. She said the mainland, where there was still growth despite the global gloom, had ample opportunities for executives to gain exposure. The bank also has a well-established succession planning programme in place. Where succession is being planned for a key role, a decision is made on whether the talent is available from within. There are about 300 staff - vice-presidents, directors and managing directors - in Asia who hold such key positions. Ms Yap said the bank had strengths in its diversified geographical and business mix. The bank makes every effort to integrate new employees and make sure their aspirations are being addressed and they remain motivated. 'We are a bank with a strong character. We are poised for long-term sustainability in this business. We have proven ourselves to be resilient, and we have a universal bank model that has stood us in good stead,' Ms Yap said. She said that Societe Generale founded in 1864, had characteristics that were unmistakably French. This was characterised by strong informal networks, and the amount of accessibility to management that virtually every member of the organisation enjoyed. 'We are very open. The cultural mix in our company is very large, and we are very open to partnerships,' she said.