An Interview with
Institute of Financial Technologists of Asia (IFTA)
The Institute of Financial Technologists of Asia (IFTA) is a non-profit organization (NPO) established in Hong Kong on Sep 2017; to uphold the professional standard of Financial Technologists in Asia and create an ecosystem for global fintech talents to be connected.
IFTA is the only Certificate of Finance and Technology (CFT) certification body in Asia. It is also a NPO with a mission and a vision to nurture global FinTech talent with the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional conduct.
9 September 2020
Tell us about your background, and what are you most passionate about?
I am a seasoned IT and Audit professional with years of experience gained from financial institutions. Currently, I am the Head of IT in public sector. Prior to that, I was the Asia IT Audit Head of IS Audit of a top tier financial institution.
I enjoy to learn, and hold various degrees and professional credentials covering Accounting, Audit, IT, FinTech, Insurance and even Counselling. I am actively participating in social services and professional community including Hong Kong Road Safety Patrol, The Hong Kong Girl Guides Association, Lions Club of Hong Kong IFC, Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ), Vocational Training Council (VTC), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB), Institute of Financial Technologists of Asia (IFTA), CMA Australia (HK), ISACA Hong Kong Chapter, Hong Kong Computer Society, The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Hong Kong Chapter, etc.
I love to connect and collaborate with other respected finance or tech leaders to go hand-in-hand to
build a better FinTech ecosystem in Hong Kong or even Asia.
Describe a time you had to make a tough decision (e.g. budget cuts, organizational restructuring, market withdrawal, etc.). What did you do and what was the result?
In the highly competitive business environment, many corporations will improve the operational efficiency and effectiveness via organizational restructuring. Frankly, it is inevitably to redundant some staff due to the restructuring. I always keep the team/department in a reasonable size via outsourcing and secondment arrangement. In case of any organizational restructuring, my priority is to down size the outsourced functions and may cut some secondment staff. For the worse case, if it is necessary to cut some staff, I will try to arrange the affected staff to other positions within the organization or assist them to seek another opportunity via my personal network. My experience is the redundant staff are not too difficult to find another job.
How would others define your communication style? Do you prefer to be close to your employees or maintain a healthy distance, and why?
I believe I am an active listener as I have good professional counseling training. Communication is two way indeed, and I am open to listen the views of others.
I love to be close to my colleagues, but it is not easy when you become more senior. I am still trying to use different ways to get close to them.
How has the industry been changing in recent years? What do you think are the biggest challenges your industry will face in the next 5 years?
FinTech is a growing industry in new economy. You can see we are using FinTech in our daily life such as e-payment, virtual banking, virtual insurance, etc. However, I believe it is only the initial stage and foresee there are more applications on Fintech in coming 5 to 10 years.
Considering the development of FinTech applications in coming decade, the biggest challenge is definitely the shortage of talents. Currently, there is a shortage of FinTech talents in the market, and in fact the demand on FinTech talent is not locally but a global issue. I hope government should work with universities and professional bodies to nurture more FinTech talents to maintain the competitive edge. Because of the strong finance acumen and high education level of people, Hong Kong has competitive advantage to develop a FinTech talent hub for the region.
What personality traits make a good leader?
Being a leader, I believe ethics & integrity is the most important trait. For sure transparency, risk-taking, decisive, respect and good communication are also the key characteristics an effective leader should possess.
What does the future hold for your company?
There are four pillars of IFTA strategy to form the foundation for reaching our objective: to lead the global development of FinTech talent with the highest standards of ethics, education and professional conduct.
Policy analysis and advice. We will continue to support regulators and government organizations to advocate and establish professional standards and governance framework on FinTech, and also actively participate in providing our professional and industry knowledge for any FinTech related policy.
Engagement and awareness. We plan to take a more active approach to use different platforms, including conferences, luncheons, social media, etc, to connect with our members and showcase IFTA.
Nurturing the next generation. We are trying to build new bridges with university communities to provide more professional development opportunities to nurture the next generation of FinTech professional.
Partnerships with other professional networks. We appreciate that many of our members are also members of other organizations. In future, we plan to partner with other professional bodies in order to broaden our network.