In our first feature on interns and trainees in finance, Cathy Chen Ching-kuen, says she got her job through an internship programme organised by IPP Financial Advisers, where she’s now an associate manager. The programme enables final-year university students to know more about the finance field and the independent financial adviser (IFA) industry. Chen thinks being an IFA is a long-term career because it is in a fast-growing and stable industry. She talks to Wong Yat-hei
What is your academic background?
I graduated in 2010 with majors in linguistics and sociology from the University of Hong Kong. My academic background is very different from the field I am working in but I am confident with my career choice because IPP is very well established and is able to provide me with the support I need for my career.
How do you start your day?
I start my day with the training workshop provided by my company. After that, I meet with my clients and prepare tailor-made proposals for them. Then I attend a case study session with managers who give assistance and advice on the challenges we face.
What does your job entail?
You must be eager to learn. The services we provide are far more comprehensive than financial planning services provided by banks or insurance companies. Our services range from giving insurance advice to trust, private banking and investment portfolio management. You must be eager to learn in order to be a good financial adviser. You must be trustworthy and reliable as our main duty is to take care of clients’ needs.
What have been the major challenges?
No two clients are the same, as they have different ages, backgrounds, thoughts and needs. It’s a challenge to find out their needs during one appointment and with limited time.
What have you learned about your chosen career and what are your plans?
The success of an IFA depends on one’s performance so it is important to be hard-working. My target this year is to get [the Outstanding Young Salesman Award]. It’s an award for the top two advisers under the age of 25. For long-term goals, I plan to become a senior branch director in five years.
Any advice for potential interns?
Do not hesitate to join internships in sectors that you are not interested in or not related to your educational background.