Employers in the financial sector are increasingly demanding a broader range of skills from accountants and financial practitioners with knowledge of securities law and corporate governance, or lawyers who have an in-depth understanding of corporate financing and capital issues.
Ho Yoot-kwai, programme leader of the postgraduate diploma in finance and law at HKU SPACE, says expertise in finance and law is extremely valuable in maintaining Hong Kong's status as a leading financial centre in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Hong Kong has learned through a number of financial crises that the governance of the financial system has much room for improvement. People in the financial sector need to learn about compliance standards of the global financial market and what can be done to increase the level of corporate governance," Ho says.
The programme is geared towards the study of corporate finance and corporate law. It aims to stress the inter-relationship between law and financial services, and provide an assessment of their interplay in the structure and operations of financial markets.
"Upon completion of the programme, students should be able to assess the function of law and corporate financing in the protection and management of financial risks, apply essential quantitative techniques to anaylse financial risks and gain insights into a globalised financial environment," Ho says.
"We welcome students from all disciplines as long as they have a recognised bachelor's degree. Most of our students are in the financial industry and want to be equipped with knowledge in corporate law. There are also students from other industries such as engineering, hoping to switch fields."
Students are required to complete five modules - two from the law stream and three from the finance stream.
Tammy Wong, a graduate of the programme, works in the compliance department of a foreign-based bank. Her job is closely related to the legal and regulatory aspects of finance. "I have no formal legal training before, so I studied this programme to broaden my legal knowledge and strengthen my soft skills, such as research, interpersonal, presentation, problem-solving and analytical skills. This course is a good start for those who have no formal legal training or would like to enter the banking and financial sector," she says.
It takes 12 to 18 months to complete the programme. Classes for the law stream are held on weekday evenings while lectures for the finance stream are held on Saturdays and Sundays. To make study time as flexible as possible, students are allowed to take a minimum of one module per semester and five years to finish.