With global financial markets in turmoil, the wealth management sector will not be spared as growth slows for at least the next year, according to investment platform iFAST Financial. In the aftermath, regulators are also expected to tighten control of how some products in the industry are sold, especially for high-profile asset categories such as structured products where there have been allegations of mis-selling, according to chief executive and chairman Lim Chung Chun. However, iFAST, which is a lead sponsor of this year's SCMP/IFPHK Financial Planner Awards, expects growth to resume in two years as the markets recover. It will lead to a growing awareness that consumers need to understand the investment products they buy and to be more sceptical of the selling process at large financial institutions such as banks. 'In recent months, we have seen the business slowing down because of the downturn. However, we believe this will be temporary and it will not take too long for the business to start to grow at a robust pace again,' Mr Lim said. This is likely to result in a shift towards more do-it-yourself investing, he added. Financial planners need to take the chance to educate investors on the merits of long-term investing and portfolio planning. This is expected to help restore investor confidence in seeking professional advice. Mr Lim, who participated in the final round of the awards as a judge, said the competition was a good event to raise the standards of the financial planning industry in Hong Kong. He said his company was glad to be involved in the competition because it took a long-term view of growth in the industry. The company will seek to be involved in more activities that promote the profession in Hong Kong. 'We wish to let the industry know that iFAST is committed to helping this industry grow healthily in the long term.' Reflecting on his participation as a judge, he said he found the final round's presentation, held at the Hong Kong Bankers club last month, to be very interesting, particularly observing how the four finalists in the three fields of banking, insurance and independent financial advice approached the hypothetical case from different industry viewpoints and corporate backgrounds. Founded in Singapore in 2000, iFAST operates the largest online unit trust distributor there. Last year, iFAST launched Fundsupermart.com, an online distributor of unit trusts aimed at direct investors, in Hong Kong. This year, iFAST added a B2B platform to boost independent financial advisers. The new solutions allow financial advisers and institutions to gain access to a wide range of unit trusts and mutual funds. Other benefits are round-the-clock access to consolidated statements, calculations of their trailer, commissions and other fees. Advisers will also have access to a wide range of products, information, research, technology and business development services.