Money Moves

Wealth managers find niche

By Ada Ng

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

Since the introduction of the MPF, financial institutions in Hong Kong have increasingly focused on the untapped investment needs of middle-income earners. However, astute wealth management companies have realised that, within this mass market, there are niche sectors which can still represent a significant volume of new business.

Hong Kong Wealth Management Ltd (HKWM), a member of National Australia Bank Group, is one company specifically targeting niche markets and looking to expand them with a "snowball" approach. Their focus is on tailor-made financial strategies and developing individual plans that cater to long-term investment goals.

Stephen Mclsaac, CEO of HKWM, says that by being team-oriented and building up different market segments seen to have potential, the company differs from conventional financial planners. "Our focus is to grow relationships in a specific market," he says, adding that this tends to be with expatriate investors seeking the best professional advice. "Once we identify a niche, we work to expand our reach within that market."

Once wealth managers have a foot in the door, the snowball effect takes over. In Mr Mclsaac's view, if a good relationship is established with the first client, referrals and further opportunities are sure to follow.

HKWM has already adopted this approach in the education and aviation sectors. By providing regular reviews of the investment progress and goals of their initial teacher and pilot clients, they have gained many new introductions. Seminars have also been organised to target other industry groups and demonstrate how professional financial advice can help to achieve specific investment objectives.

The strategy has been successful in Australia and HKWM is planning additional recruitment to capitalise on this model in Hong Kong, where the current team of 40 is expected to double in the next three to five years.

Mr Mclsaac is keen to expand at a manageable rate to maintain the quality and consistency of consulting services. The company is therefore looking for individuals who have experience in the wealth management industry and good communication skills. "We need self-starters with a clear vision of how plans can be implemented to help clients meet their investment goals," he says, adding that anyone interested can apply via the company's website.

Taken from Career Times 31 December 2004, p. 2
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