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Personal wealth growing rapidly in China

As country’s wealth segment expands, thirty-two more Chinese financial advisors embrace best practices in wealth management

TORONTO, April 4, 2011 - Thirty-three managers from Guangfa Securities, one of the major securities firms in China, will be awarded the Chartered Strategic Wealth Professional (CSWP) on April 4. This second group of China’s financial advisors will join twenty-five of their colleagues from the same firm, who graduated with the CSWP credential in December 2010.

The second graduation ceremony, hosted by Guangfa Securities, will take place in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. The Chartered Strategic Wealth Professional (CSWP) credential is provided by CSI Global Education (CSI), a Toronto-based premier global provider of financial education and compliance solutions.

"As China’s financial markets, fuelled by an exponential growth in the wealth segment, develop at a remarkably fast pace, there is also a growing demand for wealth management training and credentialing,” says Dr. Roberta Wilton, President and CEO, CSI Global Education. “Add to this the increasing sophistication of financial products, coupled with their inherent risks, and it’s clear why the Chartered Strategic Wealth Professional program is both relevant and timely in China."

One of world’s largest wealth management markets – soon to overtake Japan

The total value of Chinese households’ wealth is 16,500 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report, based on its mid-2010 data – next only to the United States and Japan, says a Guangfa Securities executive. He predicts that, in 2015, China will overtake Japan as the second largest wealth management market in the world.

According to China Daily, at the end of 2009, China had 670,000 households with more than $1 million in wealth, up 60 per cent from 2008. The country’s composite wealth grew by some 28 per cent – to $5.4 trillion – from the end of 2008 to the end of 2009.

China’s personal wealth market is characterized by extensive concentration, according to Guangfa. The country’s entrepreneurs, executives, professionals, professional investors and independent wealth groups control most high-net wealth, especially after the establishment of the medium and small enterprise market, with 70 per cent of the country’s personal wealth being owned by 0.4 per cent of the population.

Different? Or similar?

Traditionally, the Chinese are not used to delegating their financial decisions to others, and many of them may still feel uncomfortable sharing their financial needs with an advisor. Yet, more and more high-net-worth individuals in China are beginning to accept and enjoy the benefits of integrated wealth management solutions.

Developing this comfort level requires a long time, says a Guangfa executive, along with solid client service and persistent cultivation of the wealth management concept among wealthy and middle-class population.

Over the last five years, Guangfa has emerged as China’s first securities trader to establish and promote a wealth management centre, practicing wealth management concepts and best practices. The centre, enhancing the company’s knowledge base, operates through a professional team of experts representing different areas of expertise. To maintain its first-mover advantage, Guangfa needs to fully adapt its wealth management practices to the needs of the Chinese investors and make sure its wealth management centre is driving continuous innovation and business transformation.

While there are significant differences between China and Canada in terms of their wealth structure, financial awareness, regulatory systems and professional teams, the overall trend, according to a Guangfa executive, is increasing convergence.

Financial education without borders

As China’s financial services landscape is changing rapidly, a strategic approach to education and credentialing becomes an important competitive advantage for China’s securities firms and financial services professionals.

“Similar to their North American counterparts, China’s increasingly savvy wealthy investors are looking for a full solution package,” says Dr. Wilton. “That includes convenience, a close investor-advisor relationship, and a full product and service offer from organizations that are perceived as credible and understand the needs of these high-net-worth individuals.”

CSI’s Chinese partners, such as Guangfa Securities, benefit from the lessons Canada, with its strong reputation for a robust and stable financial services model, has learned through decades of both successes and mistakes. In Canada, proficiency standards for retail investment advisors have been in place for more than 50 years.

The Chartered Strategic Wealth Professional designation for the Chinese market

The “made in Canada” Chartered Strategic Wealth Professional (CSWP) designation, conferred on fifty-nine Guangfa professionals over the last four months, is customized specifically for the Chinese market. Designed to create and retain life-long relationships with high-net-worth individuals, the program is modified so that core theory is covered at a generic level and all important scenarios and case studies are tailored to the realities of the Chinese market.

CSI’s Chartered Strategic Wealth Professional (CSWP) designation trains financial professionals to provide these integrated wealth management solutions, preparing them to:

  • Create and implement an optimal life-long wealth management plan
  • Build and manage client relationships resulting in a successful partnership
  • Coordinate and monitor expert teams to provide fully integrated, well-rounded wealth management services

“The rapid growth of China’s economy is generating more monetary wealth,” says one of Guangfa’s CSWP graduates. “The application of professional wealth management techniques learned through this program may help people build monetary wealth in a sustainable long-term manner and also help them achieve peace of mind when they possess wealth.”

The introduction of the CSWP designation in China was part of CSI’s 10-year partnership with a number of Chinese colleagues from a cross-section of financial services organizations.

The professionalization of the advisor role

“The transfer of successful financial education models and best practices across international borders is critical to developing a global framework of professional standards, to achieve a consistently high quality of financial services across country markets,” says Emilio Sánchez, Senior Vice President, International & Corporate Development, CSI. “Designations like CSWP ensure that investors are served by well-informed advisors, committed to providing relevant, ethical client counsel. The professionalization of the advisor role fosters the integrity of the capital markets – in China, in Canada and elsewhere.”

About CSI
CSI offers over 170 courses and credentials ranging from the well-known Canadian Securities Course (CSC®) to the Personal Financial Planner (PFP)® and Chartered Strategic Wealth Professional (CSWP)™ designations. Valued for its expertise in Canada, CSI also partners with organizations worldwide to provide financial services consulting and training. In November 2010, CSI Global Education was acquired by Moody’s Corporation and operates under the CSI Global Education name as a business unit within the Moody's Analytics division. For more information, please visit www.csi.ca.

Magda Jarota
CSI Global Education
416-681-2158
magdaj@csi.ca

Kirsten Walkom
Maverick Public Relations Inc.
416-640-5525, ext. 237
kirstenw@maverickpr.com