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Money Moves

Against the stream

by Grace Chan

Top-notch IFA to expand team by 40 per cent

Quincy Wong, chairman
Convoy Financial Group
Photo: Lewis Wong

While a wave of financial institutions are crashing against the rocks during the current financial storm, one independent financial advisor (IFA) is riding on the crest and aggressively creating opportunities for aspiring individuals who have a keen eye on the wealth management profession.

According to Quincy Wong, chairman, Convoy Financial Group, the company is looking to expand its workforce by 40 per cent by the end of this year, making for a 2,000-strong financial consultant team.

Established in 1993, Convoy's rise to a top-notch IFA offering professional and independent wealth management services was rapid. The company's total number of financial consultants has grown from less than 100 in 2001 to more than 1,400 last year.

Seizing the opportunity to strengthen its consultancy team under the current stagnant market, Convoy recently ran its first "centralised" recruitment seminar.

"Unlike previous team-based recruitment activities, this recruitment seminar was our first attempt in terms of its target, scale and marketing effort," Mr Wong says.

The recruitment seminar specifically targeted veteran financial consultants who left the banking industry for an alternative career. "Although we're taking a prudent marketing approach this year, more recruitment seminars will be organised as long as the results are encouraging," he says.

Market trough

Amid the financial turmoil, Mr Wong remains optimistic about the overall business outlook and the supply of quality recruits.

"Market fluctuations are commonplace. So long as you stay on through the market trough, you will gain valuable experience and build a good foundation for your expertise and career," he stresses.

A fast-growing conglomerate, Convoy prides itself on its young and energetic corporate culture.

"The average age of our staff is around 30, and 38 for our top management. With such a young team, we can easily cope with market changes and accept new ideas," Mr Wong says.

Convoy views the younger generation as potential consumer groups and therefore aims to groom a team of young financial consultants to focus on their peer group's wealth management needs.

As such, university graduates with finance-related degrees are encouraged to join the company. Meanwhile, a special package is in place to reward experienced professionals from the banking industry.

He believes that sufficient training, strong support and business prospects help set Convoy apart from competition. "We dedicate additional resources to support our consultants' development needs," he adds.

Instead of attending external programmes, the bulk of Convoy's training is designed in-house and tailored for their consultants. Last year, Convoy provided each of its financial consultants with more than 1,000 hours of training. "We can coordinate or source appropriate training programmes to serve our own purposes," he says, adding that a study allowance is granted for SFC (Securities and Futures Commission) exams and licences.

Competitive edge

Convoy sources financial products from a range of financial institutions and provides impartial and goal-oriented financial advice for the benefit of its clients.

Mr Wong remarks that the current financial storm has brought the whole industry back to the very basics and created a growth platform for IFAs.

"The 'post-financial tsunami' era entails adverse impacts but breakthroughs will emerge as a result of 'creative destruction'. The financial market will become more disciplined and clients will observe increased vigilance over their choice of financial institutions, products and financial consultants," he says. "Banks and insurance companies can no longer enjoy the advantage of dominance in Hong Kong. As customers become savvier, IFAs like Convoy stand a good chance to increase their presence in the marketplace."

Mr Wong emphasises, "With our business scale, we have a stronger bargaining power to negotiate commission rates with our business partners and choose the range of financial products we wish to sell."

Despite investors' caution, Mr Wong is confident that the local investment market will ride out the storm in no time and professionals in the sector must therefore be prepared for a swift market recovery.

"Now is a better time to tap into the profession than a year ago when everyone was frenzied for the financial market," he concludes. "Existing consultants can now brush up their skills and knowledge; newcomers on the other hand can build a stronger foundation and get ready for the much anticipated bloom."

Breaking the waves

  • Room for an additional 600 financial consultants in 2009
  • Better packages offered to experienced consultants from banks
  • Newcomers encouraged to sign on and prepare for the next boom
  • Stronger bargaining power on commission rates and more tailor-made training programmes


Taken from Career Times 13 February 2009, p. A2

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