Ex-AIA broker eyes wealth management
After being an AIA insurance broker for 36 years, Numthong Group acknowledges that it must become a wealth-management planner in response to the needs of younger people and the furious competition in the financial sector.
Group president Patchara Vangvongvit said the financial requirements of customers, especially of younger generations, in the past few years had opened the door for the wealth-management business.
The upcoming Asean Economic Community will bring more competitors into the financial sector, including the insurance industry, and they are expected to develop comprehensive products and services in response to the continued growth in the personal-financial-planning industry, she said.
Insurance brokers must quickly adapt in terms of mindset and approach. She added that being customer-centric was the priority for Numthong Group, rather than simply concentrating on selling insurance products as before.
AIA, a major insurance group based in Hong Kong, is happy with this transition by Numthong Group as well, she said.
First-year premiums from Numthong Group are a major contributor to AIA. Last year, the group had first-year premiums of Bt1.2 billion and total premiums of more than Bt10 billion. The persistency rate is higher than 90 per cent.
The group has developed its own financial advisory service, which complies with international standards as a certified financial planner (CFP) and fellow chartered financial practitioner (FChFP).
"Before providing wealth-management services to policyholders, our staff must know the process of being financial advisers," she said.
Numthong financial advisers will help customers with financial planning including creation, protection, accumulation and distribution of wealth.
However, Patchara acknowledged that the group might need more time to be able to offer full wealth planning because its agents are 30-50 years old will need to adapt.
She said Numthong was unlike other houses as it would provide wealth-management services to all customer segments free of charge, as wealth management is a basic need of all people and not just the rich.
The priority of Numthong financial planners is to help customers handle risks and meet basic needs before suggesting investments, unlike other wealth-management providers that are always talking about how to help customers enjoy high returns from their investments.
To Numthong, yield is not as important as handling financial risks. The group will suggest investment instruments apart from AIA's programmes to customers who want to invest in non-insurance products.
"We will design the financial portfolio for each customer and review the portfolio every year. What we are doing will result not only in growth of premium income but also the persistency of policyholders," Patchara said.
She added that the group hoped its wealth-management services would help boost the growth of first-year premiums this year to 30 per cent.
Numthong last year enjoyed first-year commissions of Bt1.5 billion.