“I want to be a wealth adviser,” I told Ms. Yap, Executive Director of Whitman Independent Advisors. “I want to help people in the journey of crafting their very own holistic wealth plan and then executing the plan to fulfil their financial and life goals.”
After completing my undergraduate degree in 2016, I took a two-month break and worked in a patisserie to experience life in the food and beverage industry while looking for a desired job in the financial world.
There was one, and only one, company in Malaysia that I wished to join – Whitman. Well, some of my family and friends advised me to apply for more companies, to increase my chances of getting a job they said. I took their advice and submitted one more!
I was called for an interview by both companies, Whitman’s came second.
During the first, I asked if they charge a fee for advice and construct a comprehensive wealth
plan for their clients before recommending any financial products to them. I remember clearly the reply given, “It is not that we are not ready to offer such service, but the market is not ready – to pay a fee for advice.”
Not convinced of course, I braved the question, “How does Whitman do it then?” The interviewer could not really answer that, and I was called for a second session with the founder of the firm. He explained to me his business model and granted me the freedom to provide fee-for-advice service if I wanted to, but only at an individual level. While I appreciate that he spent the time to share his thoughts with me despite his busy schedule, I turned him down.
In the interview with Whitman subsequently, Ms. Yap suggested that it might be better for me to develop my skillset in one of their backend teams that provides advisory support to the wealth advisers before becoming one. There was actually no opening for that position at that point of time but thankfully, upon further consideration, they decided to onboard me!
I was really glad to be given the opportunity to learn how to construct holistic wealth plans for people from all walks of life and assist the wealth advisers in implementing the plans for their clients. Interestingly, I was also involved in will writing! It has been a fruitful experience, but I had to make a tough decision to leave the company in 2017 as my husband was offered a job for better career prospects in Singapore.
During my farewell lunch, Whitman’s Founder and Managing Director Mr. Yap told me that “If you want to continue to do the right thing, go to Providend.”
That is how I got to know about Providend, and I was grateful to be offered the role of Client Service Manager despite unavailability of the position when I applied for it. At Providend, I learnt more about the impact of making life decision before wealth decisions, the significance of being fee-only and the philosophy of sufficiency, among many others.
Having a great culture that encourages ideas and changes, the management then offered me the opportunity to become an Associate Adviser, a role that sets me a step closer to my dream. I happily accepted the chance and was really excited about the journey ahead.
However, life is always full of surprises isn’t it. My husband and I decided to move to Qatar in 2019 and this time, I chose to press the pause button on my pursuit in financial planning and wealth management and pick up my love for cooking. After settling down and taking a break, I started Nellie’s Kitchen – a Facebook page for me to share my cooking journey.
A few weeks later, Chris asked if I wanted to work with the team again, remotely from Qatar. He then immediately told me, “Not as Associate Adviser but Content-Community Manager under Brand Management.” I was very happy and excited about it, yet I doubted if I could manage the new role well.
After much thought and consideration, I decided to take up the challenge! Now, after 9 months, do I regret riding on this adventurous journey that is so different from what I really want to pursue? No, because I share the same values and Providend is a company worth contributing for.
It was tough and to be very honest, without the strong encouragement and support given by the team, I would have given up in the early months.
And maybe one day when I am ready, I will say this once again, “I want to be a wealth adviser.”
This is an original article written by Loi Jia Ling, Content-Community Manager of Providend, Singapore’s First Fee-Only Wealth Advisory Firm.
For more related resources, check out:
1. Life Planning, Going Beyond Financial Planning
2. Conversation with Our Client, Mr Richard Hong
3. Personal Story of Bryan Chan | A Reroute In Pursuing Work-Life Fulfillment
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