Hi, I am Louis.
As a Remisier and Financial Advisor, I would like to share with you my financial advisor journey and welcome you into a typical day in my life.
How I Started as a Financial Advisor in Singapore
I took a leap of faith by leaving my stable corporate career in April 2015. Due to the unique nature of my license – Remiser license and Financial Advisory license, I can provide advice and execution of trades for a wide range of financial instruments. They range from insurance, bonds, ETFs, stocks, and many more.
Being a financial advisor in Singapore is much different than in other countries in the world.
You can easily become a financial consultant without a license in other places but Singapore. If you’re interested in taking the job as a profession, you’ll need a proper license issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) through the Financial Advisors Act (FAA).
It was not until the year when I acquired my dual license that I was able to officially work as a financial advisor in Singapore. My job requires me to meet with many retail investors and scrutinize their portfolios. Of course, client information is always confidential and I will not be disclosing their information here. What I am going to share are the overall performance and general sentiment.
What Does a Financial Advisor Do?
Being a financial advisor in Singapore is different from most other careers since you have no fixed salary and no standard working hours. Therefore, to succeed as a financial advisor, you have to be disciplined towards yourself in terms of work and time management. In other words, you need to create a fixed schedule for yourself and make sure you are strict about following that schedule.
Daily Routine as a Financial Advisor in Singapore
As a dual license holder and a financial advisor, I need to be a multitasker. For a start, I need to stay updated with what the market is doing. Every morning, I will find out what has happened overnight in the US and Europe, monitor client trades and read about scheduled market activities for the day. I do this every single day. I call it my ‘breakfast’.
After breakfast, I will spend time looking at my clients’ portfolios. Usually, the initial appointment with a new client is a fact-finding session. I will gather all insurance policies and investment summaries and learn more about the client’s background and investment objectives.
It is my job then to analyze and compile the information for the client during the next appointment. The compilation and analysis for a client can range from an hour to half a day or even longer, depending on how complex the financial situation is.
During office hours, I will stay connected to my trading desk and answer client queries on the market and individual stocks. My evenings are usually spent with clients.
There is a whole range of tools and instruments available for wealth management. Each serves a different purpose. A holistic wealth management plan should utilize each instrument wisely and it is my job to recommend the right tool to achieve the desired outcome.
Every week, I will review how I have spent my week and the outstanding items that require follow-ups. Every month, I will do a monthly presentation on the global investment market and provide a monthly portfolio performance report for my clients.
Mastering Excel Is Essential for a Financial Advisor
I am a ‘numbers’ person. I believe only by looking at numbers can we tell the difference between a good or bad financial instrument. For that, to provide clients with data-driven advice, you need to master Excel for getting and extracting all the sufficient data.
Regardless of which instrument you are using for your wealth management, analysis based on the projected returns and potential risk will indicate the suitability of the instrument in your wealth management process.
Throughout my journey in providing financial advice, I have built up several standard templates for wealth management. I am happy to share them with you and you can download them here:
These are the standard templates though, and may not be applicable for more complex portfolios.
In such cases, I construct a projected cash flow for clients. Based on the existing circumstances and by applying certain assumptions, I can project the future cash flow for a client
The purpose of the cash flow projection is to ensure that the ending cash balance stays above zero. This indicates that one can live comfortably with a sustainable cash balance for the entire life span.
Personal Advice as a Financial Advisor
What I like most about being a financial advisor is the interaction with clients. In our conversations, I get to hear many different life stories. While there are many investing success stories, there are just as many who are still struggling.
There are some common traits I see in successful investors. For a start, they take action and get things done. On top of that, they put effort into learning and understanding the financial markets. Most importantly, they know that there is no free lunch in this world and that high returns are always correlated with higher risks.
If you want to be successful in your investments, make sure you can invest with patience, understand the investment instruments and make prudent decisions.
Generally speaking, most retail investors are not generating good returns from their investments. A lot of them do not even track their investment. The majority of people do not know the purpose, the structure, or even how well an investment is performing.
There are many priorities in life and we tend to get carried away with family, work, and hobbies. Many of us give little thought to planning our finances well. In addition, the topic of money can be daunting to someone without a finance background.
Truth is, financial planning is something we cannot afford to ignore. Many of us work hard in our careers to achieve a better income and a more comfortable standard of living. Unfortunately, in many cases our savings are not working hard enough, our investments are not generating good returns, and our insurance policies are not providing sufficient protection. The cost of this ignorance is way above the gain that we try to generate from our income.
I have always believed in a balanced investment approach. Through proper asset allocation, one can achieve financial freedom by using different financial instruments to obtain better risk-adjusted returns. If you need advice on your portfolio, do drop me a mail at email@example.com