China: CFA Society Beijing

Chinese financial markets are becoming more sophisticated.  This was clearly evident during my meeting with LJ Jia, China Country Head for the CFA Institute.  Our common friend, Ranga Nathan, introduced us and we had a fascinating discussion in his offices about the evolution of financial markets in China.  He highlighted that learning is part of the Chinese DNA, and many Chinese are attracted to the credibility that the CFA designation brings.  He highlighted that there are more than 10,000 CFA candidates in Beijing and more than 38,000 CFA candidates in China.

Mr. Jia sees a great opportunity for the CFA institute to develop financial industry talent in China.  As China attempts to “move up the food chain” from a manufacturing economy to a service economy, the development of financial services will play a valuable role.  The Chinese government is supportive of these efforts.

John Lunt with LJ Jia

China recognizes the importance of being part of the global economy, and financial market liberalization is taking a step at a time.  RMB currency convertibility will continue in the coming years.  Capital markets in China are not on par with the size of the economy.  The development of capital markets will require China to broadly cooperate within the global system.  China’s path is different than that of Western countries (a theme that I heard repeatedly while in China).

I was very encouraged about the future of the financial services industry in China after talking with Mr. Jia.  The fact that there are thousands of Chinese pursuing this designation will be significant in building a foundation for the further development of the industry.

As a side note, Mr. Jia mentioned the founder of modern Singapore, the recently passed Lee Kuan Yew, as articulating valuable insights about understanding China.  This has been mentioned to me several times over the years, and I have included some links below:

http://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/03/interview-lee-kuan-yew-on-the-future-of-us-china-relations/273657/

http://thediplomat.com/2015/03/lee-kuan-yew-the-father-of-modern-china/

Special thanks to Brennan Staheli, Devin Lindley, and the Lunt Capital team for their contributions to this report.