Hunt on for Singapore's best financial planners

Mr Joseph Kwok (left), president of the Financial Planning Association of Singapore (FPAS), which is organising the FPAS Financial Planner Awards 2018. One of the judges is Ms Rachie Hui (right), deputy CEO of The Institute of Banking and Finance.
Mr Joseph Kwok (left), president of the Financial Planning Association of Singapore (FPAS), which is organising the FPAS Financial Planner Awards 2018. One of the judges is Ms Rachie Hui (right), deputy CEO of The Institute of Banking and Finance.PHOTOS: FINANCIAL PLANNING ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE, THE INSTITUTE OF BANKING AND FINANCE

The hunt is on for Singapore's best financial planners from the banking, insurance and independent advisory sectors.

The search is all part of the FPAS Financial Planner Awards 2018, believed to be the first industry-wide competition of this kind held here.

Nominations close on Dec 15, with the winners to be announced at a ceremony on April 20 next year at Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel.

"The aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2008 has raised consumers' expectations of financial advisers, as they look to the advisers to help them attain their financial goals," said Mr Joseph Kwok, president of the Financial Planning Association of Singapore (FPAS), which is organising the event.

"FPAS aims to raise the professionalism of the industry through the awards, to recognise outstanding financial advisers who demonstrate excellent skills and uphold best practices."

One of the judges, Ms Rachie Hui, deputy chief executive of The Institute of Banking and Finance, said that while there is a huge range of investment products and alternative platforms to choose from, there is a human side that differentiates financial advisory.

"Financial advisers are in a unique position to help their clients think through their ambitions alongside their values, lifestyle preferences and financial constraints," she noted.

"A good financial plan should demonstrate the adviser's critical thinking and abilities to address clients' existing concerns and pre-empt potential future problems, such as liquidity and risk/return."

Ms Hui hopes the awards will draw attention to the craft of financial planning.

Participants will be required to submit a written financial plan and undergo an oral presentation. They will be assessed according to how they analyse a client's financial situation, their recommendations, risk analysis, suitability of advice, and understanding of the client's goals and objectives.

Besides individual prizes, there is an award category for the company with the most nominees. The panel of 10 judges comprises experts from the finance industry and regulatory bodies, and practitioners.

They include Mr Steven Seow, head of wealth management, Asia, at Mercer Investment Solutions; Phillip Securities managing director Luke Lim; Tokio Marine Life chief executive James Tan; Mr V. Maheantharan, director at the Institute of Financial Literacy; and Sunday Times invest editor Lorna Tan.

The FPAS was set up in December 1998 to ensure that all Singaporeans have access to responsible and appropriate financial planning advice, by raising the professional standards of the industry through education and a shared code of ethics.

For more details of the awards, visit www.fpa.sg or e-mail samantha@fpas.org.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 26, 2017, with the headline 'Hunt on for Singapore's best financial planners'. Print Edition | Subscribe