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How do you Develop your Career as a Wealth Manager?

A Wealth Manager is a sensitive and serious profession.  Like doctors and lawyers, they are trusted and relied upon their professional expertise.  At the same time, they deal with the unpredictable person-to-person relationship, moods and emotions.  They share the same outcome: none can control the outcome.


  • Doctor – Guiding the patient to the best chance of recovery
  • Lawyer – Guiding the client to the best chance of victory
  • Wealth Manager – Guiding the client with the optimal financial roadmap and actions

As a Wealth Manager, how do you develop your career effectively?  We look at 9 ways you can develop your career:

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1. Identify Your Purpose

Young Private Banker
Young Private Banker

Managing wealth is no easy task.  Since no one can predict the future, managing wealth involves the journey of managing uncertainties and a positive outlook in life.

If your purpose is to be the best stock-picker, someday you are going to be wrong.  If your purpose is going to be an investment-savy advisor, what happens to advice on death, illness, cashflow and estate transfer?  If your purpose is to be allocating assets in the safest products – the rest of the world is growing with GDP growth of 6.8% in China (2015) and 7.5% in India (2015), accordingly to World Bank Data.  This means safe assets are deflating at a faster rate.

How should you develop your role?  What is your purpose as a Wealth Manager?

  • Are you a custodian or a guide of their assets?
  • Are you a planner or are you a wealth builder?
  • Would you be with them for 1 year, 5 years or forever?
  • Are you making them rich so that your clients can do nothing forever?
  • Are you their go-to advisor for any financial matters?


2. Setting a Timeframe

Career Development
Career Development

Competition for talent, frequent poaching, evolving wealth management products and services, high pay and ample opportunities results in high turnover rate in the financial advisory industry.  For Wealth Managers, it is not easy to remain in one financial advisory firm, without facing constant temptation of moving to “greener pasture.”  What timeframe should you allow for your personal goals to be achieved?

Common Considerations:

  • Should they grow within an organization
  • Switching a few quickly to decide the better place to be in
  • Time required to build relationship with clients
  • Time required to meet or exceed sales target
  • Time required to gain promotion or better opportunities

All these require time.  A change in job every 6 months could cause distrust within clients. But a change in job means the advisor learn newer things and gain industry experience.

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3. Building Knowledge

Financial Market
Financial Market

Wealth Management is a knowledge intensive business.  You have to understand the financial markets, products, solutions, numbers and projections, and to skilfully explain in clear and simple messages to clients.

Example of Knowledge Base:

  • Global Financial Market
  • Asset Classes
  • Wealth Management Products
  • Wealth Management Solutions
  • Regulations and Administrations


4. Relationship Skills

Banker Counselling
Banker Counselling

Building and nurturing relationship with clients is extremely important.  You may have the strongest knowledge, but if you are unable to communicate and hold a decent conversation with client, they might not be comfortable sharing about their financial affairs with you.

This means you will end up not being able to provide them any financial advice, which could translate into sales opportunities.


5. Identify Client Segment

Asian Financial Advisor
Asian Financial Advisor

Identifying your preferred client segment is important.  You want to move into a role, talking to clients whom you can interact well with.

  • If you like to mix around with the rich or the man-on-the-street
  • If you prefer to talk to a professional or a businessman
  • If you prefer to talk to people who are well-travelled or people who tend not to move around.

Read More: Should you build a Career in Mass Market, Affluent, HNW or UHNW?


6. Continuous Learning

Private Banking Management Associate
Private Banking Management Associate

Managing wealth is about managing the future.  Wealth Managers have to constantly upgrade and learn about the latest changes, especially if you are providing wealth management services to an international market.

Being able to hold conversations with different profile of clients means you have to constantly keep up with the trends, current affairs and varying conversations.


7. Differentiating Yourself

Private Banking
Private Banking

Is your wealth management service provider more important or is your career more important?  Wealth Managers have to constantly differentiate themselves to meet with the changing demands of an increasingly open financial market.

Questions to Consider:

  • Are you a Basic or Valued-Added Service Provider?
  • Are you a Low Cost or Premium Service Provider


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8. Identify Backup Plans

Financial Crisis in Greece
Financial Crisis in Greece

Times have changed with rapid economic development.  There is no certainty that the wealth management unit will still be intact in the next 5 years.

This means frequently assessing if your platform is the suitable one for your client.  The role of a Wealth Manager is to manage risks for clients, assessing your firm’s risks is equally important, including systemic risks.


9. Identify Industry Trends

Bank of China
Bank of China

There was a time when stockbrokers were the only access to buying and sell stocks. Today, stockbrokers face dwindling income and increasingly competition from self-directed trading.  In the 1990s, electronic trading, technology and computers eliminated the need for money market traders, causing many traders to lose their jobs.

Besides forecasting wealth & money trends for clients, Wealth Managers have to understand and adapt to the changes in the global economy, financial system and wealth management industry.

These are 9 ways to develop your career as a Wealth Manager.

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