Although today's savvier investors can access a wide range of market information conveniently, there is still a growing demand for financial planning service.
Yan Wo-ping, one of this year's finalists of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers Outstanding Financial Management Planner Awards, is a personal financial services manager at Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited. Mr Yan emphasises that professionalism is the key in the world of financial planning.
"Through the competition, I was able to consolidate the knowledge I have gained during the past few years," remarks Mr Yan. The competition, which is jointly organised by the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) and Career Times, aims at recognising the achievement of outstanding financial planning professionals. "It provided me with an excellent platform to share experience with peers while sharpening my skills too," he adds.
Geared for success
"To meet the growing demand for financial planning service, financial planners must be capable of formulating investment strategies, offering market insights, as well as providing clients with the most up-to-date information on a diverse range of financial products," says Mr Yan.
Keeping abreast of the latest market trend is a core part of his work. "To enhance my competence, I always look for continuous professional development opportunities. With my professional knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the global market, I am able to provide my customers with a plan that best meets their needs," he remarks. He also emphasises the importance of listening skills. "When I meet my clients, I always listen to their views first. Regular portfolio reviews are also essential. These help my customers to achieve goals in different stages of their lives."
Mr Yan receives ample support from the bank in his career development. This helped when he was preparing for the competition. "In-house training helped gear me up. I also received a wealth of constructive advice from my senior colleagues. Thanks to the nurturing working environment I have built such confidence in my work," he says.
"I enjoy interacting with my clients, helping them realise their financial goals," says Mr Yan. "I offer financial advice to keep them informed of the latest market trend, helping them to understand how their financial plan works."
With building client relationship as a focal point of the job, trust and confidence are vital. Mr Yan relies on effective customer communication backed by a high level of professional knowledge. "It is very important for financial planners to comply with the code of ethics, to safeguard the interests of clients and demonstrate our professionalism."
"Once clients have set out their goals, I'll draft a plan to meet their investment needs. To help customers grasp investment opportunities, I must re-evaluate the plan in accordance with the client's financial status and the investment environment. If there are any unpredictable factors, the plan may need to be reviewed again," he explains.
Mr Yan advises that aspiring candidates must maintain a customer focus. "This job requires a great deal of interpersonal skills. As Hong Kong is an international financial city, a good command of English and Chinese is essential," he says.
Mr Yan continues to strive forward in his career and remains dedicated to reaching his goals. "I am honoured to be one of the six finalists in this competition and has learnt a lot through experience sharing with other contestants," he concludes.