Money Moves

Wealth managers building bridges

by Nicole Wong

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

Derek Chung, chief executive, Links Wealth Management Ltd
Photo: Edde Ngan

The field of wealth management has really taken off in Hong Kong in the last few years and there seems to be no end to the opportunities it offers for individuals looking to embark on a career which is both remunerative and able to transform the lives of others.

According to Derek Chung, chief executive of Links Wealth Management Ltd, most of the larger financial institutions are now making a substantial investment in developing talent and expanding their range of products, while some of the smaller companies are upgrading what they currently offer.

"The role of a wealth management consultant is to act as the bridge between clients and the financial products they need," Mr Chung explains. "For everything from short-term investments to long-term savings, our job is to provide tailor-made financial planning that meets financial objectives and achieves maximum wealth protection."

He says that Links welcomes applications from graduates who are keen to learn and ready to advance their careers by obtaining professional qualifications such as the CFA, CFP and Loma designations. Such people can look forward to becoming team leaders and even partners in the company. "They can also count on our broad product range, since we have good connections in the local market," says Mr Chung, who is also chairman of the public relations and publication sub-committee of the Professional Insurance Brokers Association.

Competition and change mean that professionals in the sector must remain aware of market trends and all the latest investment products. Mr Chung emphasises that consultants should therefore take every opportunity for training and continuous education. "Nowadays, there is so much market information to absorb even if you are only reading the newspaper," he says.

Candidates are expected to have a proactive character and the excellent communication skills which will be needed to deal successfully with a wide variety of clients.

"It also takes personal integrity and a genuine interest in the industry, since consultants must see their job as a long-term career and regard the business as being their own," Mr Chung adds. "The goal is to recommend the right products for clients and explain all products and contracts accurately. We know that competition will remain tough, so the aim is to consolidate our business by offering financial solutions that are both comprehensive and reliable."

To guarantee that consultants offer the best possible level of service, each financial plan is subject to a process of quality assurance, during which the company ensures that clients have a thorough understanding of whatever is being recommended. In-house trainers also provide regular courses on communication skills and how to assess client needs. "There are also workshops on special topics and investment tools, such as hedge funds," Mr Chung says. "To stay ahead, our consultants must be fully familiar with different products and the strategies to explain them to clients."

Taken from Career Times 26 August 2005, p. A2
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