Dr Yam started his civil service career in Hong Kong as a Statistician in 1971 and then as an Economist in the Hong Kong Government Secretariat, working closely with the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong on budgetary matters and on economic analysis.
Dr Yam's involvement in monetary affairs in Hong Kong started when he was appointed a Principal Assistant Secretary for Monetary Affairs in 1982. He helped put together Hong Kong's linked exchange rate system in 1983. He was subsequently appointed Deputy Secretary for Monetary Affairs in 1985 and Director of the Office of the Exchange Fund in 1991. Dr Yam was responsible for many of the reform measures introduced since the mid eighties to strengthen Hong Kong's monetary system and to develop Hong Kong's financial markets. These measures have contributed much to monetary stability in Hong Kong and its development as an international financial centre.
Dr Yam was instrumental in the establishment of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in 1993 when he left the Civil Service to head the new organization as its Chief Executive, a position that he has been holding since.
In that capacity, Dr Yam has over the years been honoured with a series of awards for his contributions to domestic and regional monetary and financial developments, and for piloting Hong Kong through the Asian financial turmoil.