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Facing the rise of virtual banking, three leaders from HSBC, Standard Chartered, and China CITIC bank discussed how they address digitalisation, during a panel discussion ‘The new future of banking and bankers’ at the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) banking conference.
Bi Ming-qiang, president and CEO at China CITIC Bank, said the bank’s biggest challenge is the employees’ mindset — how to transform their way of thinking from traditional to agile — amid the bank’s shift in strategic direction from offline to online.
Bi stated the best strategy is a step-by-step gradual transformation, and talent is the major solution. The bank updates its HR policy not only to improve its current structure and reinforce agility to the current workforce, but also to attract more people.
At Standard Chartered, looking after existing talent and recruiting enough new blood to develop a new strategy are also on its radar.
“For a bank, human capital is important. Our job is to unleash the potential by encouraging open dialogues and creating a platform for our colleagues to learn because they are all very keen to know: What is the new experience? Where do I try? How do I co-create with my colleagues?” said Mary Huen, executive director and CEO at Standard Chartered.
Rannie Lee, Guangdong co-chief executive, head of PRD retail banking and wealth management at HSBC (China), suggested diversity can bring out positive “chemistry” among talents.
In terms of skill sets, all of them asserted that soft skills are of equal importance to hard skills.
Both leaders from HSBC and Standard Chartered agreed that communication skills — listening and facilitating — are crucial.
“Whenever there are new things, there is always a new risk that you might not be able to see now. Therefore, the mindset of forward-looking is key,” Bi said.
A recent talent development survey by the institute has revealed that 66% think the skills gap issue in the banking industry today is serious, up from 63% last year.
The current largest skills gap is in technological skills (88%), data skills (77%), cyber-security (75%) and business or product knowledge (60%). Looking into the next five years, respondents still consider technological skills as the most sought after skill, however, they do prioritise cyber-security (80%) over data skills (75%). There is also a slight decline of the demand in business or product knowledge.