Key work habits of 4 successful Hong Kong finance leaders

By Robert Half on 27 February 2017

Hong Kong is a global financial hub and ranks 4th on the global financial centres index. For graduates or those looking to develop a career in the finance industry, Hong Kong is therefore an incredibly exciting place to work. With a market that is rapidly growing, there are a wide range of career opportunities available, whether you want to be in banking, consulting, investments, or other financial services.

In this article, we look at the Forbes Rich List, at 4 of the most successful leaders in Hong Kong, within the finance sector. The success of these leaders can be found in their work habits, which you can learn from and adapt to your own career in finance:

1. Sir Li Ka-shing

Due to his father sadly passing away, Li Ka-shing dropped out of school and started work at the age of 12. As the main breadwinner for the family, he worked 16 hour days. His hard-working character is an attribute he still has today - at the age of 88, has no plans to slow down any time soon. It is undeniable that his dedication has paid off as Ka-shing is now one of the richest business leaders in the world and the richest individual in Hong Kong, with a net worth of US$31.3 billion.

Despite never attending university, one of Ka-shing’s many work habits included developing a passion for continued learning. In his first year in business, he completed his own accounts, teaching himself by reading text books. He’s continued to develop his knowledge throughout his career by reading trade journals, business books and by being innovative, pushing boundaries and experimenting in new areas. This pursuit of knowledge led him to become one of the first big investors in Facebook and to expand his business empire, which now spans across industries including banking, real estate, retail, construction, power, satellite television, hotels, transport, shipping and much more.

2. Pan Sutong

Despite a difficult upbringing and having dropped out of high school, Pan Sutong’s early years certainly didn’t hold him back. As the founder of Matsunichi Digital Holdings and Chairman of Goldin Real Estate Financial Holdings Ltd (known as Goldin Group), he now has a net worth of US$12.2 billion.

Sutong’s carefully crafted portfolio spans across real estate, financial services and wine. Although this may seem like an extremely diverse portfolio, one of Sutong’s work habits is to seek out new ideas and opportunities. Most recently, he saw a gap in the Chinese market in the world of horse racing and invested US$5 billion in building a polo club, accompanied by an 89-hectare town, with a 117-storey skyscraper.

3. Pollyanna Chu

As the CEO of Kingston Financial Group, Golden Resorts Group and Sincere Watch, Pollyanna Chu has a net worth of US$3.8 billion. She has also been listed by Forbes as the 42nd most powerful woman in the world and the 16th richest person in Hong Kong.

In an interview with The Peak, Chu’s son, Kingston, who runs Sincere Watch, he said “It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you need a strong work ethic to succeed” and describes his mother as “the most hardworking person he knows”.

Pollyanna Chu’s success can also be attributed to one of her other key work habits - being passionate. On talking about acquiring Sincere Watch with Prestige Online, Pollyanna Chu explains that it was an interesting company that she enjoyed being a part of and had even collected watches herself for many years prior to investing in the business.

4. Billy Kan

Working as an accountant at Deloitte and KPMG, Billy Kan had the opportunity to work for some of Hong Kong’s wealthiest people. However, Kan had bigger ideas. Instead of helping others become richer, Kan wanted to focus on improving his own wealth and prosperity. He soon took the leap and set up China LNG Group, generating today a net worth of US$1.61 billion.

One of Kan’s key work habits is a strong vision. This trait helped him move from being an employee to an entrepreneur, and eventually to setting up his own business, which has now diversified from financial services into property, as well as energy. On talking about his success with Forbes, Kan revealed “what I do is invest into companies that have a good vision or good product, but they lack something”. At the age of 63, Kan still has a strong vision for the future, turning China LNG into a success in liquefied natural gas.

What work habits do you really need for success?

As you will see from these examples, these finance professionals from Hong Kong have all worked very hard to achieve their successes on such a vast scale. They have continued learning to stay up-to-date with industry changes, strict government regulations, technological developments and strong industry competition.

The success of these entrepreneurs can also be accredited to strong visions and the tenacity to seek out new opportunities. As well as being driven by results and finance industry trends, passion has helped each of these leader to drive forward.

Although there are many different work habits that can be beneficial in a career in finance, we hope these work habits from some of the most successful finance leaders in Hong Kong can be of some inspiration to you and your career path.

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