The term – financial planner is overused in the industry today. Any financial intermediary attached to an insurance company, a unit trust agency or a bank can be a financial planner. However, a fully licensed financial advisory firm refers to a firm which has acquired proper licenses from both Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission in carrying out financial planning activities.
The founder of Fin Freedom, Ms Sin Chee Kwan had been to both spectrum. An accountant by qualification & training, she started her career in multinational company, then becoming a full time insurance intermediary before moving on to independent financial advisory (IFA). It wasn’t easy – in fact, it is a huge step. By transitioning into an independent practitioner, it means giving up the “business empire” one has built being an agent and starting from scratch again. Only those who are bold and truly believe in adding value to clients’ financial life by providing integrated & comprehensive financial planning service would do this. Admirable.
The distinctive difference between independent financial adviser and agent is the approach. The former is process-oriented, while the latter is more product-oriented. See this screenshot from a page taken of http://insuranceinfo.com.my.
Fin Freedom corporate culture focuses on 3Gs – Gratitude, Giving, and Group Unity. See what Ms Sin means by that in the interview below, but here’s a few points to highlight:
Everyone has equal right to strike for their financial freedom. We assist in taking clients from point A to point B in achieving their financial goals
The powerful part of being independent is that there is a platform enabling IFA to access products from various providers. The analogy is like a hypermarket. But this is where the common challenges lie as well. Any IFA or financial advisory firm which does not have a clearly-defined system or methodology to filter all these products and do proper comparison/analysis among them, it is like getting yourself lost shopping in a hypermarket. After all, let’s be honest – different financial adviser has different level of experience and expertise. Information overload is as bad as having no information.
To resolve this, Fin Freedom actually has an internal team, led by Ms Sin herself, that drills deep into these products and consolidate the vital information (the costs, features, etc) into a one page kind of comparison matrix. Financial Advisers are then able to use this matrix (termed the firm’s “secret recipe”) to provide the solutions which best suit clients’ needs.
Now you tell me if you are paying the same price anyway for a financial product you are getting, would you appreciate this one more layer of value-added service an IFA provides? Remember – you and I, as a consumer, have the right to make informed decisions before we commit to anything.