A well-articulated financial portfolio can help investors meet both their short- and long-term goals. In view of this, professionals in the wealth management sector must exercise utmost cautions and discharge their duties in strict accordance with standards and regulations at all times.
"A comprehensive financial portfolio must effectively project a customer's future in the short, medium and long terms," explains Hatty Chan, senior personal financial services manager, Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited. "Meanwhile, the intricacy of the portfolio has to be a product of in-depth analyses that reflects a customer's goals, risk tolerance and risk acceptance level."
She adds, "It is also of great importance for both the customers and financial services managers to realise that we do not work towards a one-off deal. Rather, reassessing the portfolio is indispensable. Here at the Bank of China (Hong Kong), a review is conducted quarterly via a sophisticated customer management system so as to ensure that every customer will receive timely advice on their monetary futures."
Ms Chan emphasises that managing a customer's portfolio is a scrupulous process —o ne that deserves constant and professional care.
Adhering to a needs-based approach, Ms Chan recommends the most appropriate adjustments to customers' portfolio. "We take the initiative to get in touch with customers for any clear and present danger, giving them first hand information for making informed decision," she says.
Nowadays, customers tend to receive myriad information on the global financial market. However, Ms Chan notes that responsible wealth managers must help their customers scrutinise such information, so as to meet their diverse needs at different stages of life.
"The influx of market information increases the complexity in wealth management. As such, we must equip ourselves with superior analytical skills in order to determine which pieces of information we can trust and use," she remarks.
In her experience, customers may want to review or restructure their portfolios for several reasons. These may include changes in family status or career directions. "Our jobs are to understand their situations, give them all the relevant information that will help them make the most appropriate decisions, make recommendations based on our insights and expertise, and clearly explain the reasons for any adjustments in their portfolios," she says.
In fact, Ms Chan's customers often contact her for advice. The recent financial turmoil prompted even more enquiries. "It only means that they trust my insights," she beams with delight.
A segment of her customers are western nationals and affluent customers from mainland China. "A number of them have recommended my service to others," Ms Chan says. "Customer referral is important in our line of business.
She believes that the proximity between Hong Kong and the mainland has brought manifold benefits to the city as well as personnel in the banking and finance industry. "Many entrepreneurs from China like to conduct business with us," she observes. "Our internet banking infrastructure provides our customers with a wealth of convenience."
Changes in the society may affect customers' wealth management goals and risk tolerance so truly responsible wealth management professionals are eager to keep themselves abreast with market trends.
"Customer service has to come from the heart," she stresses. "We must be willing to offer genuine assistance and monitor the interests of our customers when managing their portfolio. Success in this profession is by no means measured in monetary terms."
Pushing the envelope
Every year, Bank of China (Hong Kong) encourages its top achievers to enrol in the Hong Kong Institute of Banker's Outstanding Financial Management Planner Awards. This year, Ms Chan entered the competition, subsequently outperformed hundreds of others and became one of the six finalists.
The last leg of the competition involved her in a presentation in front of a panel of eight experienced judges from various reputable organisations. Ms Chan recalls, "It was very challenging. Thanks to the support from my supervisors and colleagues, I was able to perform with confidence."
She adds that the HKIB competition offers all contestants a rewarding experience. "The final presentation and Q&A session required me to demonstrate a flair for market analysis and a thorough understanding of wealth management. It gave me a chance to reassess my competence and confirm my career aspirations," she says. "All finalists are cream of the crop. Being put on the same pedestal with them is a real honour."
With 13 years of solid experience in the wealth management sector, Ms Chan understands that continuous learning is a cornerstone of professional advancement. At this moment, she is contemplating further studies towards attaining additional qualifications such as CFMPTM. "It takes a great deal of time and efforts to obtain a piece of qualification," she says. "A professional credential is a quality assurance that tells my customers about my knowledge, skills, and experience, giving them and myself extra confidence."
- Analytical skills essential
- Continuous learning a cornerstone
- Annual competition confirms professional aspirations