Money Moves

Shaping a financial planning elite

by Charles Mak

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

Bobo Tang, associate director, Splendor Financial Services Ltd
Photo: Edve Leung

Success in any sphere of business usually depends on how well a company handles its customers. Realising this, leading players in the wealth management industry tend to put special emphasis on upgrading customer service standards and continuously enhancing the skills of all employees. "This is a people business in which external and internal clients are the most important assets," confirms Bobo Tang, associate director of Splendor Financial Services Ltd.

The firm was established in 1997 and is a member of the Institute of Financial Planners of Hong Kong. They regard themselves as a pioneer in wealth management in the local market and have consistently aimed to offer clients service excellence, while building on their own people-focused culture.

Consultants are trained to have in-depth financial expertise, respect the highest ethical standards, and to view clients' interests as the top priority. "We always focus on upgrading the quality of our staff," Ms Tang says. "Our aim is to start by hiring those with good qualifications and a high level of experience." Over 90 per cent of the current sales team are university graduates, and around 30 per cent of them have master's degrees. Even so, they are strongly encouraged to obtain further professional qualifications and designations. In Ms Tang's view, being dedicated to self-improvement is now a prerequisite within the industry.

All new recruits complete an initial three-week training programme which covers the basic skills and knowledge needed for wealth management. Further on-the-job training then reinforces the type of professionalism required. "Clients have become generally more demanding and our team also has to understand new products and an ever wider range of services," Ms Tang says.

In her view, technical training about the market and specific products is just as important as improving soft skills in things like presentations, rapport building and time management. "We don't position ourselves as salespeople but as professionals who can genuinely help clients with their wealth management needs," she says. "That makes soft skills essential. Being able to communicate effectively with clients allows us to offer them the most suitable financial advice."

Meanwhile, with a fast-growing operation in Hong Kong and affiliates in the Greater China region, Splendor's long-term goal is to become known as a leading provider of wealth management services with a clear focus on quality. "Our policy is to hire the right number of staff to cope with business growth and to give them every chance to develop a career here," Ms Tang says.

People from all walks of life now understand the benefits of wealth management, which means there are sure to be many more job opportunities. To succeed in this profession, she emphasises, one must be prepared to acquire recognised professional qualifications such as CFPCM (certified financial planner), or Financial Advisers' International Qualification (FAIQ). Ms Tang's advice to anyone looking to break into the profession is first to be familiar with the true meaning of wealth management and then to take care to join the right company.

Taken from Career Times 07 October 2005, p. A16
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