On April 11, we were honoured to have Erin Chen, CFA, CAIA, Associate Investment Counsellor at RBC PH&N Investment Counsel as our DSS speaker. Erin specializes in constructing and managing customized discretionary investment portfolios for high net worth investors, corporations, trusts and charitable foundations.
Erin originally came from Taiwan and was a first-generation immigrant. Erin started the speech with her diverse backgrounds in mid and back office.While she was a custodian of funds reporting and accounting at State Street, she learned how to work under pressure, prioritize tasks and better serve clients. At the same time, she managed to complete all three levels of CFA exams. She was then offered a role in managing and forecasting cost at BMO. However, she realized that she was not passionate about her role. Then she started networking and trying to break into investment counselling where she could utilize her analytical and communication skills. Unfortunately, interviews came as expected but offers did not. Erin remained open-minded and worked as a business analysis consultant at Scotiabank where she further polished her problem-solving and communication skills. Despite of the success in the consultant position, Erin never gave up on entering investment counselling industry. She proactively contacted hiring managers and explained why she was a perfect fit. With all her efforts and strong skills, she finally got the chance to work in the wealth management industry.
There are three types of multi-millionaires – executives, entrepreneurs and savers. Executives have strong relationship management skills and they continuously improve their skills. Entrepreneurs are risk-takers and have strong wills. Savers are disciplined and focus on their needs. Although they have different traits, they are all result-driven and cherish their time. This is when we can utilize our expertise and add more value on top of their wealth.Erin ended the speech with a Warren Buffett’s quote “someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”.The last part of the event is the Q&A session. Erin’s experiences and insights really aroused audience’s interests. The audience were curious if wealth management will be replaced by robot analytics? Erin accepts that artificial intelligence has impacted the industry significantly. However, she does not believe wealth management will be replaced. Because wealth management is not a cookie-cutter solution. The investment counsel works as team to customize and personalize their strategies based on clients’ needs. AI is not able to offer highly customized strategies as investment counsel team by far.What if there is a conflict between clients’ opinion and the counsellor advice? Erin says she would always provide enough reasoning, claims and disclosure her clients and make sure clients fully understand the value the advice. If a client insists to invest in his or her own way, Erin would request the client to have a separate account and note that the investment is based on the client’s own discretion.
Considering the nature of the job, investment counsellor will have plenty of interaction with clients. Thus, do investment counsellors need a certain type of personality? Erin believes comparing to a certain type of personality, it’s more important to understand clients needs. Most counsellors are more active to listen rather than speak.
Audience were also impressed by Erin’s presentation skills and they were wondering how Erin improves her language skills as an ESL. Erin suggested that it is quite helpful to go to public speaking events such as New Horizon Voices Toastmasters. Another tip is that enthusiasm is as important as presentation content.
Erin was also asked to share some experiences about “managing up”. Erin says she would proactively update her progress with her manager. It is also essential to find yourself a long-term relationship mentor that you can talk to when you are in dilemma.
The Distinguished Speaker Session provided the audience with a valuable opportunity to communicate with experienced professional in financial industry. We hope everyone has learnt something from Erin’s experience. We sincerely appreciate Erin’s time and look forward to our next speaker event.
The successful event was hammered by the efforts from our volunteers. Great thanks to all the volunteers who have contributed to this event.
We would also appreciate the author of this review Molly Li. Molly Li is currently working as a consultant and project manager at First Derivatives. Before that, she worked with a Regulatory Initiatives group and a project team to automate regulatory reporting and provide optimized workflows solutions at Scotiabank. Molly has a bachelor’s degree with major in Mathematics from University of British Columbia and a Master of Economics from University of Toronto.