What are the biggest lessons in your career so far?
The first is that ambition drives passion and personal development. The traditional treasury role focuses on liquidity and capital management. But I’m always happy to adopt new ideas and methods, such as new technologies that not only meet the company’s return objectives but also enhance my career passion. Secondly, working parties within a company, especially a regulated financial institution, tend to have contradicting views in the decision-making process. Ensuring my colleagues’ views are considered is a must for “balanced” decision making. Lastly, communicating well with stakeholders requires a high skillset, patience and practice. Communicating in different scenarios with different people is one of the most interesting parts of a career in treasury.
What do you like most about specializing in investment banking capital management?
Unlike traditional commercial banks, high-volume routine transactions and capital management in investment banks focus on project finance arrangements. Investment banks serve both institutional clients and in-house investment project needs, in which we provide tailor-made capital solutions. Also, as large-size transactions are not always done by a single company, we work with other professionals to deliver the best capital solution or meet in-house capital needs.
In what ways has your CPA qualification helped you in your career?
The CPA qualification was essential for building up my career. The Qualification Programme offered me a good transition from being a person with a pure finance background to an audit and accounting professional, which then opened doors to a wide range of industries and business functions. These valuable opportunities ultimately helped me develop my career in the investment banking and treasury fields.
How are you navigating the current volatile environment?
More interest rate rises are expected in 2023. With treasury management now more challenging, it is essential to keep updating or refining tools and strategies in order to catch up with the market rhythm. Hybrid-use of different financial instruments, such as a mix of tenor contracts, prepayment loans and repurchase agreements, can improve the matching of cash flow duration and risk. Also, actively managing the liquidity portfolio based on timely updates on the industry and global market is important. People interpret interest rates as a forward-looking expectation of the market economy, therefore a treasury manager should make use of his or her forward-looking mindset to manage treasury portfolios.
What is your advice for those wanting to move from accounting to investment banking?
Moving from a Big Four firm to investment banking, the most challenging part for me was the mindset adjustment. While audit and accounting focuses on the numbers and financial forecasting for the business plan, the middle office of an investment bank is a totally different story. It is more focused on value adding in a fast-pace and dynamic environment, and people within the industry actively bring efficiency in order to achieve the client’s return objectives. Because of this, it’s important to always have a “can-do” attitude and strong problem-solving skills.