Money Moves

Understanding individual financial needs

by Wing Kei

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

Thenis Kwok, assistant vice president and Treasures relationship manager, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited
Photo: Edve Leung

The crucial first step for any relationship manager is to develop a clear understanding of a client's needs as a prelude to assessing which investment products will best match their income and financial aspirations.

This is the core concept up held by every Treasures relationship manager working for DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited. They provide specialist assistance for customers with an account balance of no less than HK$500,000, but all the wealth management advice they offer must be personalised, whether it concerns unit trusts, overseas investments, foreign exchange or insurance products.

"That makes it a rewarding career with great potential for growth," says Thenis Kwok, DBS's assistant vice president and Treasures relationship manager, who has been with the bank for more than seven years since graduation. "The job is not simply measured by money, since part of the reward is in meeting customers' investment needs and making sure they are satisfied." She adds that, to succeed in the role, people should be outgoing, attentive and quick to respond to any enquiries. They should also take a proactive approach to fulfilling client's financial needs and fully understand the available range of investment products.

"I deal with people from many different backgrounds and have found that building trust depends on listening, communicating well and being able to offer specialist investment advice," Ms Kwok says. She believes the most challenging aspect of the job is to expand her client network, but does this by first establishing friendly contacts.

DBS currently has over 200 Treasures relationship managers in Hong Kong and looks for recruits with three years' consumer banking experience and a proven track record in selling wealth management products and services.

"Approaches to new clients will not always succeed, so it is very important to have a naturally positive outlook," Ms Kwok says. "You have to see each client as different and find the right investment products to suit them."

To make this possible, DBS offers a variety of staff training programmes. "Customers expect to be kept completely informed even of financial developments around the world, so we have a database to provide staff with all the latest news," Ms Kwok says. Team members are also encouraged to exchange business ideas and learn from each other. This is seen as just one way of adding value and developing a global perspective about investment products and financial markets. DBS also organises regular seminars to teach staff about specialist topics in a more formal environment.

In order to be qualified to sell investment products in the banking sector, people need to pass the Insurance Intermediaries Qualifying Examination (IIQE) and become a registered Technical Representative and a Relevant Individual.

Those who start from scratch usually begin as a financial planning executive. With around two years' work experience, they may move up to become a financial planning officer and, subsequently, a manager. Treasures relationship managers generally have at least four to five years of continuous work experience and an excellent record.

Taken from Career Times 12 August 2005, p. A2
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