Engineering a new career in finance
Veronica Wong Kan-yin, manager for wealth management and protection at AIA, was a veteran educator, with her own tuition-centre business, before joining the financial-planning industry. She met her team leader, Matthew Lui Yu-chun, at an education seminar and was deeply inspired by his speech about the importance of having financial security to support a happy family.
Wong decided to contribute to society in another way – as a financial planner. She tells Wong Yat-hei about how she is looking forward to building her own team to provide job opportunities for people with a heart to serve.
What is your academic background?
I graduated with a bachelor of engineering in mechatronic engineering from the City University of Hong Kong.
What is an average day like for you?
From Monday to Friday I go to the office at around eight in the morning. Mornings are usually about receiving training to learn about selling skills and various products.
Then I handle paperwork such as claims documents. At lunch I will meet up with clients. I spend the afternoon calling clients and meeting with them to share the importance of financial management.
As a working mother, I spend time with my two boys every day after work. Weekends are family time for me.
What does your job entail?
I provide consultation on life, medical and accident insurance products. I also work on MPF and fund investments. I help clients solve their financial-management problems and give them advice on how to achieve their goals.
What challenges have you met?
I am five months into the job and it is definitely not easy. I am unfamiliar with the products and operations of the company. As a former educator, my mindset is very different from a financial planner’s. I have to adjust.
Some of my friends misunderstand my job. They think it is a career with unsteady income. I will have to regain their trust and show them I am willing to help them.
What have you learned and what is your goal?
Before joining the industry, I had no idea that financial planning was a professional career. After working on the job, I have a lot of respect for financial planners, who do their best to serve despite being continuously turned down by clients.
My goal is to have my own team and to earn the respectable Million Dollar Round Table title while promoting the importance of financial planning.
What advice can you give those interested in the industry?
Think carefully whether financial planning is the career for you. In order to succeed, you have to work harder than others. Do not think that the working hours are flexible just because you do not need to spend much time in the office. Your rewards are measured by your efforts. You can do what you like, but to succeed, you have to do what is right.