Money Moves

Making the right choice

by Maggie Tang

Carmen Wong, chief operation officer
Midland Financial Group
Photo: Johnson Poon

One advantage of having an established parent company is the opportunity to leverage on its strong brand and previous success. As a leading independent financial advisory (IFA), Midland Financial Group (Midland Financial) currently enjoys such a position and is following in its parent's footsteps.

The enterprise is an affliliate of the listed company Midland Holdings, a major real estate agency in Hong Kong. This supporting base has secured the company its advantageous position as linkage to a dependable brand boosts client confidence.

Carmen Wong, chief operation officer, explains that despite the increased numbers of financial planning clients, the profession remains highly competitive and knowledge based so they are looking for competent candidates with the drive to excel professionally.

"Financial planning is an exceptional career choice in terms of monetary return and job satisfaction. Helping our financial consultants build their business networks is our primary objective which leads to a triple-win situation for clients, planners and Midland Financial," she adds.

As a minimum requirement, planners should pass Papers of the Insurance Intermediaries Qualifying Examinations. This is however only the entry threshold, explains Ms Wong. "In-depth professional knowledge helps secure success in this field. We are an IFA so our consultants have the option to sell financial instruments offered by different companies. Sound financial planning involves substantial complex knowledge. Financial consultants should therefore continuously upgrade their qualifications and knowledge to take their clients to higher levels," she advises.

Midland Financial organises a wide range of marketing activities to help financial consultants develop business strategies. For example, a telemarketing team tailors plans catering to the specific needs of financial consultants. "We also refer high potential clients to them," Ms Wong adds.

Since financial planning is a relationship-driven profession, financial consultants spend a great deal of time meeting clients outside the office. To facilitate their work, Midland Financial provides state-of-the-art IT solutions so financial consultants are able to gain access to client portfolios online using their notebook computers. Ms Wong explains, "Mobile office facilities are essential business tools with which consultants can answer clients' questions on the spot, enhancing the service quality."

According to Ms Wong, the relationship between financial consultants and their clients is lifelong in a similar way to the relationship between Midland Financial and its consultants. "This is partly the result of significant investment in staff training. We outsource part of our training to external experts to make our enhancement programmes more diverse and professional. In addition to product and financial knowledge training, team building exercises are held to boost the overall sense of belonging," Ms Wong concludes.

Managing assets

  • Established parent company provides strong support network
  • Consultants equipped with mobile office tools
  • Marketing initiatives facilitate business opportunities

Taken from Career Times 25 April 2008
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