KDU University College to Grow Banking Sector Talent

From left: Mr Ong Eng Bin, Chief Executive Officer of OCBC Bank (M) Berhad and Council Member of Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers; Ms Shireen Kandiah, Interim Head Administrator of Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers; Prof Dr Hiew Pang Leang, Vice Chancellor of KDU University College; Mr Jeffrey Chew, Group Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Corporation Berhad; and Mr Choo Yee Kwan, Independent Director of HSBC Bank Berhad and Member of Education Committee of Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers.
KDU University College (KDU UC) and the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers signed an academic-industry partnership Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) to groom the next generation of banking graduates. The AICB is Malaysia’s professional body for the banking and financial services industry.
The collaboration is in line with the talent development agenda of Bank Negara Malaysia, which anticipates a great demand for high-quality talent by the financial sector given the envisioned transformation of this sector as well as a projected growth of between 8-11% annually.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the signing of the MoU, KDU UC Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Hiew Pang Leang said, “The banking and financial sector is one of the country’s top five leading employers. Two reports released by the Asian Institute of Finance last year revealed that 76% of employers in the financial industry are facing a talent shortage, citing a lack of competent and skilled employees.
“KDU UC is well-positioned to close this talent gap with this collaboration with AICB. This academic-industry collaboration will give professional recognition to KDU students graduating from the BA (Hons) Banking and Finance programme. AICB will give exemptions to graduates at the Executive Banker level and work towards part exemptions at the Professional Banker level.”
Through this partnership, KDU UC and AICB will also collaborate in the sharing of leading practices and knowledge in banking trends, recent research in teaching applications and pedagogical materials, as well as the sharing of expertise in the review of KDU UC’s banking and finance programmes to enhance alignment with current industry developments and needs.
“By partnering with AICB, KDU UC keeps its Banking and Finance programmes industry-embedded and relevant, and KDU students benefit from the sharing of expertise through thought leadership activities such as seminars and forums. This will ensure that our students are ready to hit the ground running in the financial services industry upon graduation with a clear advantage over others,” Prof Hiew added.
Also speaking at the signing ceremony, AICB Council Member Mr Ong Eng Bin said, “AICB has an important role and obligation to build the future talent pipeline for the banking and financial services industry. Given the rapidly changing environment in which banks need to operate within, a quality workforce is fundamental to its success. Therefore, universities and colleges play a significant role in developing an employable talent pipeline for the industry.” 
The signing ceremony was followed by a dialogue session where Mr Jeffrey Chew, Group Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Corporation Berhad, parent company of KDU UC, led an animated discussion on current issues faced by the banking industry, particularly in the area of talent development. Mr Chew, formerly Chief Executive Officer of OCBC Bank (M) Berhad, was joined by banking experts Mr Ong, who is also Chief Executive Officer of OCBC Bank (M) Berhad, and Mr Choo Yee Kwan, Independent Director of HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad.
“The financial landscape is dynamic, with new trends such as financial technology challenging existing norms. To excel in this industry, talents need to be well-versed with the latest trends and developments. By exposing our programmes to the same rigorous practices as that of professional certification bodies, we are giving our students a head start with professional certification and enhancing graduate employability to fill the immediate gap for skilled talent in the financial sector workforce,” Professor Hiew concluded.