What is your role as a governance professional?
‘I am now working in the legal and compliance department of the Hong Kong branch of a Chinese bank which is listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong. I am a rules and regulations promoter and guardian to assist the bank’s senior management to oversee and manage the governance of the bank from a regulatory compliance perspective. I provide guidance and staff training to relevant departments on compliance with rules and regulations issued by regulators, and on the compliance policies and procedures of our bank. I am responsible for monitoring regulatory compliance risks by developing the bank’s compliance risk management framework and implementing the compliance programmes. In the context of the ever-changing rules and regulations, I conduct regular reviews and assessments of the bank’s compliance procedures within established governance and compliance parameters, and I conduct staff training regarding regulatory changes.’
What was your career path to your current role?
‘I got a master’s degree in Applied Finance and I am a certified public accountant (non-practising) in Hong Kong. I started my career in accounting and auditing, but changed to investment management later. As I was nominated to represent my ex-employer as a non-executive director of a group of investment project companies in Hong Kong and the Mainland, I studied and obtained the qualification of The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries in order to be a fit and proper director and develop my knowledge of corporate governance. I then accepted a job opportunity to monitor the internal controls and regulatory compliance of a listed Chinese bank and started a new career in regulatory compliance.’
What value does governance bring to organisations and to wider society?
‘Good corporate governance enables organisations to operate more efficiently, mitigate risk and to safeguard stakeholders’ interests, thereby increasing the confidence of investors and enabling easier access to capital. Governance also improves the accountability and transparency of organisations. The public and wider society are most interested in the social responsibility side of governance since this is most relevant to them. In this context, the environmental, social and governance reports that listed companies are required to publish under the listing rules are essential to enable the public to monitor the social responsibility performance of companies.’
What qualities do you think are needed to be a successful governance professional?
‘Governance professionals need to react rapidly to regulatory and technological changes and be proactive in implementing corporate strategy. We also need to be skilled facilitators, communicating and liaising with various departments effectively. In addition, we need to be effective advisers, providing timely advice on governance matters.’
How do you think governance will evolve in the future?
‘I think there will be an increasing demand for governance professionals, not only due to the increasing demand for quality governance reports in listed companies, but also in other types of organisations. In addition to listed companies, for example, charities and NGOs have been increasingly under public scrutiny.’
What inspires you in your life and work?
‘I believe challenges come with opportunities and new grounds for hope and this inspires me to go forward happily.’
How do you fill your time outside work?
‘I exercise every day for around half an hour. I like hiking, but only in winter, and travelling. My most exciting and unforgettable trips were to watch the auroras in Yellowknife, Canada, and seeing the vast and colourful Zhangye Danxia landforms in Gansu Province in the Mainland.’