The School of Business and Management of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST Business School) has published a first-ever in-depth research study to help Hong Kong chart the way forward in green and sustainable finance (GSF) talent building. This comes amid a rising global demand for such talent as investors, asset managers and other market players race to mitigate climate risks and achieve sustainable development.
Based on insights from industry practitioners drawn in interviews and a survey, the HKUST study entitled “The Hong Kong Green and Sustainable Finance Talent Development and Strategy” maps out the key stakeholders, desired skill areas and knowledge progression path of the current GSF market, providing employers, educators and job seekers useful information of the up and rising GSF sector and helps guide the city’s strategy in GSF talent development. In addition to offering recommendations encompassing professional certification, skills framework and the engagement of scientific expertise, the study also features different international practices, such as the active role played by UK’s chartership bodies in delivering GSF training, Singapore’s approach in upskilling its public officials on GSF, and European Union’s emphasis on educating its workforce on regulatory changes, for Hong Kong policymakers and training providers to identify areas for enhancement.
To provide the market greater confidence in GSF practitioners’ competencies, the study recommends that GSF professionals be licensed, and that the requisite certification procedure make reference to those of other professions in financial market, such as wealth management or securities intermediaries. The research team has also called for a systematic skills framework to be set up for competencies required of GSF practitioners, which should support not only Hong Kong’s global financial status, but also SMEs and family offices. Based on these competencies, a subsidy and training incentives package can be provided to encourage skill enhancement by practitioners to meet the market’s evolving needs for GSF skillset.
As a near-term measure to ease the talent gap in GSF, the research team proposed leveraging and aligning the efforts of existing charterships and professional associations, including international bodies that have already developed GSF training offerings. The research team also suggested determining the role of scientists and environmental experts in the knowledge-value chain surrounding GSF, so that scientific expertise can be properly engaged to contribute to areas requiring specialized knowledge, including scientific policy making, carbon measurement, and environmental impact assessments.
As part of the efforts in support of GSF talent grooming, HKUST saw its first cohort of students admitted to the city’s first GSF undergraduate program BSc in Sustainable and Green Finance in September. Senior government officials, industry leaders and prominent scholars also gathered in a three-day conference earlier this month to exchange on GSF and climate change issues. HKUST is also advancing knowledge creation through a Research Grants Council-funded large-scale research project on green finance.
Prof. TAM Kar-Yan, Dean of HKUST Business School, said, “Since the Hong Kong and Central Governments announced their carbon neutrality plans in 2020, HKUST Business School has been committed to promoting sustainable economic development through research, talent development and industry engagement. This report is only the first of a series of studies to help steer Hong Kong’s development into an international green finance hub.”
Dean Tam further added, “While pointing to the low hanging fruits to be picked in upskilling our talent, the report has highlighted various longer-term opportunities, including laying down a skilled framework and introducing professional certification for GSF. To this end, Hong Kong is making notable inroads, with initiatives launched by the Government’s Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group to develop a common GSF qualification framework, provide training subsidies, and offer young people the opportunities to acquire practical industry experience in GSF.”
The study has also outlined the skills within the GSF domain that are most relevant to Hong Kong’s financial market, including taxonomies, carbon markets, environmental impact assessment, climate risk modelling as well as investment selection, mandates and active ownership.
Other recommendations made by the research team include:
- Categorizing training programs based on the talent gap they fill, with a view to maximizing their impact and meeting a continuum of skill development needs throughout a professional’s career
- Empowering universities to be breeding grounds of GSF-related interdisciplinary training while promoting a balance between academic education and professional training/certification development
- Creating a clear roadmap for rolling out talent development programs among all stakeholders, so that they can be prepared to operationalize their respective roles in scaling up the green and sustainable market
Funded by the Research Grants Council’s Theme-based Research Scheme, this study forms an integrated part of a five-year project that aims to develop research and education programs that enhance Hong Kong’s position as an international green finance center. Read the full report here.
About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (https://hkust.edu.hk/) is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. Over 80% of our research work were rated “Internationally excellent” or “world leading” in the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee. We were ranked 3rd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2022, and our graduates were ranked 30th worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global Employability University Ranking and Survey 2022. As of 2022, HKUST members have founded 1,645 active start-ups, including 9 Unicorns and 7 IPO companies, generating economic impact worth over HK$400billion. InvestHK cited QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 to demonstrate the performance of five world’s top 100 local universities in several innovation-centric areas, among which HKUST ranked top in four engineering and materials science subjects.
About the HKUST Business School
The School of Business and Management of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST Business School) is young, innovative and committed to advancing global business knowledge. The School has forged an international reputation for world class education programs and research performance, and has received many top global rankings. For more details about the School, please visit https://bm.hkust.edu.hk