Chief Distribution Officer, Manulife Hong Kong
Manulife growth spurs graduate recruitment drive
The financial planning and insurance sector is an essential part of the Hong Kong economy. This is thanks in no small part to the ever-increasing awareness of the importance of health, and medical cover and the need for well-structured retirement plans. Indeed, at a recent forum that focused on the development of the insurance industry, Financial Secretary Paul Chan highlighted the sector’s rapid growth, noting that up to June 2018, Hong Kong people held close to 13 million life insurance plans. However, there is still enormous potential for further growth, especially with the Greater Bay Area and Belt and Road initiatives expected to bring all kinds of new opportunities.
Some of the latest statistics from the Hong Kong Insurance Authority illustrate how fast things are moving. For the first half of 2019, total gross premiums reached HK$295.8 billion, indicating an increase of 16.6 percent from the corresponding period in 2018. New office premiums in respect of policies issued to Mainland visitors totalled $26.3 billion, an increase of 17.9 percent from the same period last year.
As one of the local market leaders backed by a global financial services powerhouse, Manulife Hong Kong is well positioned to tap into this potential for growth. The company is part of the Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC), which was established in Canada in 1887 and now has an extensive international network. As of June 30, 2019, the total value of assets managed and administered by MFC was more than C$1.1 trillion (about HK$6.8 trillion). Manulife shares have been traded on the stock exchanges in Toronto, New York, Hong Kong, and the Philippines since 1999. A further indication of its standing is that Manulife Hong Kong is the only insurance company to hold a Securities and Futures Commission licence to conduct asset management in the local market.
Lawrence Nutting, Chief Distribution Officer, Manulife Hong Kong, notes the company has worked hard for more than a century to earn the trust and confidence of clients.
“We are committed to serving clients with a comprehensive range of financial planning and insurance products,” he says. “Our brand is supported by financial expertise, and we now have over 2.2 million clients and as of September 30, 2019, we have over 9,500 agents in Hong Kong.”
He adds that Manulife has been in Hong Kong for 122 years. The company is Hong Kong’s number one insurance brand for customer satisfaction and the largest Mandatory Providence Fund (MPF) scheme sponsor.
All of this points to exciting opportunities for insurance professionals working in the territory. The strong economic development of recent years has created an expanding group of high-net-worth individuals looking for insurance products and financial advice.
Most of these people attach great importance to wealth planning and asset management. And Hong Kong-based companies are well placed to provide comprehensive services and quality products that can meet the full range of requirements.
It is also worth noting that, the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area supports the enhanced connectivity in the bay area with respect to financial products, including insurance. The Hong Kong Insurance Authority welcomes the initiatives and foresees that can deepen the co-operation among insurance sectors in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, and promote closer regional economic collaboration.
To anticipate the drive for expansion of the industry, Manulife Hong Kong is expected to hire new recruits keen to build a career in the financial planning and insurance sector. Nutting expects the team of financial advisors may grow in the next 12 months.
Chance to realise potential
To attract the right kind of candidates, the company has introduced its “Manulife IANG Talents Program”. This was designed to take advantage of the Hong Kong government’s Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG). It is a way to offer such individuals a career platform from which they can go on to become leaders in the financial planning and insurance sector. Nutting is confident the scheme can play a big part in helping to recruit highly motivated graduates with the ambition to succeed in the sector.
More specifically, it offers them comprehensive professional training, attractive reward packages, and the possibility of regular promotion. A unique feature is the chance to receive one-to-one coaching on selling techniques. The coaches offer tailor-made, personalised guidance, which helps graduates achieve the industry’s Million Dollar Round Table status and become top performers in the sector. There is also a pathway for entrepreneurial graduates to establish their own businesses under the company’s umbrella and to earn impressive financial rewards.
Nutting makes it clear that newly-hired graduates are not just thrown in at the deep end. Taking due account of their university qualifications and initial performance, Manulife Hong Kong is ready to offer them special monthly allowances. The company also has a mechanism for fast-track promotion, which is not based on years of seniority. A career advancement pathway is clearly mapped out for competent wealth management managers, and this can take them all the way up to the level of executive regional director.
Such a proposition is obviously very attractive to many graduates. They also recognise that Hong Kong-based companies can offer an international work environment, good remuneration, and great opportunities to move ahead quickly.
Manulife IANG Talents Program
The highlights include:
• Position: Wealth Management Manager
• Requirements: a bachelor's degree or above; who will enter/stay in Hong Kong for employment under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG)
• Monthly allowance for up to a maximum of first 12 contract months, based on education qualifications
Educational qualification Maximum monthly allowance
Bachelor’s degree HK$20,000
Master’s degree HK$25,000
• Special performance bonus: calculated based on requirements of sales achieved in two years; the maximum amount is HK$600,000.
• Fast-track promotion: clearly defined career advancement pathway that helps to realise full potential and achieve individual goals.
Executive Regional Director
Senior Regional Director
Senior District Director
Senior Branch Manager
Senior Unit Manager
Wealth Management Manager
• Professional training and guidance
1. Special five-day financial planning skill sets course in Putonghua
2. Skill-enhancement course, advanced wealth management seminar, and a series of professional seminars, workshops, client talks and other activities
3. One-to-one coach for techniques selling
• Rewards and recognition
Top-performing wealth management managers will be featured in well-known financial publications, attend conferences overseas, and receive suitable rewards and recognitions.
• Monthly highlights
Regular activities and events to help wealth management managers experience Hong Kong’s diverse culture and integrate into Manulife Hong Kong.
• Dedicated high-end business centre (to be opened in the second quarter of 2020)
A new dedicated high-end business centre situated in the Kowloon central business district. It will provide an upscale, comfortable environment for wealth management managers to meet with clients and hold other activities.