Financial Planning / Wealth Management

Professionalism reigns supreme

by Nicolette Wong

Hang Seng Bank - group C finalist of HKIB Outstanding Financial Management Planner Awards
May Ho, VP and Relationship Manager
Private Banking Department
Hang Seng Bank Limited
Photo: Nolly Leung
High net worth banking clients seek and deserve only the most sophisticated wealth management opinions from their advisors alongside pioneering investment solutions. Professionals in the field must therefore stay ahead of the game.

"Product variety and personalised financial solutions constitute only a fraction of a comprehensive wealth management portfolio," says May Ho, a VP and Relationship Manager, Private Banking Department, Hang Seng Bank Limited.

The majority of high net worth clients are entrepreneurs who are to some extent versed in financial investment instruments, and are experienced in working with not one but several private bankers at a time. For this particular reason, private bankers are expected to possess a high level of professionalism in addition to extensive insights into the global financial market, as well as knowledge of products which work towards achieving the clients' unique wealth management aspirations, requirements and destinations.

Ms Ho finds it important that private bankers learn to adjust their mind-sets when interacting with clients from different backgrounds. "For instance, clients like doctors and lawyers may prefer a brief email since they may not have time for a lengthy presentation or face-to-face meetings," she says.

Exposure to the bank's diverse clientele has sharpened Ms Ho's people skills and professional acumen over the years but she believes that she still has much to learn about the job as well as the banking and finance industry as a whole. "Client serving is as much about helping clients to achieve their financial objectives as it is about achieving my professional goals."

Sturdy support

Support from the bank is vital to excellent client relationship management, Ms Ho remarks. She concedes that the bank offers its frontline personnel on-going training on both technical competence and soft skills such as interpersonal communication. "The bank keeps us in touch with the global market day in and day out but this is not all," she explains. "We are also given the necessary skills and tools to keep our clients on the same page so that they won't miss out on any opportunities for growing their wealth."

She stresses that it will never do to simply take a product off the shelf and sell it to the clients. "Different financial products have different features and attributes. As private bankers, we look to personalisation to truly differentiate our service," adds Ms Ho. "In our role as a trusted partner, we must also exercise professionalism, prudence, good judgement and flexibility to help our clients to achieve their wealth management goals."

Being innovative is a definite plus in her line of business, she says, pointing out however that excellent teamwork makes a world of difference regardless of the individuals' ranks and job areas. As a group C finalist in this year's Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) Outstanding Financial Management Planner Awards, Ms Ho has learnt a great deal from the experience as well as from her colleagues at the bank's training department and other professional functions.

She is eager to apply what she has learnt from the HKIB Awards back into the workplace. "The private banking profession is filled with excitements and opportunities," she says. "I'm only too happy to share my experience with my colleagues and clients."

Taken from Career Times 4 November 2011, A9
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