Money Moves

Younger recruits represent hopes for future

By Ella Lee

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

Elaine Lau, Senior vice president, Tanrich Futures Ltd
Photo: Edde Ngan

Companies in the financial planning sector usually prefer to take on experienced consultants with practical knowledge of the industry and customer service skills learned from dealing with a wide range of clients. With these attributes, recruits are in a position to generate business almost immediately for their new employers and can soon start to pay their way. However, in an industry where such candidates are increasingly hard to find, recruiters are now turning their attention to attracting graduates with limited experience but undoubted potential, realising that they represent the best hope of fulfilling future staffing needs.

Elaine Lau, senior vice president of Tanrich Futures Ltd, says that her company is one of the financial services providers now focusing on the recruitment and development of trainee consultants. The firm plans to increase the number of consultants from 100 to 150 by the end of this year. Previous experience is not essential, since the aim is to hire younger applicants, provide a solid foundation, and let them grow along with the business.

One part of this strategy is to make it clear that the finance and investment industry requires hard work and is no place for those chasing quick money. Success is generally the result of perseverance and determination. These qualities are therefore expected of all applicants. They are also emphasised in briefings about the company's culture and organisation during the induction process.

"Never give up is what we tell all our employees," says Ms Lau. "In the sense that we want to teach people to be resilient, our training has even been compared to the way martial artists learn Shaolin-style kung fu."

Basic entry requirements include a university degree with some finance-related courses. In terms of personal characteristics, applicants should be outgoing and aggressive, since these are seen as essential qualities for a frontline salesperson.

Tanrich was established in 1990 and provides one-stop financial services for both personal and corporate clients. Their wide range of investment services and products covers everything from futures and securities to unit trusts, insurance-related products, loans, corporate finance and wealth management.

Up to now, five group subsidiaries have been run independently, but there are plans to integrate them more closely as a means to achieving faster growth. In line with this development, the company will extend its training programme from five days to three weeks to cover all the products and services now available. Extra attention will also be devoted to cultivating a customer-oriented approach.

Much emphasis is placed on experience sharing between consultants, who are encouraged to support and learn from each other. As part of this, trainees take part in role-plays and mock trading before they start on-the-job training and they receive regular guidance from senior staff in their initial meetings with customers.

Tanrich also provides comprehensive back-up support for consultants. This includes in-depth online resources and a full spectrum of reports and financial analysis about the global economy and market trends. Continuous professional training programmes are arranged so that consultants can meet the requirements of the Securities and Futures Commission.

Ms Lau is confident about the general prospects for the industry. She believes investment will remain buoyant because of continuing stable growth in the Hong Kong and mainland economies. She also points to the growing number of individual mainlanders looking to explore new investment options.

Taken from Career Times 20 May 2005, p. 2
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