On 23 October 2015, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) published a circular on the progress of Registered Institutions’ implementation of the enhanced competency framework (ECF) for private wealth management practitioners, following the HKMA’s survey on private banks’ implementation progress and plans for the ECF. The ECF was launched in June 2014 and the initial training programmes and examinations for the ECF have commenced in phases since October 2014 and January 2015 respectively.

The survey results found that as at the end of June 2015:

  1. 42 private banks fell under the definition of private wealth management (PWM) institutions for the purpose of the ECF, and together employed around 3,000 relevant  practitioners;
  2.  it is projected that 90% of the existing relevant practitioners will meet the ECF benchmark by the end of 2016, and nearly all of them are expected to achieve this by the end of 2017; and
  3. the private banks estimate around 4,000 relevant practitioners will meet the ECF benchmark by the end of 2019.

The HKMA also noted that over 1,000 relevant practitioners meeting the ECF benchmark and with sufficient relevant work experience had been granted the professional designation of Certified Private Wealth Professional (CPWP) by the Private Wealth Management Association (PWMA).

In addition to the enhancement of core competence, the ECF also covers on-going professional development. Requirements for private banks include taking concrete measures to encourage all relevant practitioners (whether CPWPs or not) to complete not less than 10 hours of private wealth management-related on-going professional training in each calendar year.

To further encourage private banks to plan ahead and monitor staff progress, the scope of the HKMA’s next half-yearly survey for the position as of the end of December 2015 will be expanded to cover on-going professional training of relevant practitioners.

The HKMA will provide guidance to the PWMA on developing and finalising its policy and mechanism for the accreditation of relevant in-house training programmes and examinations of private wealth management institutions. In providing this guidance, the HKMA has observed that the key principle will be ensuring that the ECF benchmark is upheld to ensure the syllabus of accredited in-house training matches that of the ECF. Accordingly, the HKMA noted it will be necessary to put appropriate controls in place, including establishing an independent quality assurance mechanism for developing and updating in-house training and examination materials.

The HKMA will continue to monitor private banks’ implementation of the ECF through communications and regular surveys.