‘Pa­tient op­por­tunist’ who won’t miss the boat

China Daily (Canada) - - HONG KONG - By DUAN TING in Hong Kong

tingduan@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Yun­feng Fi­nan­cial Group boss Li Ting calls her­self a “pa­tient op­por­tunist”, putting new and mean­ing­ful tasks to the test and em­brac­ing the chal­lenges.

“You have to re­act quickly at all times, grab the fleet­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in the mar­ket and cor­rect the er­rors im­me­di­ately, oth­er­wise, you’ll never get it again,” says the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the fi­nan­cial ser­vices arm of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, al­lud­ing to the Chi­nese say­ing “once you’re past Suzhou, you’ll miss the boat.”

Li prides her­self on an im­pres­sive ca­reer record — land­ing her first job at lead­ing

be for Asian com­pa­nies go­ing through in­vest­ments and merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions to be­come real in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies, and Yun­feng wants to be a part of that process.

The global as­set al­lo­ca­tion of in­di­vid­ual in­vestors is just the be­gin­ning, says Li, be­liev­ing that for­eign in­sti­tu­tions will not be able to bet­ter serve Asia’s re­tail in­vestors.

Strat­egy-wise, Yun­feng will po­si­tion it­self as a com­pre­hen­sive fi­nan­cial ser­vices provider in cor­po­rate fi­nance, fo­cus­ing on merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions of com­pa­nies, and em­ployee stock own­er­ship plans for listed com­pa­nies and those plan­ning to go pub­lic, as well as bro­ker­age and wealth man­age­ment world wealth man­age­ment cor­po­ra­tion State Street as a risk man­ager with the trad­ing desk — af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Wal­lace E. Car­roll Grad­u­ate School of Man­age­ment, Bos­ton Col­lege.

Her dili­gence in stud­ies won her the chance to work for State Street. She re­calls hav­ing de­tected a text­book er­ror and bring­ing it up with her pro­fes­sor at univer­sity. She was given top marks for that ini­tia­tive and when she ap­plied for a post at State Street, the cor­po­ra­tion rang up the univer­sity fol­low­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion by the pro­fes­sor.

Li ex­presses grat­i­tude for hav­ing “grown up” with State Street for 14 years and be­ing given the op­por­tu­nity to as­sume var­i­ous roles in Hong

ser­vices.

Com­pared with Ant Fi­nan­cial, which is also backed by Alibaba Group, Li says Yun­feng pro­vides fi­nan­cial ser­vices through tech­nol­ogy mostly to less wealthy peo­ple, while the former is a “tech-fin” com­pany that con­cen­trates on tech­nol­ogy-re­lated busi­nesses.

On fi­nan­cial in­no­va­tion, Li says the new busi­ness model is cre­ated by Chi­nese peo­ple amid the tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion boom, rather than im­i­tat­ing the ma­ture busi­ness mod­els in the US, and this is a big dif­fer­ence com­pared with the sit­u­a­tion 10 years ago.

How­ever, the US fi­nan­cial mar­ket is more ma­ture and the de­gree of its cov­er­age of fi­nan­cial ser­vices is much higher, but the tra­di­tional fi­nan­cial mar­ket Kong and the United States, in­clud­ing port­fo­lio risk man­ager, port­fo­lio man­ager for US fixed in­come, head of risk of Asia Pa­cific, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and head of China mar­ket de­vel­op­ment, se­nior man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and head of Asia ex-Ja­pan.

She felt it was a break­through when she was ap­proached by Yun­feng’s man­age­ment, al­low­ing her to em­bark on a new jour­ney with a com­pany she has now been with for the past two years.

She saw the po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ing the ro­bot-ad­viser to fill the mar­ket va­cancy and build up an ecosys­tem link­ing busi­ness in­sti­tu­tions with re­tail in­vestors.

Li de­fines her job at Yun­feng as be­ing very dif­fer­ent from

has not been over­turned by fin­tech com­pa­nies yet as the lat­ter make up only a small part of the mar­ket.

Li praised the hard­work­ing and ded­i­cated at­ti­tude of the Chi­nese peo­ple that has con­trib­uted to the tech­nol­ogy fever on the main­land, com­ple­mented by a huge and qual­ity la­bor force, as well as a vast mar­ket and ad­e­quate cap­i­tal and the gov­ern­ment’s en­cour­age­ment, al­though the fast pace of fin­tech de­vel­op­ment has given rise to prob­lems, in­clud­ing in­sta­bil­ity.

She re­calls that 12 years ago, when she first came to work in Hong Kong, she felt the su­per con­ve­nience of the Oc­to­pus card, but there’s still no big change in terms of pay­ment meth­ods at present. On the main­land, pay­ment for goods her pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence, work­ing for a well-es­tab­lished fi­nan­cial en­ter­prise where peo­ple still have a “safety zone” to follow the rules while in a startup com­pany.

“Then, you need to be re­ally fast and ac­cu­rate, and no one will tell you if you’re go­ing in the right or wrong direction.”

Li also of­fers a rather in­ti­mate warn­ing for the younger gen­er­a­tion — a rolling stone gath­ers no moss. They have to be stead­fast and clear in their work and dis­card the men­tal­ity that they must hit their first pot of gold be­fore 30.

“Peo­ple in their 20s should fo­cus on im­prov­ing their abil­i­ties. You should be clear about your core strength and de­velop it to the fullest. It will pay off one day.”

and ser­vices has been made su­per con­ve­nient.

Al­though Hong Kong, which had gone through ma­jor fi­nan­cial crises in the past two decades, has been more con­ser­va­tive in in­tro­duc­ing fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tions in the past 10 years, she would like to see the fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tor re­defin­ing the city’s strate­gic po­si­tion to re­main as an in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial hub.

Li thinks Hong Kong presents enor­mous op­por­tu­ni­ties ahead and could play a big­ger role in the re­gion, adding that Yun­feng may co­op­er­ate with com­pa­nies along the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive coun­tries and re­gions.

Con­tact the writer at tingduan@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY

Yun­feng Fi­nan­cial Group CEO Li Ting says the hard­work­ing and ded­i­cated at­ti­tude of the Chi­nese peo­ple has con­trib­uted to the rapid spread of tech­nol­ogy on the main­land. Li Ting, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Yun­feng Fi­nan­cial Group

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