Everyone knows how lucrative the financial services industry can be but have you ever wondered what it takes to be one of the best in the industry? Do you think you have what it takes to become a successful financial advisor as well?

We are happy to have with us today Richmond Tan, one of the youngest MDRT student advisors, who was also recently promoted to an Agency Manager despite currently being a year 3 NUS Undergraduate.

What did he do differently to consistently exceed his sales target despite being a Full-Time Undergraduate? πŸ’°πŸ’°


SeniorSays is happy to invite Richmond to shed light on how he achieved success in the industry. If you haven’t, do check out the sharing on Richmond’s journey from what seems like rock bottom to where he is today.

Q: Hi Richmond! Would you like to quickly introduce yourself for viewers who do not know who you are?


Hi everyone, I am Richmond and I am 23 this year and I am currently an undergraduate in National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School. I joined the Financial Services industry 2 years ago as a Student Advisor before University started.

In my free time, I like to work at my own pace and find new investment opportunities for myself.


Q: Why did you choose to become a Financial Advisor?

The main reason is that I wanted to be paid based on results instead of time. As a student, our spare time available is limited which also limits our earning potential.


Q: What do you attribute your success to?

The new age of Financial Advisory.

The role of a financial advisor has developed over the past few years which also meant that we have to be flexible and adapt to these changes. This flexibility and ability to adapt is what enables Financial Advisors to generate new leads to expand our clientele.

There are more effective ways of growing your clientele compared to road shows such as digital marketing and we have support in place to help us leverage on digital marketing.

For example, to help advisors build their client base, we have Cradle of Love that works with young families and Normn.IO that caters to the mass market and guides them on tricky issues like CPF Planning and other Government schemes. Regardless of age, these strategies target those who have the intention of financial planning and to make purchases.


Q: Naturally, there will be obstacles you would face in your career. Can you share more about the challenges you faced and how you overcome them?)

The biggest obstacle is the mental barrier that comes with it. This industry is one that does not require a lot of qualifications which means that many people can join and the competition is stiff. It is a known to be a highly stigmatized industry that many shun away from.

However, there are multiple professional certifications like being a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) that differentiates advisors with applicable skills such as Investments and Estate Planning. Coming from a top University like NUS, it gives me the academic edge to excel in such examinations.


Furthermore, as a student, most of your friends would be students, which makes it harder to start out. Which is why I chose to join a digital agency to allow me to have an easier time building a base clientele with the initiatives mentioned earlier.


Q: Any tips for aspiring Financial Advisors out there?

There are many approaches you can take, like to specialize in retirement planning, or specialize in investment plans, etc. FAs are like a single Lego piece to an entire sculpture. We all belong to the same company that it is important to know how the business is run.

We must try to adopt new age technology to make our work less painful and to help us in helping more clients. The company is there to help us achieve our targets and we have to fully utilize tools like the Chatbot and Cradle of Love to our advantage. And in the face of rejection, it just means that either you are not good at what you are doing, or you are not fit for the market.


Q: Before we wrap up, we have a few controversial questions that I am sure many people would like to ask but do not dare. Do you mind answering a few?

Sure I would be happy to!

Q: Did you lose a lot of friends in your journey as a Financial Advisor?

Not at all. In fact, I gained a lot more friends as this job forces you to interact with your old friends and make new ones. If I don't talk to them today, other people will. I eventually became closer to my friends and even their parents! My greatest fear is that I don't have enough time for them.

You will only lose friends because you are not good a good fit as their Financial Advisor and they are better off without you.


Q: What is your average income per month?


When I first started out, I was making around $800 per month for the first 5 months but I am currently averaging around $10,000 per month. I also managed to achieve 2 consecutive MDRTs in my 2.5 years in the industry.

In this industry, you cannot compare yourself to others and you have to run at your own pace. As a student, your earning potential is limited by your spare time and you have to manage your own expectations. To me as long I was fine as long as I was able to have a source of income to pay for my school fees.

My pace in the industry is an outlier and as a student advisor, if you can make $15,000 a year, that would be very good already. However, I joined this industry with the intention to go all out.


Q: What are your thoughts on the stigma people have of Financial Advisors? (i.e. FAs only want your money and commission)

It is the sad truth but as FAs, we do not blame them since it is difficult for people to stay in this industry for long, especially if they focus too much on income. If the income is not sufficient for practical reasons, you would quit.

To say that they want your money is an overstatement as all policies out there have their purpose and why it is seen negatively could be because the purchase might not be good at that point of time.

Whether or not you like the industry, everyone needs an advisor. Buying online doesn't mean you don't need an advisor, but it just meant you bypassed the middleman to get the policy. The financial instruments and terminologies can be very technical for most people and eventually, you would need someone to help you out.



Thank you Richmond for sharing with us your experience and your insights! We hope that their sharing has shed more light on what being a Financial Advisor entails.

You can also read more about Richmond's life experience before becoming a Student Advisor here or find out more about the digital initiatives that are helping Financial Advisors in lead generation here.

Click here to find out more about our Student Advisory Career Acceleration Program get a head start in the industry.

Or, click here for our Full Time Management Associate Program and embark on an exciting journey to become a leader in the industry.

Should you wish to learn more about the other university-related contents that we have OR contribute, do feel free to explore think.seniorsays.sg and write in to us today! πŸ˜‰