John Tsang, Hong Kong’s financial secretary, said in his annual budget speech yesterday that the government will provide HK$100m ($12.9m) for a three-year pilot scheme for insurance and asset and wealth management services.
The scheme involves government and industry working together to provide internship opportunities and to promote understanding of career prospect in the sectors.
“Government and industry will also enhance the contents of continuing professional development programmes, and provide financial support to encourage practitioners to enrol in these programmes,” he said.
Tsang said earlier government consultations with the financial industry found a “keen demand for quality personnel.
“There was broad consensus that a manpower shortage was particularly acute in the insurance and the asset and wealth management sectors.”
Aggravating the shortage is the robust growth of Hong Kong’s wealth and asset management services.
The combined fund management business recorded a year-on-year growth of 27% at the end of 2013, exceeding HK$16trn, he said.
In his speech, Tsang also referred to the success of the government’s first sukuk bond, a $1bn product issued last year. Hong Kong intends to issue another sukuk “when market conditions are favourable”.
Additionaly, he mentioned the strong recepetion of inflation-linked retail bonds (iBonds), which have helped promote the retail bond market. As a follow up, the government plans to launch an iBond of “up to HK$10 billion” with a maturity of three years, Tsang said.