Money Moves

Where financial planning means more

by Maggie Tang

Alex Yeung, senior vice president
ING Financial Planning Limited
Photo: Edde Ngan

With Hong Kong 's economy on a roll, and investors looking to build up their assets, a career in financial planning opens up unlimited opportunities, specially when the income of the financial planners (FP) is tied to the returns his clients are receiving.

ING Financial Planning Limited (INGFP) offers an innovative remuneration scheme for its FPs, as explained by Alex Yeung, senior vice president, ING Financial Planning Limited, who is also a certified financial plannerCM (CFPCM). "FP's income is linked to the returns on assets of their clients. This makes them the virtual partners of their clients. Each FP's personal asset growth is therefore tied to that of his clients, minimising the chance of biased advice. Moreover, all our products are supplied by other financial services institutions and therefore, our FPs will not favour their own company's products when giving advice."

Every client's risk appetite varies. Mr Yeung points out, "Hesitations and reservations arise with the problem of 'conflict of interest'. INGFP offers a solution to this problem by implementing an innovative way of calculating income for financial advisers as related to the basket of products of different financial services institutions."

As someone who has been in the field for almost 10 years, Mr Yeung appreciates the advantages of being a team leader of INGFP. "We share profits with both our company and clients," he stresses. Compared with many other similar firms, the incentives offered by INGFP are more generous. The company not only gives its FPs the chance to develop a career but also to build their own business. "The client bases built by us are regarded as our own assets. This practice has been in place for years in places like Australia, where the financial planning market is more mature, it is quite new in Hong Kong," he says.

Newly-joined FPs are well supported by the company and the team to which they belong. Mentoring takes place through one-on-one coaching and joint calls. Product providers stage training and briefing sessions to augment the newcomers' knowledge of their products. Seminars are held to identify potential clients.

An essential part of tailoring an effective financial plan for a client is to consider all the financial resources, obligations, goals, conservative attitude or appetite for risk. Before a financial plan is implemented the client must submit personal information to determine the risk tolerance. In turn, the frontline financial planner and a team of risk management professionals carefully assess this information.

A qualified individual taking up the job of FP with INGFP faces a bright future. Those who are interested in team management can be earmarked as a future team leader. However, because of the high profession standards involved, each step in the advancement ladder takes place only after the applicant has fulfilled stringent requirements.

Taken from Career Times 26 May 2007, p. A2
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