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Money Moves


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

Talent needed for growth strategy

By Nicole Wong

Kenty Wong
business development manager
Phillip Securities (HK) Ltd
Photo: Edde Ngan

The financial services industry has emerged stronger than ever from the recent economic crisis. That can be seen in the phenomenal growth in demand for an expanded range of investment products and the increased competition among leading institutions for financial services professionals.

Now in the midst of their latest phase of expansion, Phillip Securities (HK) Ltd is a remarkable example of such growth. The insurance broker has worked hard to diversify its products in recent years and is constantly on the lookout for new investment opportunities related to the securities market. As a reflection of this, the company aims to open two or three new branches in 2005 and to recruit over 200 capable sales representatives in the next two years.

"We are seeking the best professionals in the field, which often means acquiring them from other financial institutions," says Kenty Wong, business development manager for Phillip Securities. To maintain the company's competitive edge, Mr Wong and his HR team keep track of the professionals they might like to hire, and work extensively to increase the company's exposure and broaden its business network.

Most recent openings have been for sales representatives and independent financial advisers with a solid client base. However, newcomers to the sector are also considered if they have three to five years' experience in customer service or related fields. A genuine interest in the industry and a reasonable knowledge of the stock market are prerequisites, while an outgoing personality and strong communication skills are also expected. "The financial services industry is a 'people' industry," notes Mr Wong. "There has to be a personal touch to the relationship between a sales representative or financial adviser and his clients."

At Phillip Securities, dedicated professionals can count on receiving total support from the company. Ongoing training is provided for employees with different levels of experience, ranging from a three-day orientation programme for all newcomers to regular seminars and workshops on product knowledge and soft skills for more senior staff. Course content is constantly updated to incorporate any changes taking place in the market and to anticipate the future needs of clients.

"Our broad product range also gives staff excellent opportunities for career development," Mr Wong points out. With everything available from insurance and life policies to securities and mutual funds, employees can recommend a wide variety of investment options to their clients and also keep learning about the intricacies of the business.

Realising the importance of loyalty and staff retention, the company puts special emphasis on successful relationship management. "We maintain close communication with staff and help them to overcome any work problems they encounter as quickly as possible," Mr Wong explains.

Being able to attract professionals who can bring with them a strong client base is a key part of the growth strategy of Phillip Securities and of most other financial institutions nowadays, says Mr Wong. However, as the industry develops further, there is always room for young talent looking to enter the field. "With all the changes in our economy, the public is more aware than ever of the need for wealth management," he adds. "Financial institutions will introduce more sophisticated products to meet client needs, and quality advice from financial services professionals will always be required."


Taken from Career Times 14 January 2005, p. 2

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