Sidney Sze has every reason to understand why compliance and transparency are so important for any independent financial advisor(IFA).
Not only is Dr Sze the CEO of Midland Wealth Management Limited, but he also serves as chairman of the Independent Financial Advisors Association Limited and as a member of the general committee of the Hong Kong Confederation of Insurance Brokers.
"Compliance guarantees that professional consultants can enhance trust and understanding in their commitment to customers," he says. "And in terms of transparency, Midland now has a website which automatically updates client portfolios. They are well informed of the status of their investments and can have full confidence in what we are doing for them."
The company has grown from employing only 13 financial consultants when it was set up in late 2004 to over 130 today. The Midland Group has an 18 per cent stake, while strong support from other investors has made it possible to expand quickly and develop an extensive database of potential customers.
"With these resources, consultants are given strong back-up in sales, IT and training, which has been behind our rapid growth," Dr Sze says.
The company aims to offer customers a wide range of products to build their financial freedom. In line with a general policy of openness, consultants are told the percentage profit made from selling different products, so they can be aware of the contribution they are making to the business.
Potential candidates should be professional, self-disciplined, trustworthy, able to communicate well in English and Mandarin, and looking to build a career as a financial advisor. "Language skills are crucial to meet the needs of international customers, and the growing China market is a major focus for us," Dr Sze says. "We will equip our consultants with the knowledge, products and presentation skills to do well in this area."
He adds that people should regard the industry as a long-term professional career, not as a way to make fast money. "I tell both consultants and customers about the need to plan ahead and sow seeds for the future," he says.
- Compliance guarantees consultants can enhance trust and understanding in their commitment to customers
- Consultants are told the percentage profit made from selling different products, so they can be aware of the contribution they are making to the business