'A deep level of trust builds up over time'
How did your career in wealth management start?
I set up my own mortgage business in the United Kingdom in 1997. I decided to move into wealth management in 2002 because it's more diverse and adaptable to the range of economic conditions that we experience. With the global credit crunch and the implications that had on the mortgage market, in hindsight that was a very good move.
What does your work involve?
My primary duty is to act in the best interest of our clients. We provide and manage tailored financial solutions to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs). Our experience comes from years of research and best-practice development that provide us with a unique perspective of clients' needs and, importantly, understanding their concerns. We bring this to each and every client during personalised client meetings and services.
In what ways does Financial Partners stand out from competitors?
We are fully independent, with over 280 terms of businesses with global institutions. Every one of our advisers is highly trained to international regulatory standards. We have a rigorous internal training programme, including annual exams, and a strong focus on continued professional development. Because the financial world is complex, our advisers and advisory teams have access to a network of leading industry experts, and best-of-breed products and services, enabling them to deliver world class solutions for a range of financial planning needs.
What's the most challenging aspect of your job?
Most effective use of time. In this day and age of technology, there is more information at our fingertips on a daily basis than it would ever be possible to consume. I need to do an amount of reading and research each day, but I also have to spend time working with clients. Getting the right blend is the one of the major keys to success.
What's the key to be successful in this industry?
To focus on delivering the service of balance sheet management as opposed to selling products. Another is to truly understand the needs of HNWIs today and focusing on providing a comprehensive level of service while managing a client's wealth.
What is your average workday like?
Managing a global client base, I advise on a diverse range of investment and tax-planning issues. These include portfolio management, private banking, retirement and estate planning, as well as international tax and repatriation planning. Being an owner of the business, a portion of my time is spent helping our management team run the company.
What gives you the most satisfaction or frustration in your profession?
The most frustrating aspect is the quality of some of the advice given in Hong Kong. In the UK and other developed markets, the bar is set higher. Hong Kong is catching up, but the progress can often be slow. The most satisfying thing is working with clients over long time frames. I have had some clients for 11 years in Hong Kong and a deep level of understanding and trust builds up over time.
How do you see the wealth management industry five years from now?
The industry is on a path to ever-increasing professionalism. Clients want transparent, liquid investments that deliver on their performance promises. There are still a lot of old products being marketed in Hong Kong which will likely disappear, or change substantially as the market moves towards more cost-effective, flexible and highly efficient investment platforms. There will be a further move to providing holistic balance sheet management as opposed to product sales and, of course, information technology and systems will become more and more important.