Risk taking is key success in banking and financial services

28 March 2012


Hong Kong, 29 March 2012 – Despite the  uncertain economic conditions, more than half (55%)  of the Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Finance Directors (FDs) within the Banking and Financial Services sector in Hong Kong expect salaries for permanent accounting and finance staff to increase in the first half of 2012, according to a new survey from specialist recruitment firm Robert Half.

Hong Kong finance leaders value ‘risk taking’ ability
Although salary increases may vary according to the skills and experience accounting and finance professionals bring to the job, the research from Robert Half reveals that finance leaders in Hong Kong hold a different perspective on what it takes to succeed in the banking and financial services sector when compared with other international markets.

Over a quarter (26%) of the CFOs and FDs polled in Robert Half’s recent survey cited ‘risk taking’ as the most important attribute that contributes to a financial professional's success. Hong Kong is the only financial centre globally where ‘risk taking’ ranks as the top  attribute. This is closely followed by other capabilities, including “leadership” (20%) and “competitive nature” (19%).  

Global perspectives
A majority of other financial centres in the world view ‘competitive nature’ as the most important attribute to succeed, including Japan (41%), the UK (36%), Switzerland (30%) and Australia (28%).

Finance leaders in China (33%), Germany (33%) and Belgium (28%) cited ‘strong technical / analytical skills’ as the most important attribute whereas ‘leadership’ comes up on top for their counterparts  in Luxembourg (30%) and Singapore (24%).

Pallavi Anand, Director, Robert Half Hong Kong comments, “While strong technical and analytical skills remain important, an accounting and finance candidate who wants to stand out from the crowd needs to demonstrate that they have the necessary industry knowledge and business acumen to take risks and make sound commercial decisions.  In today’s ever-evolving global economy, the role of finance professionals is becoming more focused on risk management. Increasingly,  the board of directors and shareholders are looking to the CFO, as well as his or her team to help identify opportunities, as well as assess and manage risks. Therefore, the attribute of ‘risk taking’, which comprises both the willingness and ability to take calculated risks, is a top priorty for finance leaders when making recruitment or internal promotion decisions. Companies in Hong Kong are also looking for accounting and finance  professionals who demonstrate drive and determination through a high level of leadership and competitiveness.”

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