Money Moves

Right mindset for client services

By Priscilla Chong

This is a fortnightly series of articles focusing on the banking and financial industries

Jess Yum, manager, Aon Private Clients Hong Kong Limited
Photo: Edve Leung

A recent survey conducted by the Hong Kong Baptist University turned up some interesting results on local financial planning services. According to their findings, 17 per cent of the 945 adult respondents had taken professional investment advice within the last two years, while over 50 per cent had heard about the type of services now on offer. This comparatively low rate of penetration for a sector about which there is steadily increasing awareness indicates the market has great potential for growth. And the entry of new service providers into the financial planning arena provides clear evidence that further expansion is expected.

One of these new entrants is Aon Corporation, which decided last October to expand into the financial planning sector, with the aim of bringing value-added services to its clients. The US-based company has concentrated on offering risk management services for over 20 years and is currently ranked among the top corporations by both Fortune and Forbes. In advising clients, they adhere to a position as an independent intermediary able to find appropriate solutions. "Therefore, we seek candidates who are service-oriented and sensitive to customer needs," says Jess Yum, manager of Aon Private Clients Hong Kong Limited.

Their position as a consultancy sets the company apart in respect of their business strategies and human resources training. "Many insurers and financial companies have a steady influx of new employees. This stems from their view that more staff means more business. In contrast, Ms Yum says, "Aon believes in both career development for staff and long-term relationships with clients."

She adds that, when recruiting, they look for candidates with positive thinking and determination, as well as the career goal of succeeding in the financial services industry. Applicants are required to complete aptitude tests and take part in role-plays during the assessment process. Those with previous work experience are usually preferred.

For the first month of the induction programme, the company emphasises developing the right service mindset before moving on to training in product knowledge. They also value a personal approach during training, which they believe is the key to developing long-term relationships with clients, and recruits are expected to learn from on-the-job experience.

The current 300-plus staff have the opportunity for careers which are described as "multidimensional", with the company offering exposure to every aspect of insurance consulting. "With Aon, a career in insurance and financial services is challenging, but is driven by the need to serve clients rather than the push to achieve sales targets," Ms Yum says.

Taken from Career Times 24 June 2005, p. 18
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