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Earth-moving experience redirects AIA partner

Published on Thursday, 02 Aug 2012
Nelson Lee
Photo: Edward Wong

The massive tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, left the country’s economy shaking and Nelson Lee without a job. The aftermath forced the Japanese company where he worked as a translator to close down its business in Hong Kong. Lee’s Japanese abilities, however, saw him meet with a senior leader at AIA, who was looking for a Japanese tutor. Lee tells Wong Yat-hei how he was convinced by the prospects of working as a financial planner and joined AIA as an associate financial planner.

What is your academic background?
I am a Form Five graduate.

What does your job entail?
I provide consultation on life, medical and accident insurance products. Helping clients solve their problems in managing their finances is also part of my duty, as well as providing advice on fund investment. I want to share with my clients the right attitude towards investing and help them reach their financial and personal goals. I also help clients with medical claims, so sometimes I will visit clients at clinics and hospitals.

What’s a typical day like?
I like arriving at the office early to look at finance news and check emails from clients. I will meet with clients or prospective clients for lunch to listen to their needs and feedback on my work. In the afternoon, I will handle paperwork and get prepared for meetings with clients in the evening.

What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
As a newcomer I have faced many challenges. My previous job experience was in translating and tutoring, so I had zero experience with financial planning. I was unfamiliar with the products, but luckily my colleagues very kindly helped me understand the various functions and features.

What have you learned about your job and what are your plans?
I have learned that financial planning is a job that requires much self-discipline. You have to set your own goals and keep learning. For my short-term goal I hope to be promoted from associate financial planner to financial planner. I also want to further my education to pursue a degree and get the CFP [Certified Financial Planner] qualification. My ultimate goal as a financial planner is to help those in need.

What advice do you have for those who want to enter the industry?
Think clearly about why you want to do it. Financial planning is a career that requires long-term commitment. A successful planner is always by their clients’ sides to witness different stages of their life. You need to consider carefully if this is the career you want.

It is a job without limitations in terms of income and promotions. Everything is up to you regarding how much hard work and effort you put in.

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