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The 18 Firsts of a Wealth Manager

Getting into the financial industry is exciting.  To be able to advise clients on what to do with their money: $100,000, $1 Million or $100 Million.

But to be able to survive, sustain and do well as a Wealth Manager is not easy.

We look at the many firsts of Wealth Managers, and what may pave a road to a fruitful and long-lasting career as a Wealth Manager:

No. 1 The Regulatory Examinations

The very first hurdle of a Wealth Manager career: To pass numerous gruelling regulatory examinations:

Country Example of Regulatory Examinations
Hong Kong Licensing Examination for Securities and Futures Intermediaries (LE)
Singapore Capital Markets and Financial Advisory Services (CMFAS) Examinations
United States Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)


No. 2 The First Cold Call

If being a successful wealth manager means passing the regulatory examinations, receiving the certifications, licensed to advise and representing prestigious financial institutions, perhaps all academics would be the best wealth managers.

Unfortunately, many Wealth Managers start their career from cold calls.  They are new.  Who would give them $100,000 or $1 Million to manage?  Would you?  New Wealth Managers start cold calling – building their own client base.


No. 3 The First Presentation

Getting to meet a prospect doesn’t earn their trust to manage their money.  Wealth Managers have to get ready their “presentation” about themselves, on what they know, what they can do, which financial institution they represent and many whys … …


No. 4 The First Sale

If everything goes smoothly, whether it is after a few presentations or after a few hundreds, the new Wealth Manager would have recorded the first sale.

It will be quite an achievement, and hopefully the start of many.


No. 5 The First Client

Getting a sale doesn’t means it becomes a client.  It might be a one-off transaction, and that you have no real advisory relationship with.

Having a client means you would be one of the first choice to go to for financial advice.  And obviously, they trust and take your advice (some of the time).


No. 6 The First Commission

$100, $1,000 or $10,000! And knowing more “will” come if you work harder.  Provided you have commissions and incentives.


No. 7 The First Big Sale

And if Wealth Manager stays long enough, the financial transactions (portfolio / investments / assets) just keep getting bigger.  The first $100,000 sale.  The first $250,000.  The first $500,000.  How about the first $1 Million, $10 Million or $100 Million?

Which is or will be your first big sale?


No. 8 The First Cancelled Sale

Just like the financial market, there are ups and there are downs. Dealing with cancelled transactions and order is highly likely, especially in the early phase.

Even after a great presentation, a great advisory process, you found the client coming back with regrets on the commitment.  Dealing with buyer’s remorse in financial advisory is an important skill to pick up.  And no better experience than to always start with the first cancelled sale.


No. 9 The First Signature Fault

Signing on the wrong place, differing signatures such as in cheques and banking account.  Add the the tons of legal and disclosure documentations means and increased likelihood.

We ever wonder if any Wealth Mangers had no occurrence on this at all.


No. 10 The First Sabotage

Going on a good run getting new clients and chalking record sales?  If only being a Wealth Manager means working alone.  Unfortunately, you are working with a team of people that includes product specialists, operations, legal and compliance.

Change of policy, shift of product deadlines, price changes on products, errors and missed submissions.  Many Wealth Managers have to go to client for the lapse – resulting in distrust in the capability in managing money and larger assets.


No. 11 The First Complaint

If the sabotage didn’t end up in a complaint from client, Wealth Managers will get one sooner or later.

Not picking up calls from an impatient client, poor pricing on incomplete explanation of financial products, poor advice on hindsight, quoting the wrong facts when client had done considerably research and comparison … …


No. 12 The First Bad Investment

If only complaints remains as complaints.  Unfortunately, Wealth Managers like Lawyers and Doctors have a success rate: Positive or Negative.

And if all investments are always positive, there wouldn’t be any risks.  In other words, there will always be bad investment, and dealing with the first bad investment is one.


No. 13 The First Annual Review

Completing the first full year as a Wealth Manager is special.  Thrusted into learning about investments, insurance, and thereafter advising clients on financial planning, portfolio and wealth management … … all these in one year.

It is the time of the first ever annual review: Setting up a meeting to do an annual review, ensuring everything is on track, and preparing for what to do in the following year.


No. 14 The First Award

Completing the first year also means you might be you might be up to receive an Award for special achievements such as “Most Promising New Advisor” award.


No. 15 The First Top Ranking

If you perform the best, you might just be the top ranked advisor for the month or the full year.


No. 16 The First Bottomed Ranking

Someone has to be the top, and someone has to be the bottom.


No. 17 The First Crisis

Just when everything is going smoothly.  You are hit with the first ever crisis in the economy or the financial market.  Withdrawals, cancellations or even massive markdowns in portfolio values.


No. 18 The First Job Change

Banking or Non-Banking? Insurance Agencies? Independent Financial Advisory? External Asset Management or Private Wealth Management?

Where do you go?  Are you looking for better places or are you being headhunted?  Welcome to your first job change.


Are you a Wealth Manager?  Did you go through all these?  Or have you skipped past most of them?

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