BECOMING a financial consultant opens a world of opportunities, and the options can be overwhelming. There are many financial advisory firms in Singapore with distinct cultures and philosophies. If you’re just starting out, or looking for a change, here are some considerations you should take into account:
Critical things to look for in a good financial advisory firm to work with
Whether a financial advisory firm is “good” depends just as much on your own aptitude and inclinations. Find what’s right for you, instead of just taking others’ opinions at face value. Here are key things to look for in your search for a potential financial advisory firm to work with:
- They should not come between you and the best interests of your clients
- Good career progression prospects
- Holistic benefits and growth opportunities – look beyond just a pay cheque
- Provides the right working culture and support you need
- Provides mentorship and guidance
If any of these five points resonate with you, perhaps it’s time to think about what Manulife FA has to offer you.
1. The financial advisory firm should not come between you and the best interests of your clients
A good financial advisory firm will never push you to sell financial products that don’t fit your client’s profile. They will always respect your decision to place your client first, so there’s no conflict of interest.
Manulife FA has a team of financial consultants who are always taught to find the best policies for their clients. Contrary to popular belief, Manulife FA financial consultants do not just advise on Manulife products – they will even recommend policies from other insurers (such as Aviva, Tokio Marine, NTUC Income, China Life and Swiss Life) if they offer a better fit with their clients’ needs. Manulife FA also works with a range of other partners’ platforms such as iFast, FAME and Navigator.
With the flexibility of various product offerings and a range of available platforms, Manulife FA’s financial consultants are able to truly put their clients’ needs first, instead of being pressured to advance sales of products by a particular insurer. You can speak to Manulife FA directly for details on how their multi-insurer and multi-product model works.
2. Your financial advisory firm should provide good career progression prospects
A good financial advisory firm to work for is one that shows good career progression prospects. You should also feel empowered to step out of your comfort zone, enabling you to grow professionally and demonstrating qualities you may have, such as leadership potential. Following the same routine day-in and day-out can stifle your career development due to the lack of exposure in other areas.
For example, a good financial advisory firm will clearly communicate the different career stages that lie ahead in your professional journey. They will be upfront and candid when assessing your strengths, while ensuring that you’re aware of your blind spots or weaker abilities. Feedback from your bosses and peers should be constructive, empowering you to better yourself. Regardless of what your ‘end game’ might be – from providing better solutions to your clients, to becoming your own branch director– you will need a good financial advisory firm that will reward your hard work and recognise your talents for what they’re worth. You should feel empowered to get to where you want to be.
3. Holistic benefits and growth opportunities – look for benefits beyond just a pay cheque
It’s important to see the bigger picture: the right financial advisory firm will allow you to achieve your full growth potential by providing you with the right opportunities. While commissions may seem attractive, these might not be sustainable in the long run or be subject to cuts. Good financial advisory firms should take longer-term considerations into account, such as ways to derive recurring income, so as to future-proof their financial consultants’ needs.
A diversified product mix also ensures that you won’t have to face the conundrum of only having a fixed number or type of products to sell, since there will always be alternatives you can rely on to find the best-fit product for your clients’ needs.
Providing training budgets and allocating the necessary resources to ensure you’re adequately equipped to help your clients reach their financial goals are also important.
4. Find a financial advisory firm that provides the right working culture and support you need
While there is no “correct” working culture or environment, it’s important to find a culture that fits you well. With 17 different branches among its group of over 600 financial consultants, Manulife FA offers a wide range of options – chances are you’ll be more likely to find a branch whose values and ideals coincide with yours.
Having the right support and sufficient resources are also important. Having a reliable and trustworthy partner for support provides assurance that your financial advisory firm has fundamentally secure backing, instead of being a random ‘fly-by-night’ operation. As part of its unique operating model, Manulife FA enjoys the corporate support of Manulife Singapore. As a large financial institution that has been in Singapore since 1980, Manulife Singapore is a key player in the local life insurance industry. Manulife FA’s financial consultants can therefore tap onto resources and support from Manulife Singapore, which otherwise wouldn’t be available at other financial advisory firms. Such support only goes to show how much importance Manulife FA places on empowering its financial consultants to provide the best possible client solutions and experience.
5. The financial advisory firm should provide mentorship and guidance
Most insurers will place new financial consultants under mentorship; this is quite routine and expected. However, here’s an important thing to remember about mentors:
Effective mentors are not just people who teach. They are people in whose presence you can learn.
It’s possible that the methods used by some mentorship programmes will not work for you. For example, some mentorships will have you start learning by ‘classroom-based’ learning: getting a theory-based basic understanding of what you’re meant to do, before gaining more practical exposure.
Other mentorships may be more focused on practical experience; you may be told to go out and talk to people first, and receive pointers on how to improve only afterward.
None of these methods are objectively “more correct” than another. But you need to ensure that the methods are working for you, and you’re in a financial advisory firm which actually teaches you what you need to know.
Sometimes it may take a bit of searching to find the right fit and what works for you – that’s perfectly normal. With 17 different branches under its wing, Manulife FA would be a good place to start your search.
This is an editorial series done in partnership with Manulife Financial Advisers.
Featured image From Pixabay user AlexanderStein.
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