Leading financial services institutions need to continuously strengthen leadership and management capabilities, enhance business and professional skills, and build knowledge and competencies in legal, compliance and risk management in order to stay ahead of rapidly shifting markets, says Betty Tsui, deputy chief executive of UBS Wealth Management Hong Kong.
As such, financial services providers must relentlessly leverage their human capital and improve the ability of staff to deliver services, and upgrade the quality of services to suit rising demands, she adds.
Tsui says the Asia-Pacific region remains one of the growth areas for the wealth-management industry. As UBS places strong emphasis on its wealth-management advisers receiving regular training to meet the diverse and increasingly sophisticated needs of clients, it also sees an urgent need to better equip them.
Consequently, last month, the bank launched the UBS Business University Hong Kong Campus, at Li Po Chun Chambers in Sheung Wan, to broaden its talent development and training in Hong Kong and the region.
Tsui explains that with a highly educated talent pool, robust financial services sector and open regulatory environment, Hong Kong was a compelling location choice for the UBS Business University's second campus in the Asia-Pacific region.
"This further underpins our commitment to staff development in this important regional financial hub," Tsui says.
She quotes UBS Group chief executive Oswald Grubel as saying that the UBS Business University is about "doing everything better than our competitors. We depend on having the most competent people at all levels."
The "university", a global initiative by the bank to provide business education to its staff, is an extension of its Singapore campus, which was launched in 2007.
It also provides educational programmes for clients and their families to help them better understand their investment needs and the bank's services.
The Singapore campus has delivered about 24,000 training days and about 2,000 training events for staff and clients across the region, including Hong Kong, the mainland, Australia and Japan.
The new local campus is expected to ease the heavy demand and expand existing training capacity.
The university offers staff a comprehensive range of business-critical skills, including leadership training, business skills, financial and product knowledge, risk and compliance, relationship building, regulatory changes, plus control and risk issues that cover mandatory risk education and in-depth training for specialist functions.
The goal is to integrate the firm's leadership and learning capabilities under one roof. This will provide employees with ample opportunities to develop their skills for a highly demanding market.
Courses vary in duration, depending on the subject. Some last a day or two and the more complex topics can take up to 18 months.
Tsui says external and internal subject-matter experts will be engaged to promote leadership capabilities and improve professional skills.
"We believe strongly in leader-led workshops," she adds. "Most of our workshops have UBS internal experts leading and sharing best practices with colleagues. From time to time, we will also engage best-in-class external experts to deliver workshops."
Graduates will receive Wealth Management diplomas as formal recognition of their completion of courses.
"Besides conducting tests to track their performance and progress, we will regularly solicit feedback from trainees, staff and line mangers," Tsui says. "Trainees will also be requested to come up with development plans and other action plans to gauge the effectiveness of their courses."
An e-training portal, MyCampus, with personalised pages for each staff member, provides employees access to various learning programmes and products on offer
The Wealth Management Associate Programme aims to groom mid-career hires - with about five years of work experience - into client advisers
A three-year, in-house on-the-job coaching programme is available for client advisers