Financial Planning / Wealth Management

Sophisticated service a leading edge

by Anna Tong

Carmen Yip, senior vice president and head of retail distribution network
Fubon Bank (Hong Kong) Limited
Photo: Ringo Lee

Round-the-clock services deliver wealth management success

Making it in the highly competitive wealth management arena takes more than the ability to offer good advice. It also requires a state-of-the-art service delivery platform, a wealth of professional and talented advisors, and clever business strategies.

Besides providing quality banking services at all levels, Fubon Bank specialises in investment advisory services with tailor-made financial planning to suit each customer's needs.

The bank differentiates its services from the competition by being the only bank to deliver round-the-clock personalised banking services by assigning a dedicated ambassador who is reachable by the customer at all hours of the day. "We pledge that we can take care of all of the customer's requests,'' says Carmen Yip, senior vice president and head of retail distribution network, Fubon Bank (Hong Kong) Limited.

Fubon regularly launches products to coincide with the changing market, making some private banking products available to its Ambassador Banking customers and so giving the bank a competitive edge. "These regular product launches are tailor-made for our customers," says Ms Yip, who is personally widely experienced in all aspects of financial services and now oversees Fubon's 24 outlets in Hong Kong where customers can walk up to the Ambassador Banking counters and receive immediate attention.

Besides that, the bank also holds quarterly investment seminars to advise customers on portfolio management. Ms Yip believes it is also a proactive way of bringing in prospective customers under the bank's member-gets-member programme.

With a whole team of professionals looking after one customer, the scope of the customer's needs is fully grasped along with an understanding of the individual's risk appetite related to their assets and liabilities. "We also deal with the lending side and hence develop a full profile of the customer," says Ms Yip.

Today, Fubon's Ambassador Banking service also plays an important role in its offshore banking business, helping Taiwanese or mainland Chinese customers invest in the local market. A dedicated team of ambassadors would travel overseas to meet those customers and handle their requests at a local level.

Sophisticated platform

Fubon's Ambassador Banking service is for customers with a portfolio of at least HK$1 million including investments in securities, trusts and other financial vehicles other than just deposits.

Besides enjoying Fubon's round-the-clock standby service, they are given a tailor-made financial roadmap drawn up by financial professionals such as product specialists.

An important tool in creating this customer profile is the bank's sophisticated IT system, which also enables its ambassadors to review all financially relevant aspects of the customer. This gives them a complete appreciation of a customer's needs at different stages of lives. The IT system, created by Oracle, involves a substantial outlay that allows access by other colleagues dealing with individual customers. It also makes up the first phase of the bank's major investment tool.

"The system not only enables the bank to manage its customer portfolio, but also serves as a multipurpose tool empowering ambassadors to swiftly analyse all necessary details about a customer," Ms Yip explains. "It is particularly valuable in trading as they can analyse and see everything on one system."

Senior sales management can also use the system to monitor staff performance. More importantly, the system ensures that no high-risk or unsuitable products are introduced to customers. "The system protects the customers by ensuring that they are given the right advice and offered suitable products," Ms Yip adds.

Good prospects

Fubon's ambassadors are experienced relationship managers (RMs) who either start as business development officers or are recruited by the bank directly into the post.

"Our ambassadors represent Fubon's commitment to wealth management. However, it is not easy to recruit high calibre RMs because of the strong competition for such individuals from other banking and financial institutions," says Ms Yip. Successful candidates must have licence qualifications plus at least two years' experience in the field. Before moving into the bank's work stream, newcomers go through a training programme so that they are tuned in with Fubon's philosophy.

Upgrading to ambassador depends on a good sales portfolio demonstrating that the business development officer can upgrade the customers to the HK$1 million threshold. "Once they surmount this hurdle and prove they are familiar with the customers and the system, they are in line for promotion to ambassadors," Ms Yip stresses.

Meanwhile, direct recruits should possess a minimum of five years' experience in a financial institution, licence qualifications plus optional chartered financial analyst (CFA) qualification.

In a bid to retain high calibre staff, the bank offers ample opportunities for career development with the option to go from local ambassador to overseas or branch ambassador, leading in turn to private banking or other promotion opportunities.

All-round all-hour services

  • The only bank to deliver round-the-clock personalised banking services
  • Dedicated ambassadors reachable by customers at all hours of the day
  • Regular product launches coincide with changing market
  • Quarterly investment seminars advise customers on portfolio management
  • Customers receive tailor-made financial roadmaps drawn up by financial professionals

Taken from Career Times 09 March 2007
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