An Interview with a Financial Service Agent

Having done many interviews with bloggers and other exceptional retail investors, I thought it will be a fresh change to have an interview with someone in the financial service sector.

Furthermore, T.U.B Investing is always about stocks and investing, so talking about personal finance will be hopefully bring about something different.

Therefore, I decided to interview my friend, Poh Lin (Poh). Other than being my financial service agent, he is also my ex-colleague, a fellow investor and a very good friend.

Currently he is also a collaborator for my investing workshops, such as the one that will be coming up this month. Thus, do take note that the 1st 20 mins of all my future workshops will mostly probably be taken up by him.

When I knew Poh had become a financial service agent, I started asking him more about insurance.

The most interesting thing that happened was that I decided to have a review with him and end up cancelling some of the insurance I had instead of buying more! This allowed me to have extra cash for investing.

Another factor I like about the review was that Poh was also able to provide the full spectrum of insurance products from different insurance companies. He was also telling me why some premiums were higher than others. These "insider info" and increased number of choices made me even more intrigued.

It is just like investing - if you knew certain information that others don't of a certain counter, you will most probably have a higher chance of making a right decision on that counter.

Without further ado, let's get straight to the interview questions and his answers!

1. Why did you joined the financial services industry?

Poh: Having 4 years of experience with a global bank in risk management, I learnt that managing risks in a big company is extremely important on a daily basis. Ironically, while this is clearly recognized by companies world wide, many individuals do not realize the importance of managing risks throughout their lives. I came to appreciate the insurance industry through exchanges with my friends; how personal risk management through proper insurance planning helped families from spending all their money on medical expenses when their families became ill.

I happened to catch up with an old friend who headed an agency and after the discussion, I realized that I can make a career while helping people with proper insurance and financial planning.

2. What is the differences between you and other finance agents?

Poh: Two things mainly; firstly, my company Finexis, is one of the largest independently owned financial advisory firm in Singapore. What it translates to is that I represent the sole interest of my clients to find the best products for their needs. I strongly believe that there is no company that can have all the best financial products in different segments. Through a partnership with me, my clients get access to the latest product comparisons across the market along with sound advice which suits them the most.

Secondly, I have a consultative approach towards planning for my clients. I believe that planning cannot be done properly if you don't understand a person enough. And that's why in the first consultation session with my clients, I will not introduce any products, instead focusing on learning more about my client's needs fully. I treat all my clients as my personal friends, which is why it matters a lot to me that they receive the best planning.

3. How can I save money and insure myself and invest at the same time?

Poh: Do not over insure yourself and use the right products at different life stages. I've come across clients who have been over insured before and it upsets me that they had been overspending on insurance products before they met me. I believe that insurance planning must be personalized for each individual. 2 individuals of the same age might require different products because one is married while the other one is not. It really varies and that's why it's important to know my clients well first!

By freeing up cash flow from proper insurance planning, the remaining of my surplus can be planned for emergency funds and wealth accumulating through investing.

4. Understand you invest as well, what are your investing style?

Poh: I am a firm believer of diversifying my portfolio. You will find blue chips Singapore and US equities in my portfolio, monthly investing plans (offered by myself) and a small part of my portfolio in derivatives products. I believe investing is just like a forming a soccer team; you need to have defenders (low risk), midfielders (medium risks) and strikers (higher risk). This applies to my investment portfolio as well.

A majority of my monthly surplus goes into investing because;

1) I have my emergency funds set aside

2) If an illness happens, I am well covered by my insurances such that my investment portfolio will not be needed to fund for any medical expenses.

5. Can insurance be deem as a form of investment?

Poh: Yes of course. People always say, the best form of investment is in yourself. While we are trying to build up our wealth through our investments, all these may be lost the moment a health crisis occurs. Unfortunately, we cannot say that it will never happen to us. That is why I firmly believe that the right insurance products are equally important in a successful investment portfolio.

6. Finally, in this current market situation, will you be recommending to invest or to insure instead?

Poh: I'll say why not do both! As I mentioned earlier, it's all about good diversification and having a balance with your money. It does not have to take a lot of money to have a good insurance coverage in your investment portfolio. It's all about proper planning!

That's all for the interview. If you are interested to know more about Poh, do come to the upcoming seminar.

I knew I promised you the post on the Ultimate Scorecard. But I am currently still doing some checking. The post will be up next mid week, stay tuned. Please like our Facebook page (T.U.B Investing) and follow me on InvestingNote for the latest updates!