There are many job advertisement recruiting graduates to join the insurance industry as a representative of a financial adviser. Interestingly, every job advertisement out there seem to promise too-good-to-be-true remuneration package. Well, the fact is that there are representatives who have make it big time and earning top income in Singapore. There are of course, many who resigned a few months into the career.
As a financial planner for 20 years, I understand your concern of reaching out to potential clients and your worries about not able to meet the sales target. Well, there is some universal truth and guiding principal we need to be aware of before joining. I have interviewed up to a thousand people in last 17 years and I always share the importance about the job fit and encourage everyone of them to research more before joining. I hope I can add value to many out there considering joining the industry either in the banking or insurance company.
1) Is the job pleasant and rewarding?
- It is probably the most challenging type of creative selling: customers for insurance are not always aware of either their problems or the best solution.
- Consumer surveys show that most people, particularly people with college backgrounds, are receptive to Financial Planner and place a high value on the service that they perform.
- During the apprenticeship period, most agents find it necessary to keep irregular hours and to perform repetitive tasks. These characteristics of the job disappear, however, as Financial Planners gain skill and experience.
- Earnings closely reflect ability and growth. Those unsuited for the career discover it quickly and move on; those who are successful receive substantial compensation immediately.
2) Is it a job worth doing?
- Most people own insurance, particularly those with college backgrounds.
- Beside that, there’s a wide range of financial needs like Savings, Investment, Retirement, Business ownership and Estate Planning you can work on with your clients.
- Appreciation of the advantages of ownership increases through exposure to qualified Financial Planner who take a professional financial planning approach to the service they perform.
3) Is it a job that offers independence and permits initiative?
- Like a profession, there is a period of study and apprenticeship or internship under close supervision. However, agents move through this period at their own pace and become independent when ready.
- Although established Financial Planners are independent, they have the support of the home office and of the manager at all times.
4) Is it a job that encourages growth and development?
- Company and agency training programs are designed to give a new agent a solid foundation of basic knowledge and skill to achieve a satisfactory earnings level.
- A broad range of company and institutional education and development programs are available. Financial Planners are encouraged to use them, frequently at company expense. The problem-solving environment draws upon the agent’s total experience and education in order to assist clients in financial planning,
- The Financial Planner who enjoys marketing and excels at it may make it an increasingly rewarding career; the Financial Planner with interest and talent in management finds many opportunities to take on such assignments in the sales environment and home office. A prerequisite, however, is a reasonably successful selling performance to demonstrate the capacity for assisting others.
5) Am I cut out to be a sales?
Just like you. I don’t believe in selling either. I am a trained professional engineer graduated with a 1st class honours in Electronic engineer. I have deep rooted values like integrity and ethic to follow. I believe the best way to be a representative of a financial adviser is to be there a professional planner. Always listening, always understanding is probably the way to do a better job. Usually in the first three appointments, I will devote at least 70% of time listening carefully what does my client want and need. I will always have an agenda to ensure we are never off track, a meeting minute send out within 8 hours right after the meeting with client. For example, I met a good old friend today and he is concerned about his current financial burden like supporting his two siblings suffering from some form of mental disability and also supporting his two retired parents. We met up several times to ensure I have a good understand of his family’s situation. In a short one hour lunch meet up, I conclude to him he need to set aside emergency funding and told him I fully understand his financial commitment. Then we proceed to discuss about his retirement plan in 20 years. He didn’t want to do anything about the plan. I agreed with him and he was touched by what my attitude. I spend only the next one minute asking him if his financial commitment will become worst in next 15-20 years by not doing anything. Obviously, that set him thinking. I re-assure him I really don’t want him to have any commitment and it will be entirely up to him to also plan ahead for his loved ones.
To me, being able to there to walk the journey side by side with my client is the most important thing I am concerned about. Therefore, selling is definitely NOT the way and we need to carry out our mission with passion and commitment. This also mean that by givng yourself say only three months is definitely a suicide career move.
How can a 3 months job ever become a professional career?
6) Should I go for a salary based or commission based job?
Well, there is no definite answer for this. In term of monetary aspect, there are some who did well in the full commission career and there are also others who perform in full salary job. Consider this carefully before taking a plunge as what’s important to others might not be of any value to you. Having worked as application engineer and sales engineer, I like the stability of the job. After three years of work in corporate life, I realise I didn’t like the environment. It was an illness trigger by an office politic that forces me to resign. It’s only that moment, i realise stability is just a mental state or, I should describe it as, an illusion. When my mum contracted cancer, I asked my engineering boss for help and he offered to lend me $300. When my boss accidentally make a mistake in his job, I became the best person to take up that “responsibility”. When I lost 10kgs in just one month as I became the corporate victim, no one ever stand up for me, not even the boss when I sold my 18 hours per day life to the company that I work for. The ex-boss always told us that no one is indispensable in this world and it took me more than 2 years to realise it. As for a full commission career, the key is whether do you have the ability as no company will hire people without the ability to perform the duty.
Enough of my sharing, the job is really rewarding as many are already aware of this fact. The key is to focus on risk not the return (or commission). To get started as representative of a financial adviser, you will be given allowance and tuition fee assistant. This will certainly provide some form of essential security to your family and you. I have personally witness many fresh graduates entering the industry and earning 6 figures of income. The common traits that everyone have is the good attitude demonstrated in the duty as representative of a financial adviser. One of my siblings even earn a 7 figures annual income consistently as a representative of a financial adviser. Go for it while you are young and able. You are rewarded for the right attitude demonstrated towards your trusted clienteles.