Financial Planning / Wealth Management

Managing change

by Ada Ng

Tommy Chan
associate director
consultancy division
Convoy Financial Services Limited
Photo: Lewis Wong
The success of any financial plan hinges on regular review and making the necessary adjustments to meet the financial objectives of customers' different life stages.

"A financial advisor should also keep abreast of change, not only in legislation and market developments," adds Tommy Chan, associate director, consultancy division, Convoy Financial Services Limited.

Since financial planning is a life-long process, Mr Chan believes that by setting financial goals, developing strategies, and monitoring the progress as well as responding to the different life changes on a timely basis, the likelihood of achieving good results is greatly increased.

Changing landscapes

During a lifetime, different financial needs will evolve with changes in a person's income levels, spending patterns, family concerns, retirement plans and estate succession planning. "It is therefore important for planners to meet customers on a regular basis to understand their changing personal circumstances and to anticipate future changes with them," Mr Chan notes.

For instance, a person's risk tolerance level might change as he or she starts a family or decides to have children. "The post-planning stage is critical in reviewing and adjusting a customer's financial objectives, and this allows planners to maintain a portfolio that reflects the changing needs of a customer," he remarks. In assessing changes to a customer's financial needs and risk appetite, probing questions are usually asked to elicit details of their views and perspectives on different current affairs and events.

In addition to providing customers with regular market updates and analysis, financial advisors at Convoy meet customers at least every six months to review their portfolio performance as well as to update them on new products and market developments that may influence the total net worth of their portfolio.

"As a financial advisor, our role is to provide the most up to date information for customers and recommend options so that they can respond to changes promptly to minimise possible losses," he explains, pointing out that this requires sophisticated back office and system support.

The company's products research department updates financial advisors with product development trends on a regular basis. Seminars and talks are conducted to familiarise advisors on new product features. Close to real-time market information as well as daily and quarterly global market updates are released by the investment research department for investment decision making.

Aside from this, Mr Chan says a sound portfolio relies largely on the intuition of the financial advisor. "How proactive a financial advisor is in evaluating a client's portfolio against the changing financial needs and market conditions will determine whether it's a sound financial plan," he comments.

A keen focus on timeliness and long-term commitment has earned Mr Chan his place as one of the group B finalists in this year's Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) Outstanding Financial Management Planner Awards.

In preparing for the competition, Mr Chan has received great support from his colleagues, mentors and the company's training and development team. "Participation in this event gives me and my fellow financial planning practitioners invaluable experience, and the occasion allows us to demonstrate a holistic approach to financial planning," he says.

Taken from Career Times 22 October 2010, A6
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