SF Wong of the Hong Kong Securities Institute discusses the introduction of the Certified International Wealth Manager qualification in Hong Kong as part of efforts to enhance standards within private banking.
Date: May 2011
The HKSI had a closed-door meeting with a group of senior private bankers to discuss various issues, including the need for high-quality training and certification programmes, he explained.
The Institute has also been talking closely with various people in the market. And about a year ago, it came across the Certified International Wealth Manager (CIWM) programme.
For the past five to six years, said Wong, this programme has been offered in Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and recently in the UK.
It is also appropriate for Hong Kong, he explained, so the HKSI is now working with the Association of International Wealth Management (AIWM), which runs the CIWM globally.
Relevance for Hong Kong
According to Wong, the programme has benefits for Hong Kong, and Greater China more broadly, especially given that it is internationally recognised, so offers a global qualification for market professionals.
It covers various topics, he added, from basic investment concepts such as corporate finance, economics, derivatives and portfolio management, to wealth management, real estate, behavioural finance, relationship management and international wealth planning.
There is also a local programme to incorporate domestic rules and regulations.
Who CIWM is suitable for
Wong said the programme caters for those people who are either currently working in the private banking profession, or who are interested in doing so – for example relationship managers, investment advisers, and portfolio managers, but also lawyers and compliance officers.
The minimum requirement is a university degree, and individuals with a degree in finance don’t need to take the foundation course.
The final exam programme the HKSI offers in Hong Kong has an 80-plus hour preparation course, in which people can take in two to three months, he said. There is also the option to do the course on a modular basis.
According to Wong, the course will start on June 18, and will finish on August 28. It will be conducted mainly on the weekends by experienced market practitioners, as well as by tax experts and lawyers.
The examination will then be held in the middle of September, and will be in three sections – one covering wealth management, one covering relationship management, behavioural finance and real estate analysis and evaluation, and the third will be international and domestic wealth planning.
Candidates must also take papers on the local rules and regulations, in the form of the HKSI’s licensed examination paper.
E-learning tools will also be available for all candidates to give them access to simulations.
Continuing education requirements
For people who pass the examination, Wong said they won’t get to use their CIWM designation until they have achieved three years of work experience in the industry in the relevant area.
He added that individuals will also need to take certain continuing professional training hours to keep current and appraised of what’s happening in the market.