Newsletter No. 440

10 No. 440, 19.6.2014 四年制课程实施后,对大学的财政是否有影响? 实施四年制后,对于新增的那一年,大学只从大 学教育资助委员会获得相当于正常年度62.5% 的经费。所以,整体拨款虽然多了,但摊分计算, 学生的平均经费是有所减少。再者,教资会亦在 研究拨款中引入更多竞争元素,大学如要竞逐拨 款,必须提升研究质素和实力。 去年接任财务长一职,眼前或中期有何新计划? 教资会财务工作小组最近检视了八大院校的财务 状况并完成报告,提出了九项建议。它最主要是 担心大学会用教资会的资源补助非教资会资助的 项目,例如补贴自负盈亏课程。未来六年大学要 一一落实它的建议。 中短期我有个心愿,就是希望可以把财务系统下 放给各部门。现在部门在自己帐户的花费,须经 过一定程序才能登录财务系统,需时至少一个 月。如果他们想马上知道自己帐户中最新的收支 状况,以决定怎样用钱,那就很不方便。所以如 能把财务系统下放,就可以取得实时资讯。 美国大学有很成功的投资模式,是否有值得我们 参考之处? 我们有参考美国大学基金的投资模式。我们的投 资分A、B、C三组,A组正是参照耶鲁大学的投资 模式,我们会把长期不会动用的资金放到这种高 回报但风险也较高的基金。B组就交由投资经理 放到全面和专项的投资基金,最大笔的是C组, 放到存款、债券、固定利率的投资工具。未来若 校董会批准,我们会增聘一个「避险基金」的基 金经理,总体投资亦会增加。 长远而言,未来大学的财政将面临什么挑战? 最大的挑战是如何运用财政资源来增加大学的 竞争力。我们不应只顾累积盈余却不加运用,而 应用得其所,令大学能厚积实力,即罗致教授、 多做研究和策略发展。 管理像中文大学这样的高等教育机构的财政, 有何独特的地方? 商业机构只有一个目标,就是赚取最大利润,其 他不用管太多。但在院校管理财政,就牵涉多方, 由政府、立法会、教资会甚至传媒,我们都受他 们监察。有那么多利益相关的人士,做每件事都 要从多方、多角度的考量。比方说,单是加学费这 个议题,学生、公众或传媒的意见,我们都不能 忽视。 遇到某些服务的成本上涨,须增加收费时会怎样 处理? 会和与事各方多协商,多沟通,希望大家明白大 学资源始终有限,增加某项服务的补贴,另一些 服务的资源就相对地减少。 由1990年在大学财务处任职至今,谁令你印象 最深刻? 有三个人我的印象最深刻。第一位是中大第二任 财务长招大维先生。他是很和蔼可亲、待人和善 的绅士。我刚加入中大时不过是个会计主任,但 他对我很有信心,还让我去英国念硕士。 念完书回来后,正值教资会改变大学拨款模式, 中大设立专责小组研究对策,招大维先生就派我 去负责新拨款模式事宜。当时廖柏伟教授是专 责小组主席,我担任秘书,与廖教授共事机会很 多,他对大学的运作非常熟悉,也有丰富行政经 验,令我获益良多,他可说是我的恩师。 第三位是前任财务长陈镇荣先生,他是个很有智 慧、活力、从容不迫的人,人缘也很好,是很值得 学习的楷模。我是得到他的鼓励和支持,才有勇 气接任财务长的职位。 Has the implementation of the four-year undergraduate curriculum had any impact on the University’s finances? The University Grants Committee (UGC) only provides 62.5% of a year’s normal funding for the additional year of the new curriculum. So, although we get more money on the whole, we have less money on a per student basis. Furthermore, the UGC has introduced greater competitiveness in allocating research funding. CUHK must improve the quality of its research and enhance its research capacity if it wants to get competitive research grants. Can you talk about some immediate or medium-term plans? The Financial Affairs Working Group of the UGC has reviewed the financial status of eight UGC-funded universities and finished a report, making nine recommendations. Their major objective is to ensure that there is no cross- subsidization of UGC resources to non-UGC-funded activities, such as self-financed programmes. We’ll implement their recommendations in the next two triennia. In the immediate or medium term, I want to push for the decentralization of financial systems. Now when a unit of the University spends money, it has to go through a procedure before the outlay can be recorded in its financial system. That takes at least a month. It would be quite annoying not to be able to know your latest balance when making decisions on using your resources. If financial systems can be decentralized, you’ll get real-time information. The investment returns of the endowment funds of top universities in the US are enviable. Is there something we can learn from them? We’ve learned from the endowment funds of American universities. We divide our investment into three pools: Pool A, Pool B and Pool C. The investment model of Pool A mirrors those of Yale University. But we only put the money that will be idle for a long time in such high-risk, high-return funds. For Pool B, we let our investment managers invest it in balanced and special investment funds. Pool C is the biggest share. We put it in fixed deposits, bonds, and other fixed rate investment products. If we can get the green light from the University Council, we’ll hire an investment manager to take care of hedge funds and our investment will also be increased. What do you see would be a long-term challenge? It would be making the best use of our financial resources to make the University more competitive. Accumulating money is not our end, but spending it wisely and helping the University to build capacity. This involves recruiting professors, funding quality research, and facilitating strategic developments. What is the unique feature of managing the finances of a higher education institution like CUHK? Businesses have only one goal—the maximization of profits. They don’t have many other concerns. But as a tertiary institution, we have a variety of stakeholders, including the government, the Legislative Council, the UGC, and the media. Our finances come under their scrutiny. So whenever we want to make a financial decision, we have to consider it from different angles and put ourselves in different people’s shoes. For example, if we want to increase tuition fee, the opinions of students, the public and the media are something to which we must pay heed. What will you do when you’re forced to increase the fee for a service because of rising costs? We’ll try to improve communication with stakeholders. We hope that they would understand that our resources are limited. When one service gets more subsidies, others get fewer. Can you recall any professor/colleague who impressed you the most? There are three persons who impressed me most. The first one is Mr. David Gilkes, the second Bursar of the University. He’s a kind and amiable gentleman. I was just a small accountant when I first joined CUHK. But he had confidence in me and allowed me to study for my master’s degree in the UK. When I returned after finishing my studies, Mr. Gilkes asked me to join the task force in charge of elaborating a new funding model in response to UGC’s change in its funding model. Prof. Liu Pak-wai was the chairman of the task force and I was the secretary. Professor Liu was an experienced administrator who had intimate knowledge of the operation of the University. I benefited a lot from his guidance. So, it can be said that he is my mentor. The third one is Mr. Terence C.W. Chan, the former Bursar. He is a wise, energetic and unruffled person. He’s also very popular and my role model. Without his encouragement and support, I might not have been confident enough to take up the position of Bursar. 陈林月萍 Salome Chan 大学财务长 University Bursar

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