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Money Moves

High achievers receive industry recognition

by Ada Poon

Challenges pave the way to exciting new prospects

(left to right)
Ivan Lee, sales director
Derek Lai, vice president
Kevin Tin, associate director
Centaline Financial Services Limited
Photo: Wallace Chan

One Hong Kong wealth management company seeking to capitalise on marketing opportunities, even during the current economic climate, is Centaline Financial Services Limited (CFSL). As part of its growth strategy, the company is continuously developing its team of independent financial advisers (IFAs).

This approach clearly pays dividends, as the company's success in this year's Distinguished Salesperson Awards (DSA) programme indicates.

The DSA programme, organised jointly by the Hong Kong Management Association and the Sales and Marketing Executives Club of Hong Kong, recognises successful salespeople and their achievements. The contestants are measured by their professional knowledge, presentation and sales skills, as well as their ability to understand customer needs, respond to change and resolve concerns effectively.

Triumph over adversity

All the candidates nominated this year by CFSL received awards. Ivan Lee, the company's sales director and one of DSA's winners this year, says a successful customer relationship is based on genuine concern for people. "Not only do we manage customers' financial assets, we also care about their personal circumstances," he points out.

Mr Lee notes that the financial downturn has led some of his clients to face stressful circumstances such as pay cuts, retrenchments or negative amortisation mortgages. In these cases, he has revised their financial plans to free up cash while at the same time helping to ease their concerns by explaining the cyclical nature of the economy.

Derek Lai, a CFSL vice president, is another DSA winner who is dedicated to his career. "I like interacting with people. My role allows me to expand my social network and sharpen my presentation and communication skills. Cross-industry competitions such as the DSA programme serve as an effective learning platform," he notes.

Kevin Tin, the company's associate director, says CFSL's success in the DSA awards is a credit to the company and serves as encouragement to all staff. He expects business opportunities to increase as more people seek advice from financial consultants.

Period of adjustment

The advice sought will be subtly different from before. In the 2007 fiscal year, the financial markets grew so fast that some investors received returns of up to 20 or 30 per cent from their investments, Mr Lee notes. Now that the markets have readjusted, it is "back to reality" and the demand for family protection has increased.

"This is a time of transition and we believe the good times will return, so we aim to turn challenges into opportunities while keeping in mind our clients' best interests," he adds.

As such, the company is always looking for ambitious individuals. "Fresh graduates are passionate about the job and eager to learn, while people with prior experience Xn ot necessarily in the financial field X come with contact networks and industry know-how. Both are great assets," explains Mr Tin.

Candidates should be prepared to study for their professional license examinations, have the determination to develop long-term careers in financial services and keep up with the fast-changing markets through continuous education, he notes.

Opportunity beckons

  • Advisers recognised for their industry knowledge and people skills
  • Tough times lead to increasing need for family protection
  • Company seeks talented and determined individuals
  • Aspirants must prepare for future challenges


Taken from Career Times 22 May 2009, p. A4

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