Award leads planner into brave new world of media
Perseus Lam Ching-wang had no plan to become a media pundit, offering financial advice in print and making TV appearances to discuss money issues of the moment.
However, that has been one of the welcome consequences of being named overall champion at the SCMP/IFPHK Financial Planner Awards in 2009, as well as individual winner in the IFA (independent financial advisory) category.
That success - the result of hard work, extensive preparation and solid support from his company - immediately raised his profile both within the industry and further afield. The titles served as the kind of endorsement every professional is hoping for. They said, in effect, his advice could be relied on and his opinion was worth hearing.
So, over the past two years, while continuing in his main role as chief wealth management adviser for Convoy Financial Services, Lam took on a range of media commitments. Among the more recent was a TV interview concerning the best ways to invest the HK$6,000 government handout and a series of spots for media sales company RoadShow, giving basic financial advice, which was featured on local buses.
'It is still a surprise for me when these opportunities come up,' Lam said. 'I didn't expect continuing media exposure, but I see it as a good chance to gain experience and, as I learn more, I am enjoying it.'
A second surprise has been that so many people notice. Not just friends and colleagues but, more importantly, clients - both existing customers and new contacts who often make the move to get in touch.
'I don't think I would have had all these opportunities so quickly without winning the awards,' Lam said. 'It is definitely a shortcut in career terms if you can do well.'
Another plus was that, by simply taking part in the competition, he came into contact with many professionals working in different parts of the industry. Now, if Lam wants to find out more about, say, a technical point related to estate planning, he has a wider network of peers and senior colleagues to call on for expert advice.
'After the win, I also saw that clients and company management had more confidence in me,' he said. 'That makes it easier to do your job, even though the company already has a flexible approach and gives advisers a lot of support.'
Lam said that just by taking part contestants gained valuable experience. 'The process really makes you think about every aspect of financial planning, and that will help your clients.'