Anyone unsure about whether to enter the SCMP/IFPHK Financial Planner Awards 2010 should consider the case of Perseus Lam Ching-wang.
The recently promoted chief wealth management adviser for Convoy Financial Services has had something of a whirlwind 12 months. After impressing the judges through three tough rounds of last year's competition, he was crowned top performer, last November, in the independent financial advisory category and overall champion - Hong Kong's Best Financial Planner of the Year 2009. His success opened up a new range of client contacts and professional opportunities.
In the past few weeks, for instance, he has conducted a seminar for 50-plus students at Polytechnic University, given his views on financial planning on television and in print interviews, and started to contribute articles to websites.
"I have really enjoyed having these opportunities," Lam says. "And Convoy has also asked me to play a bigger part in public relations and recruitment activities."
Besides the recognition and exposure that success brought, he feels there were significant other pluses from taking part. The competition format, requiring an initial written submission and later oral presentations, obliged him to sharpen his skills and understanding of each area of financial planning. He gained new confidence from testing himself against the best in the profession. And, by adopting a comprehensive, analytical method to prepare for the contest, he now has a better appreciation of the all-round and longer-term investment needs of day-to-day clients.
"Previously, there might have been some areas, such as insurance or estate planning, that I was not so familiar with," Lam says. "But having to review all the details for the different stages of competition, and discussing them with friends and colleagues, means I now have more practical understanding of the full scope of financial planning." His general advice to other practitioners is that they can only benefit by taking part. "Accepting the challenge will definitely provide good experience that will be very useful in their real-life jobs."