Ms Janet started our CFP® certification program in January 2016. She is a financial advisor representative in one of the established local financial advisory firm. She have been doing financial advisory for about 9 years, where she started from an insurance company before moving to a financial advisory company. She graduated with a Diploma in Mass Communciations.
KapitalMinds: Can you share what is the difference between an insurance agent and a financial advisory representative?
Janet: I had a good start as an insurance agent. After which then I switched over to being a financial advisor representative in 2007. I am really enjoying my time in a FA firm. One of the key difference is I can use a wider range of products from various insurance companies to meet my client’s needs and we have a very good platform for managing our clients’ investment portfolio.
I have a strong interest in investment portfolio management, hence I find it very effective to manage my clients’ portfolio using the iFAST and Navigator Investment platform. I can now manage my client’s investment portfolio on regular basis and I find that very useful in helping my client’s work towards their financial goals.
KapitalMinds: Tell us more about your thoughts about financial planning?
Janet: Over the years, I feel strongly that most people should take more ownership about our own personal financial plan. Typically, a lot of people assumes the financial products they sign up would have been recommended based on their best interest. That may not be true.
However, client should also take ownership in understanding that their own circumstances or needs have changed. Hence, these are times when the individual must seek to review their financial needs on regular basis.
I still do encounter people and clients who sign up for financial products without seeing how these products fit their overall portfolio.
KapitalMinds: How does the CFP® program help you with your financial advisory business?
Janet: I believe if we can add value to our clients in drawing out a workable financial plan, then the client should be comfortable in even paying a fee for the plan. I find that the CFP® program helps to lay the foundation of working toward providing a comprehensive solution because it equips me with the knowledge and skill set.
Personally, one of my favourite way to work with my client is to inspire my clients to save toward retirement through sharing unique ideas. I believe client should be inspired to save toward retirement, rather than “scaring” them. I find that Hwee Heng’s (KapitalMinds Module 4 lecturer) sharing during class as very inspiring. His experience in advising clients on portfolio management is quite enlightening and practical.
KapitalMinds: Can you tell us more?
Janet: In Wealth Management, there are many different types of instruments to helping the client’s achieve their goals. For example, in the CFP® program, we learnt about the features and risks of Options, Stocks, Bonds.
What I enjoyed attending classes at KapitalMinds is that the lecturers have the belief that every instruments can fulfil some parts of a financial portfolio. Without the right belief on the instruments available, as advisors, we can subconsciously be directing our client to instruments that may not fit the needs of our client.
KapitalMinds: Anything else you can share with us?
Janet: I find that KapitalMinds are really helpful in arranging the day classes for us because my evenings are typically occupied with meeting clients. If not, I would prefer to spend time with my young daughters.
Furthermore, KM’s class is held within walking distance from my office. So I find that very convenient.
Mr Kenny Loh started our CFP® certification program in Jan 2016 and have been very consistent in his progress. As a public student with no prior financial planning experience, Kenny have been outstanding in his coursework. We invited him to our office for a short chat and we learn some interesting ideas that will be fruitful for fellow students.
KapitalMinds: You have an engineering background. What is it like to take up a financial course? And why did you choose the CFP® program?
Kenny: Now that I am 40s, I wished I had the opportunity to do this earlier! I only came to understand how important financial planning at a latter part of my life. The schools did not provide financial education, and I find that financial matters is every part of our life. We simply went around making mistakes through try and error methods.
I went to the banks and lost money. I listen to others and did not understand the full picture and lost money. All these are hard earned money, and I realised educating myself first should be a priority. That is how I ended up taking the CFP® program.
KapitalMinds: So far, how did the CFP® program benefited you?
Kenny: The course so far have given me a much clearer concept on strategizing on my finances. I have built some in depth understanding on REITs investing over the last 6 years. Now, with the CFP® program with KapitalMinds, I gained a bigger picture on how various financial instruments like stocks, insurance and CPF comes together to form a portfolio for myself. Every individual should also know the basics like taxes in Singapore.
People can run away from insurance agents, but they should not run away from the importance of insurance. Nowadays, I call my agent to get my insurance reviewed on regular basis, not the other way round. That being said, I still run away from product pushing insurance agents!
One of the benefit I gained from the course (from Module 4 Investment Module) was now I can read and understand Fund Management performance. I have gained a deeper understanding of the risks of different investment vehicles. We should not just take risks at face value. I learnt from the course on how to quantify risks in various ways and understand how risk vs reward is justified and measured.
KapitalMinds: Are you planning to be a fund manager then?
Kenny: Ha. Not really. I enjoy doing my financial blog and sharing some key lessons I learnt over the years. I find the CFP® program is filled with many concepts that can be applied immediately. Especially at KapitalMinds, where the lecturers are always keen to share how to apply the concepts immediately in our daily lives.
The course really helps to provide me with the foundation to plan for my own financial future. I am looking forward to gain a deeper understanding on Tax (Module 3), and Insurance (Module 2) in the coming year.
After studying the 3 modules leading up to the AWPCM, I am exploring becoming a financial advisor, specializing in investments and portfolio management.
(KM note: AWPCM stands for Associate Wealth Manager Title, which is awarded if the student passes Module 1, 4 & 5 of the Certified Financial Planner course)
KapitalMinds: When do you plan to complete your CFP® certification?
Kenny: What I like about KapitalMinds are their good student and teacher ratio. We can get quite good tutoring for the course material, as well as good understanding on the Wealth Management industry. I am looking to achieving my CFP® mark by 2017, taking about 2 years.
I am glad that KapitalMinds have assisted me with the grant application. The government is providing grants to “old” people like me, so it is to my interest to maximise this opportunity. I find I have really make full use of my Skills Future Credit to upgrade myself.
KapitalMinds: Thank you! We look forward to see you in our classes in the coming months!
Mr Kenny Loh signed up for an AWPCM package, where if he completes the 3 modules, he will be able to use the title of Associate Wealth Planner in his career.
You can find out more about Mr Kenny’s investment ideas on REITs at his blog at http://mystocksinvesting.com/
KapitalMinds: Thank you for your sharing, Kenny.