Money Moves

Perfect competition

by Isabella Lee

Intra-team contest encourages introspection and best practices

(from left to right)
Ricky Leung, Kanas Chan, James Jong, principal consultants
Roy Ng, senior consultant
consultancy division
Convoy Financial Services Limited
Photo: Johnson Poon

The concept of competition can inspire excitement in certain people and fear in others. In light of this, companies proceed with caution regarding nurturing employees' competitive sides as the results can be unpredictable. One independent financial advisor company however, has struck the right balance with their Affinity Team Competition.

Convoy Financial Services Limited (Convoy) strategically divides its professional consultancy force into teams, among which the Affinity Team, comprising more than 500 members, initiated the internal campaign aimed at improving service standards for clients.

Each individual consultant competes against other team members over a period of six months. This type of intra-team contest provides a superb opportunity for consultants to share the latest knowledge and theories, track industry trends and observe triumphs and mistakes on a daily basis.

"Comprehensive financial consulting requires many techniques," says James Jong, principal consultant, consultancy division and a winner of the Affinity Team Competition. "As a professional in the field we must pay attention to varying market trends to get the optimum return for every portfolio we manage. During the process of the competition, we frequently discovered wavering patterns and I have learnt to incorporate long-term vision into the decisions I make," he adds.

Ricky Leung, a principal consultant from the consultancy division, and also a winner, adds, "The competition provides a great chance for us to test our knowledge from theories and previous practice. For me, it is looking at fundamentals. At the beginning, I did not perform impressively when the market was soaring. My endurance paid off when the market turned and my long-term strategy started to factor. I will certainly share this experience with my clients with the utmost confidence."

Moving forward

In fact, all the four winners of the Affinity Team Competition did not lead from the start as they all utilised a "buy and hold" tactic.

"We did not see profits right in front of us as our ultimate goal. This may sound unwise in a strong market when many other contestants were making great leaps forward. However, we proved that risk management is a vital element in the job we are doing, especially in volatile situations. I am glad I stuck to my guns," says Roy Ng, senior consultant, consultancy division and competition winner.

Mr Ng further points out that support from peers within the team has made the competition, as well as everyday life at Convoy more enjoyable. He feels the professional culture at Convoy is more like a large family than an enterprise.

Sharing the same point of view, Mr Jong states that Convoy gives its staff ample support to maximise personal growth, such as training sessions for technical skills and campaigns similar to the Affinity Team Competition.

Mr Leung also agrees that team spirit at Convoy is different from other financial houses, where work pressure is generally high. He says," Here, we enjoy hitting targets and deadlines as we treat them as challenges."

Social responsibility

Aside from the personal growth resulting from the competitive process, winners of the Affinity Team Competition are granted the opportunity to run the Affinity Fund, one of Convoy's initiatives to provide financial support to needy groups in society.

"Volunteer activities are organised whenever possible, making contributions to the community second nature for both the organisation and its staff," comments Kanas Chan, principal consultant, consultancy division and competition winner. As a committee member of Convoy's Affinity volunteer team, Ms Chan regularly experiences first hand the positive atmosphere generated from the company's social responsibility initiatives. She appreciates the platform the company provides for colleagues, which facilitates their inclusion during their free time in meaningful community activities.

Convoy has a solid track record for its charity work both within and beyond the local community. It has received the "Caring company" logo from the Hong Kong Council of Social Services for six consecutive years, in recognition of the company's sustainable commitment to being a corporate citizen through a plethora of community care activities.

With its dedication to fostering the next generation in rural areas in China, Convoy has started to play a vital role in educating young learners in Gansu province. After establishing a primary school there in 2006, it rebuilt a second last year. Convoy also provided the funding for two laboratories at a secondary school in the same province.

Convoy's Affinity Team will continue to encourage its financial consultants to contribute to society. As the 2008 competition approaches, four winners will be born. "I am proud to be employed by a company that invests heavily in helping the less fortunate," concludes Ms Chan.

In perspective

  • Competition provides platform for practising theories
  • Long-term investment strategies pay dividends
  • Caring company logo for six consecutive years
  • Dedicated to fostering the next generation in rural China

Taken from Career Times 04 April 2008, p. A2
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