Getting to Know Our New Board Director – Mr Dickson Chan

 Published on 21 March 2023

Elected to the Board of the HKSI Institute in December 2022, Mr Dickson Chan is the Managing Director and Head of Corporate Finance Execution of CLSA Limited. He has more than 20 years of experience in corporate finance and has successfully completed a number of landmark IPOs in Hong Kong.

Q: Please tell us more about yourself.

A: I began my career in corporate finance in 2000 with one of the Big 4 in Hong Kong after graduating from the University of California. It didn’t take me long to realise that the industry is demanding, but on the other hand, it also offers the opportunity to meet outstanding entrepreneurs and leaders across different industries and continents. This is where you find yourself on a steep learning curve and develop the passion for your work every day.

Having spent over 20 years in the industry, I’ve worked with local, US and Chinese investment banks, focusing on initial public offerings (IPOs) and other corporate finance matters. In addition to managing front-office operations, I am also involved in our firm’s business integrations and management of businesses in Hong Kong and overseas. Currently, I lead the corporate finance team focusing on deal execution in Hong Kong and other countries.

Q: What is it like to be living the corporate finance life? What is the favourite part of your job?

A: “Long working hours” is the first phrase that pops. I still remember the good old times when I went sleepless for days. It’s not that we can’t work smarter, but the nature of the industry demands round-the-clock work so to produce the highest efficiency and effectiveness, to the best of our ability.

Here are a few favourite parts of my job. As I focus a lot on IPOs, I get to “Meet the CEO” and learn a lot from them – gaining insights into their strategic vision for the company, their decision-making process, leadership style etc. Also, I get to travel to places where we normally don’t go. For example, I went to Johannesburg for a site visit of our client’s underground gold mine, to North Carolina the day before New Year’s Eve to do stocktake of livestock, and many other unique experiences.

Q: Many young professionals are intrigued by corporate finance work but do not necessary understand the full spectrum of it. What is your advice to those who would like to pursue their career in corporate finance, and/or the career path that they should follow and develop?     

A: Corporate finance, or investment banking, has a wide spectrum of products/ services. The most commonly known is probably IPOs, but there are more to it, like issuance of bonds, secondary offerings, mergers & acquisitions and many more. Each product has multiple components too, with an IPO involving the corporate finance team, sector team, as well as capital market team, among others. Internships are always a good way to learn and narrow down your interest.

In general, corporate finance practitioners are required to be licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), with specific licenses required based on your job nature. These licenses are granted upon completion of certain Licensing Examination for Securities and Futures Intermediaries (LE) administered by the HKSI Institute, among other requirements. In addition, as HKSI Institute regularly engages with market practitioners , the training courses/ seminars offered by the HKSI Institute provide practical and unparallel knowledge to our members.

Q: What is your outlook for Hong Kong’s capital market in 2023?   

A: It’s exciting to see all the new initiatives in recent years, from allowing companies to list with weighted-voting rights (WVR) to the latest Chapter 18C focusing on specialist technology companies. These initiatives further strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a key global financial centre.

Q: What appeals to you about board service at the HKSI Institute, and what would you like to accomplish during your term as Board Director?

A: I am keen to share what I have learnt in the past 20 years with our members and the wider industry. The HKSI Institute is committed to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and industry excellence, and it is an excellent platform for me to share my knowledge and insights.