Financial Planning / Wealth Management

Relationship executives on the right track

by Christina Tai

(From left to right) Stephen Cheung, head of wealth management centre; Fion Lee and Shirley Chan, relationship executives, wealth management centre; Leung Kin-yiu, head of human resources, Wing Lung Bank Limited
Photo: Ringo Lee

Continuous professional development is vital for financial planners who want to build a broader customer base

As a relationship executive working in the wealth management centre at Wing Lung Bank's head office, Fion Lee already has a wide range of responsibilities.

She is advising clients how to optimise their investment portfolios, providing up-to-date information about the available options, and tracking the latest market moves.

"This role offers many career opportunities," says Ms Lee. "The investment environment suits me well and I get a great sense of satisfaction from helping clients steadily build their wealth. Just a smile of thanks is a real reward for the help we can offer."

Shirley Chan, who is also a relationship executive with Wing Lung, adds that success depends on having certain personal qualities. These include initiative, being fully attentive to customer needs, and having a patient and caring attitude. Professional experience is also important for gaining the confidence of clients and steering them towards investments which are diversified enough to provide steady returns even in volatile market conditions. "We want to have long-term ties with our customers, which are win-win relationships," Ms Chan says.

We want to have long-term ties with our customers, which are win-win relationships

Stephen Cheung, head of the bank's wealth management centre, endorses the point. He also explains that, to cope with business expansion, wealth management centres have now been established in the head office and five other branches. The full Hong Kong network of 34 branches is already offering comprehensive services for financial planning, securities, insurance, mortgages, foreign exchange and loans.

"Customers are the most cherished asset," says Mr Cheung. "Our dedicated relationship executives attend to their needs with the utmost care and ensure any recommendations are tailor-made to meet individual investment goals."

The bank provides comprehensive training for new graduate recruits to learn quickly and systematically. "We offer full-scale training, with coaching from senior staff who also act as role models," says Leung Kin-yiu, head of the human resources department. "Full sponsorship is available in most cases for employees taking professional licensing examinations, which we regard as essential for rendering high-quality service." Mr Leung adds that education is an important investment and that the bank encourages staff to take the exams to become a certified financial management planner (CFMP™), a professional designation conferred by the Hong Kong Institution of Bankers. This trains all-round wealth management professionals in Hong Kong and the mainland, and is helping to meet the demand for well qualified financial planners.

An important feature of the CFMP™ course material is the inclusion of information about financial markets, regulations, insurance and taxation in Hong Kong and the mainland. In addition, there is a strong emphasis on international standards and practices. As the first Hong Kong-based bank to open a mainland branch office after the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement in 2003, Wing Lung has already shown its commitment to developing in both markets and making sure staff are equipped to do that.


Taken from Career Times 08 September 2006
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