Eight years ago, Ms Ellain Tan decided to switch from working in a foreign bank to join Phillip Securities and has never looked back.
The strong pull factors included the flexibility of the job as well as the multi-product platforms that the company offers.
“I am my own boss, setting my own challenges and targets,” says the licensed trading representative and financial adviser.“I enjoy the flexibility to devise my own business model, including my own marketing plan, and structuring my business according to my value system.”
Phillip Securities has a long history in Singapore. It got its name from Phillip Street where it was first set up in 1975. It is the stockbroking arm of the PhillipCapital group which offers a full range of quality and innovative financial services to retail, corporate and institutional customers.
With the solid backing of an accredited firm which employs 2,800 people in Asia and Europe and has total shareholders’ funds in excess of US$1 billion (S$1.32 billion), behind her, Ms Tan, 39, provides a complete financial solution to her clients, ranging from basic insurance to capital preservation products like unit trust funds, managed accounts, corporate finance services, and stocks related products and services.
“You can be a remisier, a financial adviser, futures registered representative, or any combination of the three or all three,” says Ms Tan, who holds a Master in Applied Finance from Macquarie University and a Bachelor of Business in Business Administration from Australia’s RMIT.
To excel in the industry, it is important to be trustworthy, analytical and hard-working. One important factor is to “listen to what clients need and be willing to help and make a difference — a difference in the clients’ life and their future,” says Ms Tan.
Her strong dedication stems from a deep sense of gratitude to her customers. “I have been fortunate that my clients have supported me through the market’s ups and downs so I feel an obligation to provide them with the best possible service,” she says.
Given the volatility of the market, she has to be quick on her feet to safeguard her clients’ interests. “I need to be vigilant of capital appreciation and preservation. With today’s markets being globally linked, I need to be aware of spillover effects from other markets on top of the development of the local market.”
She recalls a particular incident years ago whereby she negotiated with the warrant issuers for a better price for her client who suffered a hefty contra loss due to an overnight fall in warrant prices.
“I helped my client dodge a bullet. It serves as a valuable lesson on the importance in monitoring clients’ positions and managing risk.”
Her typical workday starts as early as 7.15am when she sieves through the news and announcements by the Singapore Stock Exchange, and answers urgent e-mails.
Then, she reviews account management reports which she uses to remind clients who may have overlooked their purchase due dates or guide those who oversold to borrow shares.
Placing and confirming clients’ trades take up the bulk of her time.
While keeping a watchful eye on stock movements, she sends research reports to update clients on market news, as an added service.
At the end of the trading day, she sometimes meets clients to guide them on the use of her company’s stocks trading platforms.
Upon request, she also puts on her financial adviser’s hat to review a client’s financial health.
Her workplace is a friendly one — her colleagues share information while departments like credit, marketing, business development, technical support and operation, provide good support.
Despite being a qualified certified financial planner and chartered financial analyst, her learning never stops.
“I take every opportunity to improve my knowledge in terms of product, market, and strategies to better execute my duty to my clients,” she says.
It helps that the company has a strong learning culture. Seminars on product knowledge are held regularly as well as e-learning and mentoring for new hires.
“As long as you are mindful of the risks in this profession, learn to manage them, you too can realise your potential and be your own boss.”