Build, Borrow or Adapt HR talent

Hosted by: BlackRock

BlackRock and the Chapman Consulting Group co-hosted an insightful and dynamic discussion for Financial Services HR Leaders in Hong Kong last week. HR heads attended from a broad range of organisations such as Aegon, Allianz Investors, ANZ, Bain Consulting, BOAML, Daiwea, Eastspring, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, Sun Life Insurance, UBS and others. The discussion kicked off on the topic of ‘change and transformation’ and how to best manage this from an HR perspective. Soon a two-pronged theme emerged in the challenges HR Leaders face when looking to increase their teams’ skill sets, as well as source the right people for this ever-changing region.


Our host, Andrew Hambleton, BlackRock’s HR Head in Asia Pacific, shared his thoughts on picking the right model but also the right talent. When building his team in Asia, Andrew started with a blank piece of paper and he was clear on what can make the difference: “Technical ability is important but attitude and flexibility are key. I have hired my regional team with this in mind – they are the people I feel can handle change and rapid growth.” Others agreed that although they employ a global framework, it is vital to localise the HR function for the region, while keeping a close eye on each country for promising talent.


From the discussion it was clear that mobility and the power of cross-border talent swaps are crucial in times of change. Within BlackRock there were a number of examples of successful and proven employees being given global career opportunities. There is continuity in terms of organisational culture with an internal move, as well as progress in diversity and international understanding.


The HR function of the future was discussed, and it became clear that there must be flexibility in talent development and sourcing, as today’s HR challenges are changing faster than the existing talent pool. Maria Chan, Regional Head of HR with UBS shared, “With the changing HR operating models and increased oversight by regulators and other government bodies, has the profile of an HR leader in APAC changed? Should we be looking at senior talent at the country level with different backgrounds – like business operations or risk management – and make more of an effort to bring these people into the HR business partner function?”

We have recently seen more interest from HR leaders in certain markets to hire those who have spent time in other areas of the business. The reverse move (from HR to a business role) is also happening, but it is only becoming common in particular countries, such as India, where we have seen a number of HR Heads move into COO or general management roles.

A special thank you to Andrew and his team for hosting an interesting and productive session. The next APAC Financial Services HR Leaders’ gathering will be held in Singapore in February 2014.

The Chapman Consulting Group HR Leader Networking Sessions

Each year The Chapman Consulting Group brings together select groups of HR Leaders in various locations around the globe. These sessions provide an ideal forum for discussion of the current trends and critical issues in the HR industry, while forging key relationships within the field. See HR Networking for information on forthcoming sessions.


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