Occasionally I get calls from people (and my own clients) who are keen to become an IFA. Usually they have no prior experience in this industry and they aspire to be a financial professional. When they asked me what it takes to be a financial adviser, I will tell them that they need to moderate their expectation. While they desire good intention to be a true professional, I have to tell them what clients really expect in this market place. Clients embrace salesmanship style but reject professionals. I have blog many times on this area. They were shocked when I say that. I do not wish to paint a rosy picture for these new advisers and they must be prepared that clients in Singapore (especially) are immature. Some of them will be discouraged and hence decide not to join the financial industry when I told them that there is 90% chance that they will become another salesman.
I feel really sad that many new advisers who join the industry really want to be truly a professional but are forced to become a salesman. Both the clients and firms view this job as a salesman. Thus, there is overwhelming pressure for the adviser to become another salesman. I really wish MAS can do something about this by banning this practice. If government can ban chewing gum, why can’t it just ban the practice of salesmanship in financial advisory? Is it because chewing gum contributes hardly anything to the GDP but the salesman financial adviser contributes significantly to the country’s GDP? From what I see, free market play will unlikely result in the financial advisory job to become a true professional. Only regulation can move it there. The question is: Is the government willing to sacrifice a big part of the GDP in doing this?
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