Q1. How do I know if I meet the eligibility criterion of holding a position at “approximately two levels below the CEO position”?

We fully understand that nomenclatures of post titles of talents at two levels below the CEO position vary among financial institutions. Generally, applicants with post titles such as managing director, business head, general manager, partner would be considered eligible for this Programme.

Q2. What does an ideal applicant look like to you? What are the expectations from the talents after attending the Programme?

We welcome applicants from different background so it would not be possible to lay out all the details saying what makes one good or not good enough for the Programme. Generally speaking, our Programme looks for financial talents who–

  • Possess considerable experience and leadership potential and are poised to become future leaders in the financial industry;
  • Have, to a certain extent, a mindset to lead, to step out of their business routines and look at issues from a macro perspective, to think beyond the short-term and their individual firms;
  • Are eager for opportunities to expand their network; and
  • Have good integrity with no negative track record.

When considering the applications, the AoF Membership Committee will take the following factors into account:

  • CVs of applicants, nomination letters by their CEOs, and any other reference letters submitted.
  • Contribution of applicants to the financial industry in Hong Kong, for example, participation in Government and regulatory advisory committees, industry associations, and other initiatives to promote the development of the Hong Kong financial industry.
  • A balanced mix of applicants with diverse background.
  • Priority will be given to:
    • AoF Members.
    • Applicants who are based in Hong Kong
    • Applicants from firms with global/regional headquarters in Hong Kong.

Q3. Is it a must to be in a financial-related role to apply this programme? What if I am a Group Chief Marketing Officer in a financial institution / in other commercial areas?  How about other professional roles like lawyer?

Practitioners working in the financial industry and in related fields may apply for the Programme.  We welcome applicants with different expertise / roles.

Q4. Can talents working in a small scale start-up apply?

We welcome applicants from firms of different scales.

Q5. Must I be a Member of the AoF to apply for or nominate a candidate for the Programme?

Application is open to all. You do not have to be a Member of the AoF in order to apply for the Programme or make nomination.

Q6. Can I nominate more than one staff for the Programme?

CEO of the applicant’s employer can only nominate one applicant in a year.

Q7. How would the AoF treat different companies under the same group? Will they be regarded as the same employer which can nominate at most one applicant in a year?

If the companies are two separate legal entities and have different main regulators, they will be regarded as different employers.  For example, ABC Bank (HK) primarily regulated by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and ABC Insurance (HK) primarily regulated by the Insurance Authority are considered two separate legal entities, and can each nominate one applicant.

Q8. Can the CEO of a group’s subsidiary apply for the Programme if he/she meets the eligibility criteria?  Does he/she need to be nominated by the Group CEO?

Certainly.  Generally speaking, the CEO can nominate himself/herself.  However, a nomination letter from the Group CEO helps illustrate to us that the applicant has the potential to be a future leader in the financial industry and would be conducive to the selection process.

Q9. When you mention two levels down from the CEO - is that at a local subsidiary level or a group level?

We accept both applications.  Applicant who works in a group’s subsidiary is only required to be nominated by the CEO of the subsidiary.  Applicant who works at group level is required to be nominated by the Group CEO.

That said, we can tell you that quite some well-established financial institutions have indicated to us their interest in the Programme, so you should expect that the competition will be quite keen.

Q10. Will the AoF consider my application if I submit nomination from my supervisor who is not the CEO of my employer?

Application must be supported by the applicant’s employer.  Each application must include a nomination letter signed off by the CEO of the employer and the completed application form.  This is to ensure the calibre of the applicants and the full support from their employers for them to actively participate throughout the nine-month programme.  For the avoidance of doubt, an applicant who works in a group’s subsidiary is only required to be nominated by the CEO of the subsidiary.

Q11. My title is not CEO but I am effectively functioning as CEO of the business.  Can I nominate a colleague to join the programme?

Yes, you may proceed with the nomination / application for the Programme.

Q12. Can I submit my application independently and follow up later with my CEO’s nomination?

Yes, you may, as long as the CEO’s nomination letter reaches us before the application deadline on 17 December 2023.

Q13. If my company transfers me outside of Hong Kong half-way through the Programme which makes physical attendance difficult, can I continue to participate through virtual attendance? Can I transfer my place to another candidate in my company? Or receive a partial refund?

We place great emphasis on physical attendance of participants as it enables them to build networks with financial leaders who are our Programme speakers and participants. In case of relocation out of Hong Kong, the AoF Membership Committee will consider the request for continuing participation in the Programme on a case-by-case basis. The participant concerned may be suspended from the Programme until he/she returns to base in Hong Kong. In that case, when he/she re-applies for the Programme upon return, his/her application will be given priority in the selection process.

We do not accept transfer of programme place nor request for programme fee refund.

Q14. How about if I change my job to another company half-way through the programme?

This will be dealt with by the Membership Committee on a case-by-case approach.

Q15. Can I finish my Programme in the following year if I have to drop out half-way through the Programme?

We do not accept deferral of participation into the following year.  You will have to apply again and applications will be considered independently each year.

Q16. If I do not know Putonghua, will I be considered for the Programme?

The Programme will mainly be conducted in English.  Putonghua proficiency is a plus as some sessions of the Programme will be conducted in Putonghua, for example, the field trip to Mainland China.

Q17. Can I have more details of the field trip?  Whether the cost of the trip has been covered in programme fee?

One field trip to Mainland China or overseas is planned for Q3 2024.  Participants will meet with senior management of major fintech companies in China and other industry disruptors with innovative businesses to learn about the latest innovations and their vision about the future, and to visit their labs.  Opportunities will also be taken to visit other major state-owned enterprises, privately-owned enterprises, and foreign enterprises to learn about the development opportunities in the regions.

Participants will need to pay for their own travel, accommodation, insurance and any ancillary expenses, which have not been included in the programme fee.

Q18. Do I have to attend the field trip?  If I cannot join the field trip, will I fail the 75% attendance requirement?

We strongly encourage participants to join the field trip to interact with major institutions active in the respective regions and to see and feel for themselves the latest development.  Participants may still earn the Certificate of Completion without attending the field trip as long as they achieve at least 75% attendance of the full programme, i.e. attending most of the remaining programme activities.

Q19. Can I participate in the field trip to the Mainland if I do not know Putonghua?

A substantial proportion of the meetings during the field trip is likely to be conducted in Putonghua.  If you would like to join the field trip but worry about communicating in Putonghua, you are most welcome to bring along an aide (or one of your colleagues in the Mainland) at your own cost to help translate for you.

Q20. What if the field trip cannot be held due to travel restrictions?

Visits to institutions located in Hong Kong will be arranged instead. Participants will also be invited to suggest institutions that they are interested to visit.

Q21. How the Programme can help HK executives / talents to understand or keep abreast of development of China financial sector?

The China dimension is one of the backbones when we design this Programme.  Rather than narrowly focusing on just the financial sector of China, we aim to provide participants with a macro view.  We have confidence that the China dimension will be touched upon in all of the conversations and discussions with our distinguished speakers.  Besides, you would note that we have included a dedicated module on China and the Greater Bay Area (GBA), plus a field trip to Mainland China so as to enable the participants to see and feel for themselves the latest developments.  You may wish to take a look at the Sample Modules on the Programme website for more details.

Q22. When are the applications due?

The application period will end on 17 December 2023.

Q23. When will the application result be announced?

We will inform all applicants of their application results by end of March 2024.

Q24. When does the 2023 Programme start and finish?

Programme activities run between Q2 2024 to end 2024/ early 2025.

Q25. Will programme activities be virtual or in-person?

Programme activities will mainly be in-person to encourage interactive and in-depth exchange of thoughts and experience.  Suitable social distancing and hygienic measures will be put in place.

Q26. How much time does the AoF expect the participants to commit for joining the Programme?

Participants are expected to commit on average 3-4 sessions per month (usually a late afternoon on a weekday running from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm) joining the programme activities, including the structured curriculum activities, networking events, and other leadership development events organised by the AoF.  Participants are also expected to do a considerable amount of reading in preparation for the conversations and discussions with financial leaders.

Q27. Will participation in the Programme affect my ability to meet the demands of my job?

This part-time Programme is specially designed to fit in participants’ business schedule. Programme activities will mostly be held in late afternoons on weekdays (and on different days in the week) to minimise disruption to the work of the participants.

Q28. Can I take leave during the Programme?

We encourage participants to attend as much of the Programme as possible. That said, participants may take leave due to sickness or other reasons and can still be awarded with the Certificate of Completion as long as they achieve at least 75% attendance.

Q29. Are there any other expenses apart from the HK$100,000 Programme fee?

Participants are expected to pay for their own travel, accommodation and insurance costs (and any ancillary expenses) of the field trip to Mainland China or overseas.

Q30. What are the conditions that I need to meet in order to graduate from the Programme?

To graduate from the Programme, participants will need to achieve at least 75% attendance of the Programme (including the structured curriculum activities, networking events, and other leadership development events organised by the AoF) and show satisfactory performance throughout.

Q31. What is the next step after the end of Programme?

Graduates who are not yet a Member of the AoF would be considered for AoF Membership, subject to meeting the AoF Membership criteria and approval by the AoF Membership Committee. The list of Programme graduates will be published on the AoF website and social media platform(s) and be drawn to the attention of financial regulatory bodies, the Government, industry bodies and beyond.

Various graduate engagement events and initiatives will be organised to promote strong bonding across cohorts.

Q32. Could you illustrate the Programme’s vision on how the participants can contribute beyond the programme period?

The sky is the limit. We look forward to the creative and constructive work that our programme participants help bring to the financial industry, and of which we hope would also benefit the larger society and strengthen Hong Kong’s role as a premier international financial centre.

Q33. Will the Programme be held every year?

We do intend to have one cohort of participants for this Programme each year. Building up a network of alumni across cohorts is also another element of this Programme. But we are also realistic that this is only the second year we run this Programme. While the feedback to the first year’s Programme has been very positive, we will continue to learn from the experiences and modify the different elements of the Programme as we go forward.

Q34. Will any specific mentor be assigned to individual participant? If yes, is it based on related sector or by random?

The AoF will explore different formats to see how best to connect the participants with financial leaders and learn from their experience and insights.

Q35. Is the Programme recognised as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activity? Can I obtain CPD hours after joining the Programme?

Given the unique nature of the Programme (such as the high-level programme content, exclusive pool of programme participants), we currently have no plan to make the Programme eligible for CPD hours.

Q36. Further questions?

Please contact us at (852) 2597 0900 or [email protected].