Financial Planning / Wealth Management

Unique concept in talent management

by Alex Lai

Raymond Cheung
vice president, training
Altruist Financial Group Limited
Photo: Lewis Wong

Financial conglomerate devises flexible strategies to stay ahead

In line with a pledge for quality, one outstanding financial conglomerate believes that products, customer service and staff development are the three pillars to business success.

A trusted business partner of more than 40 financial product providers, Altruist Financial Group Limited tailors packaged solutions to accommodate its customers' needs.

Raymond Cheung, vice president, training, Altruist Financial Group Limited, says, "A competent financial consultant is capable of helping customers formulate investment strategies in order to achieve the best possible returns, taking care of all planning needs including insurance, retirement, investment, tax, savings as well as debt management."

He explains that insurance planning can be further divided into a range of sub-categories such as life, accidents and hospital coverage, allowing individuals to customise and diversify their insurance policies with different products. "This requires of financial professionals more than technical skills," he emphasises.

Service in mind

While people become more anxious about making an investment, Altruist is keen to provide them with comprehensive consultancy services.

According to Mr Cheung, genuine financial planning should involve much more than mere product sales, which seldom fulfil customers' actual needs. "There are many uncertainties in the marketplace at the moment," he remarks, "For instance, a salary cut may entail a need to reallocate personal resources. With this in mind, we must offer our customers financial solutions that are most appropriate to the times and their needs."

He notes also that there is more to a rational decision in financial planning. "Rather it is a subjective choice," he points out. "Every individual holds different values towards money. While some people see it as a tool, others think of security. For this particular reason, our teams seek to understand and fulfil their customers' psychological needs by helping them to fill out a set of in-depth questionnaires."

This approach to business forms part of the company's "financial coach" training. "Financial consultants are not simply salespeople," Mr Cheung stresses. "Altruist consultants take a comprehensive approach to helping customers achieve goals in wealth, health and wisdom."

Only the very best

As a one-stop financial shop, Altruist advocates flexibility and timely financial planning. Mr Cheung adds that effective staff training is therefore essential to maintaining a high level of service quality. "All new recruits are required to go through an initial 10-day training programme, followed by regular workshops involving case studies and market updates," he says.

Meanwhile, experienced managers are tasked with coaching new consultants on a daily basis. They also review every step and the logistics in the financial planning process to make sure that financial consultants are complying with the best interest of their customers.

"To maintain professionalism, we encourage our financial consultants to enrol in external programmes catering to the needs at different stages of their learning paths," Mr Cheung remarks.

This well-established rationale led to the collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for career coaching programmes and regular seminars to inspire young graduates to join the industry.

As a result of the recent economic turmoil, more banking professionals are seeking jobs and Altruist is keen to open its door to the cream of the talent. "We are committed to our consultants' development and are very selective in our recruitment," Mr Cheung emphasises. "Other than a university degree, we also consider a candidate's learning attitude, character, belief and passion for the profession. They must undergo a screening process which includes an in-depth questionnaire and three interviews."

Mr Cheung explains that this helps to safeguard the company's reputation for integrity and business diversification. "In both training and daily supervision, a set of stringent guidelines apply when assessing an investment portfolio," he adds.

The establishment of Altruist's operations in Shenzhen and Ningbo in mainland China reflects the company's business quality and a promising long-term prospect for Altruist and its consultancy team. "Our professional teams will continue to help us consolidate our brand, which in turn gives them the upper hand in the long-term development of the financial planning industry," Mr Cheung concludes.


Taken from Career Times 13 February 2009, p. A7
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