Rebecca Regan, Senior Vice President at AAM tells us what it takes to be a top adviser and how the world of financial advice is changing.
Why were you interested in becoming a financial adviser?
My mum would say it’s of no surprise I do this for a living! As a child my favourite game to play was ‘Post Offices’ – the eight year old me found pure joy in having a counter set up with paper money, stamps and books to write in. It spoke to my organised and analytical side and I think that was why I was drawn to this field of work.
You were recently awarded Wealth Manager ‘Adviser of the Year’ – tell us what this means to you?
I think the award validates the efforts my team and I make to offer good client support and outcomes on a daily basis. I have an amazing Client Service Manager, Maelle Meurzec, and two incredibly efficient administrators Nursahida Sahmat and Sera Ramlan, and between us we work endlessly to give our clients holistic support and ongoing advice. And whilst I am extremely proud of the award, I very much accept it on behalf of my team.
How has the world of financial advice changed over the years?
Parts of the advice process have changed immeasurably in my 15 years in Singapore and parts remain very rooted and constant, such as forming strong client relationships. The actual advisory process has evolved and has become more robust. The regulator in Singapore is fully vested in ensuring clients are treated fairly, so the quality (and length) of our statements of advice have improved considerably over the years. Clients’ needs have also evolved opting for a process that is less paper based and many of our providers have assisted in offering web based applications and underwriting. In addition to this, clients’ investment appetites have also changed with more requests for Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance or ‘ESG’ funds, sustainable investing and fund managers whose performance can justify their fee model.
How do you build relationships with your clients?
I endeavour to let the client do most of the talking in the initial stages and take time to really understand their financial objectives and drivers. We are all inherently different, and it is important to explore with clients what they are trying to achieve financially. This has been quite an evolution, for me, as I am intrinsically, a ‘no grey area’ person and quite analytical. It has been a fascinating journey understanding that where financial decisions are concerned, we all look at things differently, operate in every shade of grey and more often than not, make decisions based on emotion not logic. I have taken time to study Behavioural Finance at length which has evolved my advisory process.
What inspires or motivates you?
My family are at the core of everything I do and are my motivation. My husband Justin and I have a daughter, and my father lives with us. My father has advanced stage Alzheimer’s and it’s a brutal prognosis so it can be hard to see him suffering through it. That said, his condition has provided me with real clarity on the fragility of our lives and I speak openly and frankly with my clients about this. My dad’s struggle, and ours as a family supporting him, has given me the courage and urgency to raise awareness on the importance of robust legacy planning. Aspects such as will writing, consideration of writing life insurance into Trust to mitigate Inheritance Tax liabilities, as well as guardianship of children, are all things to be considered and conversations to be had, no matter how difficult. Sitting calmly with my clients, sharing my own experience and carefully guiding them through the difficult questions, ensures that they are as prepared as possible for everything life might challenge them with.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
We try and travel as often and as much as possible as a family, and we ask our daughter to choose the destinations (within reason of course). A client suggested this philosophy to me about 10 years ago. It’s worked out well so far.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of AAM Advisory Pte Ltd. This article is intended for general circulation and for information purposes only. It may not be published, circulated, reproduced or distributed in whole or part to any other person without prior consent of AAM. This article should not be construed as an offer, solicitation of an offer, or a recommendation to transact in any products (including funds, stocks) mentioned herein. The information does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any person. Advice should be sought from a licensed financial adviser regarding the suitability of the investment product before making a commitment to purchase the investment product. Whilst we have taken all reasonable care to ensure that the information contained in this article is not untrue or misleading at the time of publication, we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Any opinion or estimate contained in this article is subject to change without notice. AAM advisory Pte Ltd is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, FA Licence no 100032.