Contributing to the community helps lift job satisfaction

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 November, 2007, 12:00am

Michael Chan believes the opportunity to serve others is more important than merely making money.

As the vice-president of distribution in Hong Kong for Manulife (International), Mr Chan finds that he is able to contribute to the community by providing financial planning assistance to help customers fulfil their financial needs.

'Financial products are becoming more sophisticated and people are now more educated and more exposed,' he said. 'Without financial planning, we cannot satisfy all the customers' needs and benefits. You need financial planning to get the end result.'

Mr Chan typically puts in a 12-hour day five days a week. The most important aspect of his job is to deliver the sales result for the company, something that he achieves by recruiting 'good people' and by setting the right strategies for his entire sales team.

Part of his job is to ensure the smooth operation of sales support functions such as the payout of commissions and earnings, agency compensation and compliance, benefits provision and contract signing.

Training also forms a central portion of Mr Chan's work day. He supervises the training and development programmes for the company's agency force, whose large size and constant turnover of personnel necessitates ongoing training, most of which is conducted in-house.

'We are very focused on financial planning. We train our agents to change from protection and budget selling to need-based selling and financial planning,' he said. 'We train our managers to coach, recruit and supervise agents.'

The Hong Kong economy is returning to healthy growth figures and every industry is competing in a tight labour market, so there is a dearth of talented people in the financial planning sector. 'This is the most difficult challenge,' said Mr Chan, adding that the company's training programmes helped it overcome the shortage of good staff.

'A financial planner needs to really commit himself to the job and have the passion to serve the community,' Mr Chan said.