Money Moves

Rewarding careers in financial planning

by Charles Mak

Stanley Chow, senior vice president, PPCG (Personal Portfolio Consulting Group), Winterthur Life (Hong Kong) Limited

As the financial planning industry matures, it is becoming clear that professionals in the sector can look forward to the prospect of long-term and highly remunerative careers.

One of the industry's key players, Winterthur Life (Hong Kong) Limited, has not only been a pioneer in investment-linked products, but has also recognised the importance of providing consultants with the experience and support needed to build a career.

The focus of this approach has been to develop diverse sales channels, giving consultants the flexibility to react promptly to market changes and tailor services to the financial needs of individual clients.

Even so, Stanley Chow, senior vice president of Winterthur's PPCG (Personal Portfolio Consulting Group) points out that competition within the industry remains keen. He says the key to a successful career is therefore developing a strong network of contacts and long-term partnerships, which depends on good communication and personal interaction.

"Our portfolio consultants should think of clients as partners," he says. "They should also review their financial plans on a regular basis and remember that clients will have changing requirements at different stages of life."

The company's commitment to supporting its employees, even extends to arranging golf lessons and lifestyle activities. "Golf is not just a sport, but also a great way of meeting people who can then become business contacts," Mr Chow explains.

He emphasises that anyone aspiring to join the company should show strong commitment and have the personal drive to achieve things in life. Consultants with those qualities will have plenty of opportunities to expand their own client portfolio or move into a management role. In either case, there is no real limit on potential earnings.

"You can make your own opportunities in this business," Mr Chow adds. "In terms of financial security, we offer a solid platform consisting of salary, bonuses, education allowances and attractive fringe benefits."

This comes with the expectation that consultants will offer a high standard of professional services at all times. New recruits are taught the basics in tailor-made training programmes that cover product knowledge, portfolio building and interpersonal skills.

More experienced personnel undertake CRM, continuing professional development and consultancy-based training.

All portfolio consultants are also encouraged to pursue lifelong learning and personal development. They receive the support of generous company subsidies and reimbursement schemes, particularly for professional examinations such as the HKFI's or the CFP certifications.

Taken from Career Times 24 March 2006, p. A2
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