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September 23, 2007

Goldman Sachs China MD Richard Ong Fails Chinese Test

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/23/2007 08:01:00 AM

Do you speak and write Chinese? If you want the top job at Goldman Sachs China, you apparently do. Goldman Sachs China's managing director, Richard Ong, failed the Chinese test that is required of all finance professionals. As a result, he got booted out of the top job at Goldman Sachs China. Goldman instead promoted Zha Xiangyang, deputy chief executive of its China joint venture, Goldman Sachs Gao Hua

Richard Ong was originally picked to lead the investment banking unit of Goldman Sachs in China back in October 2006. Unfortunately, the China Securities Regulatory Commission began requiring senior executives to take the test in 2004. Managers in place before then have until 2009 to pass the exam before losing their titles. Richard Ong, an ethnic Chinese born in Malaysia, did not write Chinese well enough to take a government-mandated test for senior managers. Oops. Its too bad the bloke couldn't make himself study hard enough to pick up the language. After all, he's Chinese!

The Chinese government's enforcement of language testing is part of a plan to give its citizens increased access to top positions at securities firms. The rule sets China apart from Japan, another Asian nation where language proficiency is low.

By the way, I love this quote.

“If the boss of a securities company in China doesn’t know the language, how could we expect him to communicate effectively with the staff, the government and investors?” says Xu Weijuan, who heads the department that preps bankers for the test at the Securities Association of China. “He wouldn’t even understand the notices we post on policy changes.”

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