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Real Business : Winter 2008
REAL BUSINESSISSUE2,2008 21 gra H am uden a particular area. But HSBC sees this as no longer appropriate. “When we are recruiting people, we look not only at their technical qualifications but at the background experience and cultural fit of that person,” Bencsik says. “We look for flexibility, ambition, communications skills, and being comfortable with complexity and a changing environment. Not much really!” Lou says it’s important to know that providing staff with engaging work is a main priority that flows throughout the organisation. “To a lot of people, going to work is just about earning a living,” he says. “But at HSBC, a lot of us are really trying hard to achieve something. Reward will – and should – come later. There are challenges, but a lot of people are here just for this reason.” Sachin Maharaj, the head of finance in HSBC Australia, notes that the bank’s range of services, from retail products to sophisticated investment instruments, requires new thinking, especially about product development and customer service. “We encourage the development of broad skills in our people,” he says. “A start in a finance area and then a move into the front line or more strategic aspects of the business as a career path is seen positively. At the same time, we have the ability to give people the opportunity to work in HSBC branches in other countries if they choose. “Hong Kong and the UK, as the largest and most established branches of the bank So why should anyone aspire to work for HSBC? “HSBC’s size, reputation and brand strength are three appealing reasons,” says Allan Lou CPA, currently on secondment from HSBC Australia to the Hong Kong office. “There are also endless opportunities and exposures. I could not imagine a few years ago that I would now be working in Hong Kong. Who knows what could be next?” Lou says that if you’re interested in a challenge, then HSBC is the right place: “It relates to the size of the organisation, not just the number of offices but the breadth of its activities and the way in which it approaches its responsibilities.” Lou’s duties involve interpreting and imple- menting the rules of the Basel 2 international capital accords on banking, as well as liaising with people within the bank and educating external clients and business partners. Aside from the technical aspects of the work, he manages a team of 15 financial and credit experts, overseeing 23 sites in the region. “Having ‘hard’ skills is important, but my feeling is that as you move into more senior roles you need more ‘soft’ skills, such as empathy and communication,” Lou says. “To me, an important aspect of working in HSBC is that there is a clear rating system to assess performance. The intellectual calibre of the organisation is extremely strong, and achievement is something that is recognised and valued. Working for HSBC, the effort you put in is directly correlated with rewards – in terms of remuneration but importantly, also in terms of recognition from senior management.” ALLAn LoU CPA SenIor manager baSel 2 and credIt rISk reportIng HSbc aSIa pacIfIc
Issue 3 2008