Just four months ago, I was sitting at home, a freshly minted Master of Counselling graduate, applying for jobs when during a break I decided to type “Providend” into my search bar for what must have been the fourth time that day. I had first read about the firm online when I was doing some light research on the best way to plan and manage my own finances after receiving a small gift sum from the estate of a dear grandaunt who had passed away two years before.
After having chanced upon the idea of fee-only advisers, I had begun searching for one based in Singapore, and naturally, that had led me to Providend. I didn’t (and don’t yet) meet the profile of a Providend client, so I didn’t reach out to engage them but have found that the firm existed had already given me some hope.
While still an economics undergraduate student, I had read about commission-based jobs, conflicts of interest, unjustifiably high fees and product churning. In fact, it was its marked prevalence that had almost turned me away from the financial industry forever. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would never want to work for an organisation that sold products designed to enrich themselves and that treated clients’ interests like an afterthought. It had been a major reason that I made the shift to pursuing qualifications in psychological services in the first place.
In graduate school, I had the chance to work with families and individuals in distress and I could not help but notice how a significant amount of that stress was often associated with financial crises— difficulty footing medical bills due to severe illness, making ends meet in the face of disability or retrenchment, or conflict between siblings regarding the distribution of a parent’s estate. In those types of situations, counselling was hard because although some of the emotions were manageable, the underlying problem could not really be resolved by talking. My frustration led me to think about how different their situations could be if they had insurance or, even better, a sound financial roadmap.
That day, as I applied for counselling jobs, I ended up applying to Providend as an associate adviser too. It was a difficult decision to make because even though it was just one application, it clearly represented a complete a hundred-and-eighty degree (and second) U-turn for me.
To cut the long story short, in late May I was offered the job here and I gladly accepted.
Although supportive, my family still had some doubts, my friends thought I was crazy, and I struggled a little with the feeling that I was being a “flip-flopping millennial”.
Now, though I’ve been here only two and a half months, applying to Providend easily makes it onto my list as one of the best decisions I have ever made. I feel truly blessed to be part of the Providend family where I can deal in financial services with the knowledge that the firm’s values are the same as mine—that we will always put clients’ interests first and provide honest, independent and competent advice. I can’t wait to keep learning, growing and serving our clients.
Looking back, it is with deep gratitude that I admire the windy road that has led me to be sitting here writing this.
This is an original article written by Bryan Chan, Associate Adviser at Providend, Singapore’s Fee-only Wealth Advisory Firm.