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President's Report for FY2017

Dear Members,

For the past year, I have been humbled and inspired to serve as your president. Humbled, first and foremost, because my second year on the job also marks our Society’s 25th year in Hong Kong.

Through a quarter century of rallies and recessions, the Hong Kong Society of Financial Analysts has flourished thanks to our hardworking team of directors, staff, and volunteers. I was honoured to represent this team in June, when I rang in our silver anniversary on the gong that opened the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

After sharing our milestone with one of the largest exchanges in the world, we brought more exclusive celebrations directly to our members. For instance, those who attended our First Gala this fall had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Randall Kroszner, a former governor of the U.S. Federal Reserve and our keynote speaker. For our volunteers, we hosted a series of leadership training sessions with past HKSFA presidents. We also inaugurated an annual Awards Night, where distinguished professionals shared their expertise – from best practices to hard-learned lessons – with many of our new charterholders.

Annual Growth

Speaking of new charterholders, I am thrilled to report that in Fiscal Year 2017, 9,572 candidates enrolled in CFA examinations – an annual increase of 4.6 percent.

I am doubly thrilled that this increase is reflected in our membership. As of 30 June, we enrolled nearly 300 new members – 4.6 percent growth since last year – raising our total membership to 6,614 people.

This growth was partly sustained by an improved retention rate. Last year, 90.7 percent of our members renewed their membership. This year: 91.3 percent.

Expanded Programming

As our membership has grown, so too has our programming. In the past year, we have:
  • Launched collaborative events with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Mandatory Provident Fund Authority.

  • Participated in this year’s World Investor Week campaign, promoted by the International Organization of Securities Commissions.

  • Organized our first Corporate Access Event for local members, and supported the first Investor Education Centre’s Money Month Investment Seminar.

  • Held our third annual Best Research Report Competition, bringing in a record number of competitors and supporting organizations.

  • Enhanced our Portfolio Management Competition by bringing in Ernst & Young to conduct performance analytics.

  • Upgraded our Research Challenge for aspiring young analysts by fine-tuning competition rules, adding a career advice panel, and partnering with Metro Radio. 

  • Organized five FinTech events, attracting nearly 250 attendees, and co-hosting a half-day webcast about FinTech with our colleagues in Beijing.

Helping Members Keep Ahead

For a quarter century, HKSFA has helped our members stay ahead of the curve by offering career development services and continuing education. This year, our members logged a total of 130.5 training hours – an increase of 15 percent relative to last year. And we hosted a variety of regular events to keep members updated on breaking developments in the industry, such as the new cross-border scheme Bond Connect, and our annual Career Conference, which focused, this year, on emerging opportunities in the FinTech sector.

While we work hard to keep veteran analysts on the leading edge, it is equally gratifying that so many of our members have made a commitment to help cultivate the next generation of analysts. Our University Relations Committee has recruited a number of volunteers to identify and mentor promising undergraduate students. And for candidates preparing to take CFA charter exams, we created an online study group via LinkedIn.

Our Values Added

Ultimately, helping our members advance their careers is a means to a higher end. We aspire to help raise the ethical and professional standards of our entire profession.

We know that meaningful progress starts in-house. As a proponent of inclusive growth, HKSFA welcomed an additional female Director earlier this year. We also co-hosted a C-suite event on “Discovering Phi: Motivation as the Hidden Variable of Investment Performance,” an 18-month study on diversity in the industry.

To extend our work in advocacy, we established a new Special Interest Group to cover Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. And when the CFA Institute launched its new Asia-Pacific Research Exchange (ARX), we were sure to post our consultation paper response to help facilitate an exchange of views with others throughout the region.

We want the positive changes we make within our Society to ripple outward. Indeed, that is why we invited HKEX to brief our members on the new board consultation papers – so our Society would have direct and exclusive access to exchange leaders. 

Public Recognition

The work described above has raised our Society’s profile within the financial industry, and earned us a public reputation for excellence. This year, we maintained that legacy by expanding our outreach to partner organizations, employers, regulators, academia, sponsors, and the media.

By way of example, HKSFA experts continued to publish influential analyses in the Hong Kong Economic Journal and were frequently featured on CFA Control Room, a weekly radio programme broadcast on Metro Finance.

We are proud of HKSFA’s public profile – and I am pleased to report that we’re not the only ones. The CFA Institute recognized our Society for registering the Most Attendees from Fellow Societies in the Global Passport Program, and for being the institutional contributor to the ARX. What is more, our Society was invited to the Policy Address Consultation Session chaired by the Financial Secretary, as well as to a meeting with the Financial Services Development Council, where we discussed industry trends and emerging opportunities and challenges.

The Path Forward

Even as we look outward, we remain committed to our Society’s most valuable asset: our people. That is why, this year, we enhanced our governance with new committees and redoubled our efforts to keep in touch with members. At town hall meetings, for instance, Society members helped us identify key retention issues as well as new opportunities for collaboration.

In an effort to improve our members’ digital experience, we heightened our social media presence, published more videos, and also launched a new website. One of the best things about the new site is that it has helped streamline our staff’s workflow, so they have more time to learn new skills.

In addition, this past year, we were determined to celebrate our Society’s 25th anniversary by looking ahead to the next 25 years – with a special focus on three priorities. That is why, during 2017, we:
    (1) Reorganized our committees around four Society stakeholder groups: members, candidates, industry, and the public;

    (2) Centralized support for our committees; and

    (3) Maximized the cost-effectiveness of Society activities.

In the coming year, we will keep you updated about our continued progress in these and other priority areas. For now, I want to preview what we are most excited about in 2018.

We are eagerly anticipating the launch of the Asset Owner Series in Hong Kong. The Series is a collection of exclusive events for investment industry executives who want to hone their asset-management strategies. Each event will put participants in conversation with C-level investment executives – industry leaders whose firms collectively manage more than US$10 trillion in assets.

And in May, HKSFA will co-host the 71st CFA Institute Annual Conference, the world’s longest-running educational gathering of investment professionals. In recent years, the Conference has attracted participants from as many as 70 countries around the globe. Year after year, attendees come back for new information, expert insights, and a range of networking opportunities.

A Word of Thanks

I would be remiss if I did not close my report with a word of sincere thanks to our Board, Committee members, Advisors, volunteers, and staff for their tireless work – and their support and guidance each day. They are the heart and soul of this organization, and none of this year’s achievements would have been possible without them.

I would also like to thank our outgoing Directors – Mr. Joseph Chan, Dr. Jimmy Jim, Mr. Alex Lai, and Mr. Jacky Tsang – for their dedication and many contributions to the Society. And I would like to invite you all to join me in welcoming our two newest Directors, Ms. Felicia Wong and Mr. Terence Tsui – as well as Mr. Richard Mark, who rejoined the Board this year. I would like to thank our outgoing Managing Director, Mr. Cedric Wong, for his tireless work, and to welcome our new Managing Director, Mr. Calvin Cheung. Finally, I want to congratulate Dr. Yin Toa Lee and Mr. Tony Watson on taking office as HKSFA’s new Treasurer and Vice President, respectively. I look forward to working closely with them in the months ahead.

Suffice it to say, we have come a long way this year. But as impressive as our progress has been, the truth is that I am proudest of what has not changed: the high professional standards we uphold – and the consistently high calibre of people who make the Hong Kong Society of Financial Analysts the great organization it has been for the past 25 years.

Day after day, the example we are setting together leaves me inspired and energized. I am proud to count you as friends and colleagues, and – as we look ahead to the next 25 years, and beyond – I am grateful for your continued support.

Thank you,

Ashley Khoo, CFA, CPA