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Risky business is job seekers’ safe bet
Published on Friday, 21 Oct 2011
An accountant performs risk calculations.
Photo: Jonathan Wong

As banking and financing firms face one of their most challenging periods in recent history, the need to get a grip on risk and control is generating employment opportunities in areas that support the finance industry.

Speaking at a recent conference, Paul Chan, Hong Kong legislative councillor for the accountancy functional constituency, said a changing economic global environment, inflationary pressure and banking ring-fencing policies, present new opportunities for professional services firms.

These include insolvency or debt restructuring work, risk management consulting, mergers and acquisitions and fund-raising opportunities. "Professionals need to concentrate on developing soft and technical skills to enable them to grasp the key points of the new global economy," said Chan.

Also needing to better understand the risks they face, banks are increasingly turning to technology.

"The recent Basel III changes are driving new investment in liquidity risk and a better understanding of the behaviour of the balance sheet," says John Foulley, head of risk management practice for SAS Institute Asia Pacific. "There are several key areas of growth. We see a lot of demand to sanitise the data for decision-making purposes and this drives a lot of investment in the underlying technology. There is also a requirement to perform risk calculations a lot faster and we can now provide near real-time risk analytics through high performance risk computing," he says.

He adds that having implemented compliance prescriptive requirements, banks and finance corporations are looking at their risk controls in a more systematic manner. "This means that enterprise governance risk and compliance is a new area of interest and not solely dedicated to banks," he says.

To provide clients with the solutions they need, Foulley says SAS has been steadily increasing headcount by recruiting risk professionals from the banking, consulting and IT industries. "Most risk projects are highly complex and require a significant amount of expertise. We seek people who have experience and a deep understanding of risk management," he says.

Foulley adds that the firm has formed alliances with universities where the company's technology is used as part of the curriculum so students are exposed to the systems most frequently used in analytics.