Wealth is difficult enough to create, let alone manage and invest. Experts at this year's show will teach you how to make money and have fun Most people have different financial priorities at different stages of their lives, but regardless of age or life stage, a balanced financial plan can help to provide long-term peace of mind and financial protection. Financial planning and other wealth management and investment options are in the spotlight during the Financial World Expo 2005, organised by the Institute of Financial Planners of Hong Kong (IFPHK). The three-day event at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre that started yesterday and ends tomorrow is the finale of a week-long series of activities centred on the financial planning and investment industry. More than 70 topical seminars on the latest financial and economic trends and issues are scheduled are being held during the expo. 'The public needs more financial planning education to enable them to make informed investment decisions and achieve long-term wealth goals,' Angeline Chin, chief executive at the Institute of Financial Planners of Hong Kong (IFPHK), said. The expo would provide a one-stop opportunity for members of the public to meet face-to-face with financial professionals and to find out more about the wide range of services and investments available to them in Hong Kong, she said. 'We want to stress that the Financial World Expo 2005 will be fun and interesting, with the opportunity of winning fabulous prizes; while at the same time we will be presenting to the public a useful and informative insight into the world of financial planning,' she said. The expo will provide an integrated financial environment where visitors can compare products and services, as well as learn about the latest financial planning and wealth management trends. The event will attract more than 70 exhibitors involved in banking, insurance, financial planning, fund and asset management, stock broking, investment and retirement planning, estate planning, accounting, legal, offshore business, mandatory provident funds, overseas property development and sales, money management and listed company management services. Visitors will be invited to join a treasure hunt to discover hidden truths and unearth hidden treasures. The prizes on offer included CSL's 'BlackBerry for Individuals' service, a BlackBerry handheld and Seiko watches will be awarded to lucky winners who collect stamps from the exhibitors, Ms Chin said. The expo aims to reinforce and further strengthen Hong Kong's position as a financial hub in the region. It would provide a platform for the financial services industry to present and promote its products and services to the investing public and at the same time educate consumers and enhance their knowledge of investing in Hong Kong, Ms Chin said. 'Very often people are so busy with their careers they do not have the necessary time to efficiently organise their financial planning and wealth management requirements. With thousands of different investment options and products on the market, people need professional help to sort through the maze for them. They need professionals to help them with these important issues,' she said. Growing public demand for financial planning services in the past five years has fuelled a sharp increase in people joining the industry. The IFPHK encourages financial practitioners to study for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) qualification, to promote high standards and ethical practices. The CFP examination format was changed recently to encourage more financial professionals to take the exam. In place of a 10-hour exam spread over two days the examination process has been divided into a four-part modular system. This allows students to study for and sit the exam, focusing on specific areas. Registrations under the new system have doubled this year compared to the 800 students last year. 'CFP certification opens up a wide choice of career options and gives employers and clients confidence in the practitioners' ability to deliver the highest [quality] professional services,' Ms Chin said. A financial planner's duty is to help clients formulate their goals and manage their finances to achieve those goals. Expo visitors will be able to talk to financial planning and investment experts at a specially designed Consumer Education Corner. They will also have the chance to meet local financial celebrities. The expo will feature the Billion Dollar Showdown, where visitors can learn insightful investment tips from fund managers. Panels of experts will cover such topics as equity class, alternative derivatives, portfolio managements strategies, wealth protection and retirement planning, wealth accumulation, wealth distribution and consumer education. A Hall of Fame will feature 46 award-winning fund managers who will display and explain their investment strategies and products. IFPHK was established as a professional self-regulatory organisation to benefit the Hong Kong public by fostering the highest professional standards in personal financial planning. The institute is also a member of the International CFP Council that works to promote the CFP certification mark as the globally recognised standard of excellence for financial planners.