Tougher regulation, industry-wide competition, rising consumer awareness and changing consumer demographics keep an industry in flux. For the financial solutions customer, what promise does this year hold? ARNOLD YEUNG, Chairman of AMG speaks.
This year marks 20 years of what began as a sojourn into service for one of Hong Kong’s sons of the soil. Arnold Yeung, Chairman of AMG began his journey from a small office in Sheung Wan – then a little-known name in the colossal world of finance. Today, AMG is probably the biggest independent financial services solutions provider in Hong Kong.
It is an achievement beyond admiration because Hong Kong is a small, demanding market with very long memory. Customers here are fairly still rooted in the traditional Chinese ways centered around referrals something that’s worked well for an entrepreneur content to climb on merit.
“To offer solutions you need the passion to help your fellow human being. You have to think as if you were the customer! You have to treat your customer as you would like to be treated!” – Arnold Yeung
In Whose Best Interest!
“I’ve been asked that question before,” retorts Arnold Yeung. “You want to know if the products we offer are what the clients needs most. The answer is really quite simple. In our view, the customer has always been and will always remain, the real boss of AMG. It is the customer who has made us, it is the customer for whom we exist and it is the customer who will assure us our future. The market always outlives the industry. Secondly, we never present only one solution but at least a few options that best suit the customer’s financial needs. We encourage customers to do their own due diligence as well. It is this approach and care to the clients that’s made us the most preferred IFA and insurance broker in Hong Kong.”
News & Trends
Previous industry misbehavior by some firms has attracted much regulation. While it is a step forward in industry-discipline and customer protection, it makes it harder for an increasingly competitive industry to thrive in a cost-heavy market.
On 26 June 2017, the new Insurance Authority formally took over from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance as the industry’s regulatory body.
The transition marks the blossoming to life of a seed planted back in 2010 when the first consultation paper on the subject was circulated, citing the need to modernise Hong Kong’s insurance regulatory regime.
The empowerment of the new Insurance Authority marks the end of a very long road. For the insurance industry, however, this is merely the end of the beginning. Insurers and insurance intermediaries operating in Hong Kong now face the challenge of implementing the changes needed to align their governance, practices and processes with the new requirements in the legislation.
“The new Insurance Ordinance and the new Insurance Authority mean the beginning of a period of greater regulatory change for the insurance industry at a time when it is going through change itself through the general embracement of technology,” Yeung notes.
“Legal practitioners have a key role to play in advising industry participants in this changing environment. Those market participants pro-active in addressing the necessary changes are the ones who will best adapt, survive and thrive,” he adds.
“Over-regulation may impact the consumer negatively and rising costs to regulate may well find the consumer picking up the bill, eventually. A balance will need to be reached for intended growth, so crucial for Hong Kong, will be harder to achieve,” stresses Yeung.
To Automate or Not?
Insurance companies have long since claimed it takes a human to understand a human. Now, this same lot are now preaching the ‘amazing’ uses of buying a tailor-made insurance product from a Robot called Penny or Jenny, Tom, Dick or Harry!
“Like most personnel-intensive industries, the insurance sector is also facing a growing talent crunch,” says Yeung.
“Some service providers are experimenting with AI but my personal opinion is of course, it takes a human being to understand human being and explain the benefits of insurance. Insurance is about trust, relationships, understanding.”
“AMG is not for a speculator or the punter. We mean risk management 1st, steady growth with a pragmatic sense of ADVENTURE.” – Arnold Yeung
Yeung says: “Insurance is a financial service that fulfills a person’s need but that person may have more than one need. To explore those needs you need to go beyond the ‘sell-what-the-buyer-asks-for’ transaction. In fact, the word transaction here is a sign of disrespect to both, the buyer and the seller.”
“Not everyone can carry out the work of promoting insurance. To offer solutions you need the passion to help your fellow human being. You have to think as you were the customer! You have to treat your customer as you would like to be treated!
Yeung says, “at AMG we take a very close look at the kind of person we employ and customer dissatisfaction even its rarely occurs.”
“As service providers we need to have an open window to customer’s needs but who is going to let you look into their private lives if they don’t trust you? Once you gain a person’s trust, they confide in you, share their needs with you and that’s where you are presented with more opportunity than you could imagine. We are still a very ‘loyalty-conscious’ market and just like we have family doctors and lawyers and bankers we also prefer one financial adviser to handle all our family’s needs. This should be the goal of every insurance or financial adviser – to become a trusted ‘go-to’ source for all the family member’s needs. To be a solutions provider and a friend at all times – good or bad. That’s when you get referral business that you can build on.”
The Future is Now!
According to Yeung, from all setbacks come great opportunity. A industry veteran Yeung has been through financial tsunamis, political uncertainty, market changes, consumer trends etc. but remains a student, always watching, always learning.
“At AMG we don’t just offer insurance to our retail and institutional clients. We cater to a wider range of financial needs than most people know. We are trusted because our approach is simple – we are only as good as our customers are successful. That’s our philosophy. We are glocal – local and global in sense we understand local sensibilities and global opportunities. It must be known though that AMG is not for a speculator or the punter. We mean risk management 1st, steady growth with a pragmatic sense of adventure. This is our strength, our motto, our goal,” concludes Yeung.
For additional information, please visit www.amgwealth.com
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