Thursday, August 27, 2009

Diversifying Advisers?

As Financial Planners, one of our responsibility is to help our clients in re-organising their finance through consolidating what they have and crystallizing what they need. In the process of doing so, we also educate them on the various instrument available and guiding them towards their preferred options.

There are some standard guidelines that we adopt based on their today's needs but we also highlight to them about the likely changes in their Financial Plan as they reach the different life stages. As every client is different with different needs and belief, we will try our best to guide them on what is suitable for them.

I began actively helping clients with financial planning since I joined the FA business. I noticed one common trait among many of them. They did not really go through a proper financial plan and they got their plans from all different sources such as friends, roadshows, call centres and banks. Unknowingly, they had achieved one thing; “Diversifying their advisors”.

It is a challenge whenever I meet up with such client because they seem to adopt different financial planning concepts and standards from different advisers. The advisers who helped them with the different plans either did not plan or did not plan on a overall portfolio basis.

One common example is the duplication of investments where the clients get their investments from everywhere ranging from banks, insurance companies, online portal and different Financial advisers. When we consolidate all these investments, it is common to see a large number of funds yet lacking proper diversification and direction.
Another challenge lies with the investments that are taken up via different platforms. it can be hard to reallocate and rebalance the portfolio unless they focus on only 1 or 2 platforms.

Another common case is when they had purchased all sort of insurances to the extent of not knowing how much they are paying and what they are covered for. They do not seems to remember their objective in getting all these insurance plans.

My advice is not that we should use only 1 adviser to manage your financial plan, What I’ll like to advice is to allow your planner to go through what you already have before allowing him to plan what to do for you. Those who try to sell you a lifestyle concept without knowing what you need and what you have may not be doing a good favor for you.

Having said all these, I know the difficulties that many planners faced. There are many people who are still very resistant towards us and refuse to divulge much info to us as they are so used to buying investment or insurance on a product advice basis. Do give your adviser the necessary info. He or she needs your help in order that they can help you.


Anonymous said...

You can't change mindset that is century old, can you? It is mindset that has been perpetuated by insurance agents to fit into their scheme of things, product pushing made easy.

Anonymous said...

I still have trouble understanding how financial advisors who are having trouble feeding himself and trying to achieve financial independence can help others to plan for financial independence.

Ironic , isn't it?

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Thats one challenge with "Scientist" Financial Advisers who compare and compare for clients and end up earning lesser for himself. They work very hard but they still earns a proper living.

Not true that they are not capable to help others achieve financial independence.

Also not true that they cannot be financial independent too because financial independence ultimately depends on the lifestyle and needs of that person. Your definition and his definition might be different.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Accidentally deleted below comment:

Please don't use "Scientist" on yourself. I find your reply to anon 1:35 am, a very weak one.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Anon 1:35 may not be talking about me and I may not be talking about myself too. If he is talking about me, then I agree that I may not be earning like those who achieve MDRTs or COTs, but I'm very sure that I'm working very hard every single day for each dollar that I earn.

The "Scientist" I put here refers to the group of Financial Advisers who always read, compare, analyse but may not be good in sales and the softer aspect in relationship buildings. I'm not trying to say that I'm smart when I know that I'm not that intelligent.

I do not like others to have the perception that a Financial adviser must be financially successfully in order to prove his capabilities. Many advisers who earns little are truly helping the public, Some advisers who earns a lot may not be. Its the integrity that counts at the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

I have to say this even though I know the truth hurts and I do apologize for it. what anon at 1:35 am said has some truth. For example, will you go to see a bald doctor to treat your baldness? Of course, one may argue that the doctor is actually not bald but shave himself bald. The fact remains that if you want a certain treatment, e.g. baldness, one would not go to a doctor who is not able to solve his own baldness problem. Hence, the same logic applies here, if the adviser could not get himself out of the financial rut, how can he help others to do so? Wanting to help, desiring to help, dying to help etc does not count since he or she is incapable to help.
Adrian is in the wrong line. His attributes will be more successfully used in other work. He will also be happier there.

Anonymous said...

Dear Adrian,

in order to survive, you need to see through people and what they're thinking...There's no need to reply to each and every individual's queries. Think about it.

Most, if not every business model, throws out outliers.

Anonymous said...

Don't be discouraged by the comments, adrain. You are an honest adviser and competent one too.
I think these people are talking about insurance agents being sucessful. These agents are no advisers, they are salesmen. They con and cheat people by pushing useless products that earn them high commission. As reported by LIA that this first half year sale of regular premium was up but not the sum assured. Why? because these insurance cheats disregarded the needs of their clients and sold them wholelife or endowment products which cannot insure them enough. Do you call these mdrt or cot cheats sucessful? Their earning as good as illgotten gain.
If consumers prefer cheats to 'advise' or con them there is nothing to stop them.
Adrain, don't worry. MAS has already sounded to LIA to clean up the act, to get the insurers to remove the commission from all the products. Insurance agents will have to eat grass and some may have to be sacked for malpractices.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Thanks for the comments. I shall take them positively. I know that there is something wrong with the way I do things too. I must stay profitable in order to stay long to serve my clients.

I had recently encountered a client who purchased a very large regular premium ILP by the president of a large financial planning association. This planner was featured on TV several times and is deemed successful by people.

But what was the client sold by him? A high cost ILP. When asked on why he took up that plan, he said the president can't be wrong.

I don't like people to have the perception that not so well off advisers like us are not capable of helping our clients.

Anonymous said...

Do Oncologist get cancer themselves?
Do doctors get ill too?
Do all Lasik doctors get 'Lasik-ed' themselves and not wear glasses?

The fact that Adrain is 'surviving' and living well without getting into any debts or money problem is a testimony to his money management ability and knowledge. When did financial planning and proper investment turn into a get-rich-quick scheme?

Anonymous said...

Hi Adrian,

It's heartening to know you are still straight despite in an environment where misseling is rampant. Pardon my bluntness, your team and manager are among the biggest sellers of Zurich Vista and other lousy plans. But as the saying you reap what you sow, those who missold their clients will not be able to continue selling for too long one. Some of your team's so-called 'top producers' are now gone.. :(

belinda said...

how i wish MAS make it compusory financial advisory on fee based only. people need to pay consultation fee for financial advise before they buy any insurance or investment, but they don't need to pay the comm any more. it's win-win right? Then the industry would become much cleaner..

Anonymous said...


Have you consider engaging another professional financial planner for yourself and family?

To put client's interest first, you must put others above yourself. But how to ensure your interest is looked after? By engaging another financial adviser who can help you.

Even a doctor need the help of other doctors. There is nothing wrong with that.

the Peasant said...

Do keep it up, I'm sure your honesty will bring greater and sustainable success in the long run.

Hi Anon 1.35,
My former advisor was from a prestigious company, made the million dollar round table, has a big office, dresses well, and EARNS enough to bring her family for regular travels. You might want to meet someone like that.