Money Moves

Protecting clients' best interest

by Grace Chan

Elba Tse
Managing Director
Aviva Life Insurance Company Limited
Photo: Edde Ngan

Leading international insurer to expand distribution channels and services

As Hong Kong's economy strengthens and consumers become more aware of the importance of financial cover, the market for life and pension products is steadily growing.

As part of its multi-distribution strategy, global insurance provider Aviva Life Insurance, which is the world's sixth-largest insurance group and the biggest in the UK, already has a strong bancassurance partnership with DBS Bank, and works closely with many independent financial advisor firms.

Currently, the company offers its clients a wide array of financial solutions, including investment-linked products, savings products, life insurance and mortgage cover.

The year 2011 is filled with anticipation and prospects. In view of this, Aviva is set to develop Aviva Advisors, a new advisory distribution channel, and aims to initially recruit about 100 new financial planners for the team. The company will target fresh university graduates, other newcomers to the industry and seasoned financial planners, with the aim of growing the numbers to 250 advisors by 2013.

The reason for this major hiring initiative is not simply to boost sales, says Elba Tse, Managing Director, Aviva Life Insurance Company Limited. "Hong Kong people are returning to traditional protection products. We're keen to provide clients with needs-based financial advice tuned to meeting their goals at different stages of their lives."

Customer-centric model

Aviva in Hong Kong now seeks sales-driven candidates that have their clients' best interest at heart. "Most importantly, prospective recruits should have a positive attitude, be highly motivated and display strong professional integrity," stresses Ms Tse.

The company will support new advisors with an initial two-month allowance and assist them to obtain their compulsory licensing qualifications. In addition to this, new financial planners can expect a broad range of professional training on practical skills, selling and client-servicing techniques, and receive individual coaching from experienced colleagues, she adds.

The new channel will have an efficient but simple, two-tier organisational structure, Ms Tse explains. "Each advisor team will be made up of a number of planners and one principal advisor. We believe that this will help us to foster closer ties between colleagues, and that lesser override layers can generate greater income potential."

Aviva Advisors will offer two distinct career development routes, allowing planners to either advance up the ladder to eventually build up their own teams or to explore a move into corporate management.

Relatively small units enable effective communication, which is vital for boosting team spirit and giving the company an edge, says Ms Tse. "Unlike traditional insurance-agency models where individuals typically work by themselves, our advisors are free to make suggestions and voice their opinions directly to management."

The company recently moved its regional proposition and product development division from Singapore to Hong Kong and plans to roll out a number of new solutions in the course of the year.

Aviva is developing an online platform to facilitate e-application for clients as a means to minimise administrative work for planners, enabling them to focus on client meetings and drawing up appropriate financial plans that suit their long-term needs. "An online fund-switching service for customers is also in the pipeline," Ms Tse concludes.

Key initiatives

  • Insurance conglomerate plans to hire 100 new financial planners for new advisory channel
  • New agency model promotes client-centred approach
  • Basic protection products cater to consumers' needs
  • Company provides staff training and customer-service support
  • Online tools to facilitate efficiency for both clients and advisors

Taken from Career Times 18 February 2011, A8

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