Shanghai sees urgent demand for asset management professionals
By Chen Tong and Zhu Feng

Firms in China have already begun a new hiring season. In Shanghai this year, many financial institutions have expanded their search for wealth management professionals.

Liu Tianyi, a senior wealth management manager at DBS China, has been working as a wealth management manager for just a year. She majored in journalism in college. The job presented many challenges especially when most of her clients were putting at least 5 million yuan into her hands to manage. She needed to learn a lot about finance, and learn it quickly.

"I needed a very comprehensive knowledge, because asset management is far more than just stocks and funds. It includes many other products as well. I've been getting regular training every week on marketing, wealth management and sales techniques," Liu said.

A report from the China Banking Association shows that the number of high net-worth individuals in the country had reached 1.32 million at the end of 2019, accounting for 20 percent of those in the Asia-Pacific region. Each of them has at least 10 million yuan in hand, and they need professionals to help them manage their money.

"We want to create more job opportunities for fresh graduates because the pandemic made the job market more challenging. Meanwhile, the demand for wealth management professionals is huge. We are in urgent need of wealth management managers and people who know about digitalization," Julia Chu, head of human resources at DBS Bank China, said.

The skills training center operated by the Swiss Institute for Financial Planning in Shanghai is seeing rising demand. It is planning new classes to offer lessons on personal wealth management, insurance, taxation and legal regulation. The school's dean, Men Feng, says high net-worth individuals have sophisticated wealth management demands, and there is an urgent need for professionals to serve them.

"Shanghai is building itself into an international finance center, so professionals are definitely needed. What's more, wealth management is a very broad topic. How best to allocate assets for individuals and companies requires professionals with very comprehensive knowledge. Our country has no specific training for that, so the gap is huge," said Men.

The Shanghai government says the number of professionals working in the city's finance industry has reached more than 470,000, double the figure of a decade ago. During 2020 alone, China's commercial banks had set up six new wealth management firms in Shanghai. As China's economy grows, the demand for the money managers is expected to grow further.

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