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8 Essential Skills to be a Top Wealth Manager

Every year, many enter into the Wealth Management industry, becoming Financial Advisors, Personal Bankers, Priority Bankers, Assistant Private Bankers, Investment Advisors, Treasury Specialists and many more.

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Some have ambitious dreams to be a Private Banker or Fund Manager.  Some are happy to make $10,000 a month by the age of 30.  Some just love the flexibility to be able to manage their own time and schedule.

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Whatever the reasons, there are essential skills required to be a top Wealth Manager.  We look at 8 skills you need:

No. 1 Prospecting

Many Wealth Managers begin their career by thinking:

  • Get the required certifications and license
  • Acquire relevant financial and product knowledge
  • Send 30 – 50 emails a day
  • Make 30 phone calls
  • Go for networking and events

And clients will start seeking them for financial advice.  Unfortunately, many spend their first 90 days doing that.

The first step to getting a meeting with a client, is to start looking for the “right” clients – a process called “prospecting.”

Whether you are in a bank with lots of clients or a financial advisory firm with no clients, you have to find your prospects.  Not everyone will end up being your client, and most don’t.

Prospecting is no easy task.  Who are the right target clients?  How do you get to them?  Would they give you the opportunity?  Do they already have many advisors?  How long does it take for them to have a meeting with you?  Will they waste your time?  Would you waste their time?

If you have no prior sales experience, getting started is a lot harder.  This means using a wandering approach (trying on everyone) to help you to acquire more practical experience, and building confidence in the process.  Unfortunately, this approach have an incredibly high failure rate.

No. 2 Calling

Despite the increasingly high reliance on emails, calling gives you a higher chance of setting up the meeting.  Since personal wealth is a sensitive issue, most prospects you call, would still not want to meet you and discuss about their personal financial matters.

By making the call, they are able to hear their voice, assess your sincerity, professionalism and decide quickly if having any future communication with you is even necessary.  Similarly, you are also assessing if the prospect is a client you might want to have.

But calling is not an easy task.  Most people don’t do well in calling.  If you are a wealth manager, you might be thinking you are highly qualified in financial knowledge and advisory, why do you need to spend so much time convincing your prospects it is worthwhile meeting you.

Mastering the art of calling is a skill most top wealth managers have.


No. 3 Selling

Challenges of Relationship Managers
Challenges of Relationship Managers

Selling begins anytime.  How do you present yourself?  Do you look and sound professional?  Are you trustworthy?  Are you strong in your financial and advisory knowledge?

Selling is often the most difficult part of a Wealth Manager’s job.  Not because selling is difficult, but the goals of selling are often focused on generating revenue and income.

Maybe you don’t sell financial products, you sell financial advice.  In both instances, both products and advice have an uncertain future outcome.  In other words, there could be risky events that results in a loss of capital.

Then, you would have to sell (propose or advise) more financial solutions, or to sell (convince) a future that may be better, that you have little control of.


No. 4 Relationship Building

Keeping the relationship with clients over a long time is no easy task.  For Wealth Managers in the early 20s, would this mean having the same set of clients till 50s or 60s?  Would you ditch the $100,000 client for the $10 Million client?

How much time should you spend on building relationships with clients?  Are you good at nurturing relationships with clients?  How close should you be with your clients?  Should you keep a distance away?

It is also very likely in every major life cycle, you would be there for your clients:

  • Getting married
  • Buying a house / Taking a Mortgage
  • Newborn (Insurance & Education Planning)
  • Investments and Portfolio Management
  • Retirement Planning



No. 5 Product Knowledge

Portfolio Allocation
Portfolio Allocation

Financial products are not simple products such as travel vacations or handphones.  Some clients might know what insurance products are, some have an idea of what stocks and Unit Trust are.

More questions on financial products:

  • Is there a difference between Unit Trust and Mutual Funds?
  • Are Structured Products better than Unit Trust?
  • Should clients invest into foreign currencies?
  • What makes an ideal portfolio?
  • Will the different portfolio allocation work?
  • Why are so many banks and financial institutions giving different advice?
  • Do Private Banks and Hedge Funds offer superior solutions?
  • Is Private Equity for everyone?
  • Does all IPO earn money?

As a Wealth Manager, how do you respond to the above questions?  Should you trust your Chief Investment Officer?  Why is another bank’s Chief Investment Officer giving a different answer?  Who is right?  Who will be right?

Wealth Managers take many years to build up adequate financial product knowledge.  It is a long and continuous learning journey as financial products change accordingly to global economic and financial changes.


No. 6 Numbers

Wealth Managers have to be comfortable with numbers.  Not with abstract calculations – but being able to understand and explain the simple principle of interest rates, inflation, returns, cost and fees.

Dealing with Numbers:

  • Profit / Loss Calculation on Stock Prices
  • Foreign Exchange Rates
  • Insurance Tables and Graphs Simulation
  • Mortgage Loans and Changing Interest Rates
  • Portfolio Simulation


No. 7 Documentation

Banker in Distress
Banker in Distress

Financial products are highly regulated.  Unlike buying a phone or movie ticket where one simply agree to all terms and condition, financial products purchase requires filling in and signing endless documentation of questions, disclosures and agreeing to terms and conditions.

Wealth Managers have to fill in and explain the documents to their clients.  Any errors might result in voiding the documents, a potential return trip to re-sign the documents, or worst, clients might reflect poorly on the level of professionalism, resulting in cancellation of the financial solution.


No. 8 Follow-Up Service

For most consumer products, you are able to call clients and ask them how the product is doing and if it is useful.  For financial products, the reverse occurs.

Sometimes, clients might call you and ask how is the performance doing?  Or you might update clients on the performance and current financial situation.

The follow-up service is very different as a Wealth Manager.  Conservative financial products require less monitoring.  Growth or aggressive products’ value fluctuate more, requiring more monitoring.

Most Wealth Managers would be happy to pick up a call to inform client of a 10% increase in portfolio performance.  But what if the portfolio consistently returns -5%?

How would your follow-up service be like?  More investments?

These are 8 essential skills you need to be a top Wealth Manager. Do you have these 8 skills?  Or are there more skills to be a top Wealth Manager?  Or maybe you just need 1 or 2 skills?  What are they?  What do you think?


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