Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spirit of Professionalism

I received a call from a friend recently. This friend of mine is a financial adviser from a different FA firm. We had met only on a few occasions but through those few meetings, I'm able to sense his sincerity and passion in this advisory field. He is an adviser whom I respect and look up upon.

He called me out of concern to see how I'm doing in my company. He was concerned about me after a blog comment he noticed few months ago about how busy I am and yet how little I'm earning. He felt that I may need help in making this career a viable one and continue serving the public honestly.

During our conversation, he also highlighted to me of a prospect whom I did Financial Planning months ago but did not follow up for recommendation. He informed me that the client was very upset with me for not calling him. He did not elaborate further and informed me that he will follow up from his end.

I recalled that prospect instantly because I remembered vividly that I'd tried to negotiate with an insurance company for his premium loading to be reduced due to his health conditions. He sign up that insurance plan via internet himself and I'm actually not in the picture. I helped him because I hope he can be convinced to get some insurance cover with a lower loading. I also did a financial plan for him on the same day he approached me. During the fact-finding and presentation meetings, I know that he do not believe in fund managers and financial advisers like us in manging his money.

I went on to present his Financial Plan and did not contact him after that because I was not sure how to go on after that meeting. I know his needs but I do not know how to proceed with any relevant plans that can fit his needs due to his multiple health conditions and to proposed any portfolio based on index funds or ETFs. I do not have the confidence on getting my job done and deep inside me, I know that the chance of getting my proposals (Insurance and Investment) through is slim. A lot of time might be needed and I will not get anything back for the time I spent. As more work comes in subsequently, I forgotten about his case.

I was lectured by that friend that being a professional, we should follow up a case until a conclusion is drawn. I have to be outright with this client from the start if I'm not able to help him. I should also look deeper to help him with his other needs such as wealth distribution and family coverage, etc...

What my friend lectured about me is right and I like to apologize to this prospect if he is reading my blog. I was lost initially on what to do and subsequently forgotten about you. As a result, I had exposed you to problems that may relate to your financial plan during that few months. But I also really hope you understand that I'm a human afterall and please do not get too upset with me. I am busy not because my business is super good and don't care about you, its because I do not adopt short-cuts in planning for my clients and I'm still working hard to make a proper living like everyone else.

Thank you my friend and prospects of mine. I'd learnt a new lesson about Spirit of Professionalism...


Anonymous said...

Hi Adrian,

I am unsure how you do the financial plan but as you know that the first step of the plan is to set Objectives. Objectives are two folds - the clients' financial goals and the objective of the financial plan. For the latter, it will be what you & your client wish to achieved from the plan.

Thus, you'll not come to a situation in which you do not know what to do next if the objectives are clear from the onset. Also, if you found that the objectives of the plan is going to be beyond the scope of what you can do - than you should not proceed with the case.

Anonymous said...

If you are really sincere about apologising to the prospect, you should give him a call instead of just writing it in your blog. He may or may not read. If you call him and apologise, at least you still have some decency. Don't write here for everyone to see, but don't dare to call. If you call and he hangs up on you, at least you got try to make direct contact to show your sincerity.

Forgetting is a lousy excuse. You merely didn't think he was worth your time so conveniently threw him at the back of your mind deliberately. You will not forget a rich prospect for sure.

You need to learn the right values and indeed professionalism. Seems like you still have a lot to learn.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

You r honest w yrself n I trust yr honesty can be applied on other pple. This is yr gd character tt most agents lack. There r nothing wrong to give priority for other pple who deserve yr attention. You r making a living, not charity. You select yr client not client select you. Don't put all blame on yrself. Yr client is partly responsible also. I observed tt you seem to enjoy other pple trampled n insult you. You exposed yr low self esteem n you position yrself very badly. Don't allow negative pple to harm you n yr career. Just do yr job n prove to others w action tt you r a professional. Don't need not tell whole world how stupid you r. There r plenty of agents ripping their clients off, yet they thot these agents r professional. If you think you better than em, go prove yrslef.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

I'd received a lot more comments and decided not to post them. I do not want to start an argument as of who is right and wrong here.

This is the 3rd time I apologize to this prospect and I did it through my blog for this 3rd time. I know that he is reading because this is where he got to know me.

I'm not trying to gain him back but I do feel disappointed about myself and I'd reflected for several nights. I will want to move on from here and just be a better adviser.

Thanks for all the comments...

Anonymous said...

allow this to go thru. Give you one piece of advice.

Find e right gp of pple to demostrate yr professionalism, not any Tom Dick Harry. If you spend 1 day on yr FP n you only sell a shield plan, yr system is dead wrong. Yr time worth $$$, you r not doing charity. PAP not paying you to do FP for free for public. You r doing a disfavour to those who trusted you n need yr attention yet you r spending yr precious time on those who don't need yr help. Select yr clients carefully n serve em wholeheartedly after tt. This is e true spirit of professionalism n you will be rewarded with constant stream of referral. You can never be professional if you try to make yr base too big n make all happy.

Anonymous said...


Choose your clients properly. There are two simple rules:

(1) You need to choose clients who can afford & willing to pay you or buy from you for your recommendations and

(2) You like the client.

These two rules will help you both being happy and make a decent living. Your clients will also be happy when you are happy to work with them.

There is no need to publish this on your blog. Just think about it.