|Raymond Cheung, vice-president, education and development|
Altruist Financial Group Limited
Photo: Dickie Tam
Financial management is often shaped by people's emotional inclinations. For this particular reason, today's financial consultants must learn to conduct their business with a human touch, which resonates with their clients' needs. This is the view of Raymond Cheung, vice-president, education and development, Altruist Financial Group Limited.
A reputable independent financial advisor (IFA) with a wealth of experience in the industry, Altruist promotes and perhaps is best known among its clients and professional counterparts for its professional integrity. "We do not simply sell products off the shelf," Mr Cheung stresses. "Our consultants are required to carry out a thorough analysis of a customer's financial situation before recommending the right financial tools."
In Mr Cheung's experience, a number of job candidates see the potential of the industry but lack the necessary motivation to take the plunge. "As such, we make use of multiple aptitude tests to help them to identify their strengths and weaknesses before moving on to clarify their medium- and long-term career objectives," he explains. "We will then need to see that they have a commitment to long-term career development and good ethics and a genuine customer mindset."
In turn, the company offers a full range of support to ensure that its consultants adhere to and fulfil their roles of long-term partners of their customers. To do this, Altruist immerses its new consultants in their 2-Year Elite Leadership Development Program, which begins with an initial nine-day familiarisation programme and followed by two full years of training comprising daily coaching, as well as weekly market update and workshops on product and soft skills enhancement. "We help our new joiners to develop salesmanship and this includes professional appearance, sales techniques, communications, presentation skills and customer service," Mr Cheung notes. "Continuous learning is indispensible because our emphasis isn't only on knowledge and skills training, but also on grooming people who will demonstrate and uphold standards of ethical conduct among other things."
A special feature of the company's training and development agenda is that its consultants must learn to identify and reinforce their personality traits. "We also find it important for our consultants to work to their unique strengths and interact with customers," Mr Cheung emphasises, adding that the company provides guaranteed financial assistance to its newcomers during their first two years with the company in order to help them to build a client base and make a stable income.
He points out that most companies typically assess their consultants' performance by looking merely at the sales figures. "This approach to performance management causes an increased level of stress," he remarks. "When someone underperforms, we examine the cause. We believe that a consultant with the right mindset, attitude and a high level of ethical conduct will excel at the job."
Currently, more than 60 per cent of Altruist's financial consultants and staff have been working for the company for more than 10 years. They have helped to build up a highly regarded company, which now boosts a loyal clientele of 50,000.
Going the extra mile
Taken from Career Times 16 September 2011
- Financial consultants must learn to conduct their business with a human touch
- Continuous learning indispensible
- More than 60% of the financial consultants/staff have been working for Altruist for over 10 years
- Financial consultants receive two years of financial support