HER first job as a beautician in a beauty salon also saw Ms Ivy Tan taking part in road shows to promote beauty products and services. That boosted her confidence and improved her interpersonal skills which would prove useful for her foray into the finance industry.

The associate director at Financial Alliance, an Independent Financial Advisory (IFA) firm, and a life member of the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table has been in the finance industry for more than 20 years.

Ms Tan, who at that time had just the O-Level certificate, left her beautician job after a few years to become a business owner, where she enjoyed both the joys and pains of running her own business.

“All these experiences helped me develop an entrepreneurial mindset, which is essential for my current position,” she says.

“To be successful in the finance industry, one must have an entrepreneurial mindset.  That means adopting the mindset of the business owner: have a positive attitude, integrity and a determination to succeed.”

Ms Tan’s foray into the finance industry began when her husband, an insurance manager, recruited her.

“The nature of the business ignited my passion to help others plan their finances to realise their dreams, thus making significant differences to my life and the lives of others,” says Ms Tan of her job as an executive agent.

“In the insurance industry, it is no doubt tough but it is a win-win business. I am able to achieve a very high level of self-satisfaction, knowing that the financial solutions I help my clients to implement will not only benefit them but also their family.

“By building my foundation right, I will have a decent renewal income which allows me to effectively manage my time between family and career.”

On the job, Ms Tan upgraded herself by obtaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Preston University and earning the Associate Financial Consultant designation by Financial Perspectives, an accredited training provider.

Ms Tan left the insurance company to join Financial Alliance — an independent financial advisory firm — which offers a wider range of solutions with its multiple service providers.

“On the IFA platform, I can offer my clients one-stop financial planning services, and I am able to give them unbiased recommendations that are based on how their needs will be met by the most fitting solution instead of modifying their needs to fit the financial product,” explains Ms Tan.

“I am happy to say that my clients and their beneficiaries have benefited from peace of mind offered by these plans.”

In her current role, Ms Tan meets up with her clients to discuss their financial goals and how these can be achieved through proper financial planning and regular monitoring.

She is also in charge of a team of financial consultants, and recruiting and mentoring are important aspects of her work.

“It is important to coach and meet my consultants individually and guide them to see them succeed in their career,” says Ms Tan, adding that she is a role model for her team.

Financial Alliance holds monthly wealth management forums to share with its staff investment strategies for their clients. It also provides the Financial Consultant Program, which equips its consultants with hands-on skills and knowledge to help them kick start their work.

As soft skills are important in this line of business, the company’s skills and development programme teaches consultants how to go about handling rejections, approaching clients and making presentations. Insurance and investment clinics are also organised to equip them with domain knowledge.

Financial Alliance advocates three ‘Pro’s for its staff- Proactive, Productive and Professional.

For aspiring financial advisers, Ms Tan says: “If you want to make it, you must know exactly what you want and how to get there. The ‘how’ part is the hard part as it is often filled with distractions and self-doubts, so you must learn to condition yourself to forge ahead with determination.

“Work hard and stay in the game. Perseverance and hard work ensures success.”