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How to leverage on your CFA exams to break into the industry in Hong Kong?

Here’s my question; why does everyone from Canada want to go back to HK? Especially those who can’t speak or write Chinese (Canto/Mando)? Are your friends and family worth the depressing career paths most HKers seem to suffer?

Genuinely curious. 

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I’ve noticed that from my HK colleagues when I graduated 10 years ago.  North America is on a long term decline.  Successive generations will have lower standard of livings than their parents.

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More and more Canadian shops are opening offices in HK. Canada Pension Plan, Ontario Teachers Pension Plan….etc. 

China’s current account surplus puts them in a position to buy, and the US will want a peice of that. The ideal role is selling chinese investments to North America. 

Then one has to consider the value of the experience gained from working in HK, (even if it is back office) and what that would do for your CV back home in Canada. 

But you raise a good point MK. I don’t want to be stuck in some ****box office in Sheung Wan or something photocopying for pennies. 

In the end, I think this is a market worth investingating at the very least. In Canada, I am being out compete by people with a gazillion years more experience. Creative escapism may be the best option. 

warp9 wrote:

My impression is that I am underqualified for a quants job; they have too many PhDs to pick from.  And the sad truth is, a degree, no matter what you majored in, from a non-target school isn’t valued much.  sad

I am a quantitative analyst, I suspect you are actually enough qualified to work but the problem is that there is a bubble in this field. There are too many degrees and particularly MSc specialised in quantitative analysis. This is why it is so hard for you to break in.

I am only a MSc myself but got my job in 2004. I suspect you would have gotten a job without breaking a sweat 10 years ago but now the average quant candidate has a PhD or a degree from a top school with a top MSc.

Unfortunately since there are so many candidates it is not useful to get a degree from a non top school, if you wanted to get another MSc or a PhD, you need to make 100% sure that it is from a good department at a good uni. You will want to check that the students of the previous year got a good placement and that some of the teachers are either recognised in the industry (going to industry conferences and not only academic conferences) or have been working as head of research in major banks (tier 1 only).

I got a quantitative analyst job but with the new regulations, my job feels more and more IT every month passing, there is not much need for new models at the moment and we are just busy with maintenance and putting in place the infrastructure to compute the charges for the regulators, so maybe you did not miss much ! If that makes you feel better, since I am not a PhD myself I got a lot more implementation to do that other regular quantitative analysts.

lukeacker wrote:

More and more Canadian shops are opening offices in HK. Canada Pension Plan, Ontario Teachers Pension Plan….etc. 

China’s current account surplus puts them in a position to buy, and the US will want a peice of that. The ideal role is selling chinese investments to North America. 

Then one has to consider the value of the experience gained from working in HK, (even if it is back office) and what that would do for your CV back home in Canada. 

But you raise a good point MK. I don’t want to be stuck in some ****box office in Sheung Wan or something photocopying for pennies. 

In the end, I think this is a market worth investingating at the very least. In Canada, I am being out compete by people with a gazillion years more experience. Creative escapism may be the best option. 

There is no doubt a lot of Canadian and MNC are trying to use HK as a gateway to mainland investments. However the experience they want to bring in are either highly distinguished locals or HK descendents with many years of experience, or evenmoreso, ex-pat managers who can lead the team. It’s a highly competitive arena, and just because you went to Canada in the mid 90’s for a ‘western’ education, it really doesn’t mean jack **** unless you have an uncle in the business. The days of stepping into a role because you lived in the West are long over. I think at this point its harder to get a job as a recent/1-4 years exp jobber in HK than it is in TO. The job market is tough in TO, but I think it’s even rougher in HK, with less benefits, unless you are a local/or hardcore HK-til-I-Die who likes living in a box. 

I know a few people (good schooling) who worked at bulge brackets in HK in BO/MO who had a lot of trouble finding jobs back in Toronto. They were out of jobs for months - years, and they were not unqualified either. Networks bailed them out in the end. Hk values high level experience (American/British, networks and/or CA), and Canada values “Canadian experience”. For HK/CDNs, you’re shafted, just choose one and stick with it. 

"Verdict: TRUE" - Fact Check

I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that Mandarin and English weren’t enough to get a job in HK. Postings I read a while ago also wanted Cantonese and maybe even Japanese or Korean.