Emma Lin, Associate, China Everbright Assets Management
Q : Why did you join a Chinese-funded financial institution in Hong Kong?
A : I studied Statistics and Actuarial Science in Jinan University, China. The subject was more on economics, mathematics and science. I then studied master in Financial Mathematics in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and that was more on the application of finance in computer programming. It involves pricing of stocks and bonds, and financial derivatives such as options and futures.
I believe that as Chinese financial institutions have got a foundation in Mainland, it is easier for them to grasp the chances and they have more advantages in competitions. Outside of China, they have better advantages in financing and more channels for diversified investments. Therefore, I went through the tests and joined the company.
Q : You have taken different posts in the same company. What was your work like in the first two years?
A : The first three years after graduation are very important. You have to absorb different knowledge and working skills like a sponge to determine the direction of your future development. I am so grateful that the company and our department head can offer me, a newly graduate, opportunities to experience different positions.
In the first year, I was an equity analyst and I used software to write programs. Under the instruction of a fund manager, I spent two months to complete a model on stock selection. I had also built up many financial valuation models.
The second year, I was transferred to the trading team. When I was an analyst, I carried out analyses and in depth studies of different companies but I lacked sensitivity to the market. On the contrary, traders normally have good market sense. They are also highly efficient and are not allowed to make any mistakes. Some orders must be placed manually onto the market, and some are placed automatically through software, while some are done by enquiring and bargaining with several brokers before selecting the best price for the deal.
Q : You joined the Absolute Return Investment Department in the third year. What challenges have you encountered afterwards?
A : My main duty now is to assist fund managers and follow up projects such as negotiating with potential counterparties and clients on financing conditions, handling data and building up calculation models, as well as working on analysis of bonds. I remember that my first project was to look for underlying asset in the market and appropriate brokers for financing. I had to include the underlying in a structured note for investor to buy.
There were many for us to consider: 1) What is the underlying? Which securities can be chosen? Should the investment be diversified or concentrated? 2) Considering that capital came in as RMB, how could we put a forward contract into the note if we were to buy USD bonds? How could we set the time for the forward? 3) How should we set the leverage and financing conditions for the note? How could we satisfy the investors' targeted return and yet, at the same time, make risk controllable?
Besides, I had to be able to understand and amend documents such as contracts and agreements as well as to communicate and collaborate with other departments in the company, for example, risk management, compliance, legal etc. The most difficult part is to think about the whole workflow at the very beginning.
Q : How should university students equip themselves?
A : First of all, they have to be knowledgeable enough. They should participate in more social activities and activities in college in order to acquire soft skills. In addition, they have to strengthen their professional knowledge. Many of my colleagues, and myself, continue to acquire finance related qualifications. The certifications not only are helpful in job hunting but also a mean to make communication more convenient.
In addition, they should during college years understand what their strengths are and what kinds of job they are interested in so that they have a direction to find out the work skills required for those jobs and focus on equipping themselves with related capabilities. When looking for a job, however, they should not focus too narrowly on just one particular type of post. For example, many students want to join the front office in investment banks, but in job hunting they should not focus too much on just one type of jobs. They should open up themselves to try different kinds of work.
Education Background: Master of Science (Major in Financial Mathematics), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2013
Bachelor of Economics (Major in Statistics & Actuarial Science), Jinan University, China, 2012
Working Experience: Emma has been an analyst at Absolute Return Investment Department and a trader for multiple funds on A-Share, H-Share, bond and derivatives since 2013, now she is an associate focusing on fixed income investments and she does research on Asian credit with bias towards Chinese offshore bond market.