Money Moves

Wealth for all

by Tammy Chan

Carmen Wong, chief operation officer
Midland Financial Group
Photo: Keith Cheung

The concept of wealth management has changed dramatically since it was first introduced to Hong Kong. Previously a service for only the affluent, it is now a necessity for people from all walks of life.

"In the past, wealth management was utilised by only a small group of high net worth clients and its exclusivity was evident as it was known as private banking. Now with a more extensive product mix offered by financial institutions, the wealth management concept covers a wide range of financial issues that affect everyone in society. These may include saving for retirement and planning for a child's education," says Carmen Wong, chief operating officer, Midland Financial Group.

Whereas clients used to have to visit different people to handle the many aspects of financial services, now they only need to make a single call or visit to take care of everything, whether it is estate planning, fund transactions or long- term investment solutions.

Making wise financial decisions largely rests on the ability to analyse the cornucopia of information available. With work and other commitments, most people find they lack the time and the expertise to do this on their own. "This is where wealth management professionals can help," Ms Wong says. "We can do all of the analysing for you and then explain in simple language the most feasible options for you to reach your goals."

As the industry develops and more financial planners are hired to meet client demand, Ms Wong says the most important issue is maintaining professionalism. "We don't recruit just anyone. We only take on people who have a long-term vision and strong commitment to both the company and the industry." In addition, wealth management professionals at Midland should be designated as a certified financial planner (CFP) or registered financial planner (RFP), or at least be prepared to do so.

Developing life-long relationships with clients is ideal for both parties and this can only be achieved by building trust. Midland's wealth management team go beyond the rules set by regulators and in this way aim to stand out from their counterparts. "Training is our trump card," Ms Wong explains. "We put particular emphasis on compliance training and we set the most stringent requirements for our team."

Midland is currently inviting applications from talented individuals who are committed to a long-term career in this dynamic industry. "Hong Kong provides abundant opportunities and high returns for working in wealth management," Ms Wong says. "More than that, our company is young and developing quickly. This will allow our people to see the impact they are having."

Taken from Career Times 07 March 2008
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