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December 14, 2009

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Shanghai faces lack of talent for hub

THE lack of highly qualified financial professionals with the necessary expertise and rich global experience is creating challenges to Shanghai's ambition to transform itself into a world financial hub, according to a latest report.

Shanghai should step up more efforts to attract overseas financial talents and to train managers by cooperating with foreign universities and financial institutions, said the Fudan University's report released at the weekend at a human resources forum.

The number of financial professonals in the city jumped nearly fivefold from 49,800 in 1993 to 231,900 in 2008. But fewer than 20 percent of local financial professionals hold globally recognized qualifications like Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Financial Planner. There are also not enough managers competent in actuarial science and risk management, the report said, adding that Shanghai lags behind Hong Kong and Singapore in the number of financial professionals holding such qualifications.

"To achieve the goal of a global financial center, the quality of financial expertise is as vital as the number," said Li Xuhong, associate professor at the School of Management, Fudan University. "Overseas talents with rich experience in innovative financial products and new businesses are needed as China has almost none in these areas."

Li also said domestic universities should seek more training programs with foreign universities like Columbia University.

Of the 55 leading financial institutions surveyed, 47 percent said they lacked practical experience unlike their overseas counterparts and 37 percent said they lacked the latest knowledge of their industry in the global arena.

To address the problem, Shanghai hopes to hire 116 financial professionals during a current second overseas recruitment in New York, Toronto and Singapore. The city hired 66 in the first exercise on Wall Street and in the City of London last year.


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