Money Moves

Financial reputation spread by word of mouth

by Wing Kei

M K Cheng, country manager, Hong Kong/Macau, ING Insurance Asia/Pacific
Photo: Ringo Lee

With many more people now turning to professional financial advisers for market insights and assistance with managing their assets, reputable institutions have had the chance to increase their range of services and tailor them to individual customer priorities.

"We offer a wide diversity of financial and insurance products and our advisers are trained to recognise and cater for specific client needs," says M K Cheng, country manager, Hong Kong and Macau region for ING Insurance Asia/Pacific. "Our strength is a well-established brand name and having the flexibility to offer customised advice and solutions suitable for each person."

Mr Cheng points out that investors are now becoming more aware of the importance of making adequate provisions for retirement, which explains why they see the value of financial planning services.

ING Financial Planning currently has around 40 financial advisers in Hong Kong and, while keen to increase headcount, focuses first and foremost on finding people who are of the right quality. "We have a well-managed system to provide new recruits with expert training, as well as coaching by senior members of staff," Mr Cheng explains. He emphasises that it is vital for financial advisers to keep abreast of the latest market news and, therefore, up-to-date information and analysis is made readily available.

"However, meeting customer needs is not just a matter of giving them information," he says. "That is why we make sure our financial advisers have the knowledge and the communication skills to make everything clear."

This approach has helped the company to acquire many new customers by word of mouth and from referrals which generally commend the high level of service. This is backed up by strict compliance procedures which give clients the peace of mind they require.

"For us, the customer is king and our professional relationships are based on trust," Mr Cheng notes. He adds that remuneration packages are mainly commission-based, since this is seen as the best way of driving performance.

"We want our advisers to feel good about their achievements, so we offer clear career progression and tie promotions closely to performance," he says.

Taken from Career Times 06 October 2006, p. A2
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