Money Moves

Thriving by hiring

by Grace Chan

Tony Chow
assistant general manager
Noble Apex Advisors Ltd
Photo: Wallace Chan

With many finance houses cutting down on staff to stay afloat in the current difficult economic climate, one independent financial advisory is expanding its frontline sales team in preparation for market recoveries.

"We aim to recruit 25 to 30 high-calibre financial planning professionals next year," says Tony Chow, assistant general manager, Noble Apex Advisors Ltd. "We will offer suitable candidates a tailor-made, competitive remuneration package."

Candidates should have at least two to three years' frontline sales experience in the finance and investment sector, Mr Chow says. "Professionalism is key and the right candidates may earn up to 50 per cent more in salary plus commission than they would with other industry players."

Currently, customers are understandably more cautious about making investment decisions. As a result, there is more demand than ever for professional investment advice and this is creating new business opportunities for Noble Apex, he says.

The company encourages its frontline sales people to broaden their industry knowledge by studying for relevant professional qualifications and accreditations. The company currently employs 100 frontline sales staff, of which 25 to 30 per cent hold a CFA (chartered financial analyst) or CFP (certified financial planner) qualification. At the same time, Noble Apex is enhancing internal staff training on global market trends, as well as sales strategies.

Since the market is insisting on greater transparency, the company also plans to strengthen its research team in order to offer customers more market information and analysis.

"We aim to increase our marketing activities and plan to organise more investment education seminars next year," Mr Chow remarks. The company is also upgrading its online system, with a real-time ordering service to be launched by the first or the second quarter of 2009.

Maintaining good customer relations is essential to keeping the business running smoothly. Mr Chow notes, "We make sure our financial planners remain forward-looking and maintain consistency when providing their customers with professional services."

It is also important that planners stay up to date with clients' appetite for risk under the current economic circumstances and propose adjustments to their investment portfolios.

Mr Chow predicts that the investment climate will stabilise after the first or second quarter of next year. "Now is the time to fully equip ourselves in order to reap the benefits when the market corrects itself," he concludes.

Business savvy

  • Suitable professionals can expect competitive remuneration packages
  • Sales team encouraged to obtain further qualifications
  • Increased customer education through marketing activities
  • Maintaining communication with customers crucial

Taken from Career Times 19 December 2008, p. A2
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