The fast-paced Cambodian economy is in critical need of skilled financial professionals to propel the nascent capital market.
But the supply of such skilled talents has clearly not kept up with the domestic demand. The acute shortage could clip the development of the capital market which is crucial for the financial system, say experts.
“The development of securities market is important to grow the Cambodian economy but it can only happen with skilled investment professionals,” Casey Barnett president of CamEd Business School (CamEd) told The Post.
He was speaking on the sidelines after the launch of the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program for the CamEd Bachelor of Accounting and Finance (Honours) in Phnom Penh on April 30.
The government launched the Cambodian Securities Exchange in 2012 as part of the Financial Sector Development Strategy 2006-2015, aimed at achieving high economic growth by facilitating capital and investment flows.
Until today, only five companies have been listed on the stock exchange – a tepid response from the corporate sector.
“Recently the market has been growing quite slowly, there is lack of familiarity with equity investments, bonds, and even companies which are interested in issuing shares do not have the human resources to do that.
“Our strategy here is to develop the human resources and with skilled human resources we can move forward in the securities market,” added Casey.
The Phnom Penh-based CamEd has taken a significant step to support the Cambodian capital market by nurturing professionals to drive the financial sector.
Taking cognisance of the growing demand for such professionals, CamEd which specialises in the teaching of financial and accounting subjects, since 2000, has added the Charter Financial Analyst (CFA) curriculum and will reinforce it as an important course among other studies offered at the institution.
“According to studies and academic literature, economic growth is correlated with liquidity and activities in the securities market. The growth of the securities market can help moblise domestic money, so local money can be mobilised, invested and allocated efficiently through the market. The securities market can also be a means to attract foreign portfolio.
“Cambodia is behind in terms of human resources, it is at a critical time we are investing in human resources. We need a sense of urgency to support these efforts (securities market),” he added.
CamEd has become the first institute of higher education in Cambodia to be welcomed into the programme, which will enable students to obtain the Charted Financial Analyst designation.
Speaking at the same event, Nick Pollard, Managing Director (Asia Pacific) of CFA Institute said “Cambodia is a good market to invest” but needs the talent pool to push the economy forward.
“There is no ‘magic wand’. We need to invest in the people, build the talent base and build the trust with your customers, these are needed to build the capital market. And be patient!
“The biggest single investment we are making this year in Cambodia is to have the test (examination) centre in Phnom Penh. Previously candidates in Cambodia have to travel to other countries to take their exams, this year it will be held in Cambodia,” added Pollard.