As a young man serving his national service, Ryan Tan Shun Yu was trying to earn a little extra pocket money by investing in the foreign exchange market on his iPhone. The 25-year-old has since taken his interest and talent further and is now a senior personal banker with United Overseas Bank (UOB).
Business manager Lin Lizi, 34, who manages a team of personal bankers, earned her diploma in Mass Communications from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Now, she trains a team of personal bankers in driving UOB’s sales goals.
As the two from diverse backgrounds have merged onto a common path at UOB, they continue to press on towards their ambitions.
Share with us your motivations for joining UOB, Ryan.
Ryan: I’ve always had an interest in investments and growing my money. Since I studied business, my intention was to join the banking sector. I wanted to learn more about investments, and to help others manage their funds better to prepare for a more secure retirement. UOB felt like the right place for me.
Give us a quick rundown of your day-to-day duties, Lizi.
Lizi: I will conduct a morning huddle with my team of personal bankers to share investment updates and the latest news in the market, the bank’s latest promotions and ongoing campaigns. As business managers, we closely track the take up rate and overall success of the ongoing campaigns through feedback from the staff on the ground. We also have weekly meet ups with our group sales manager for a business review. In addition, we have monthly business reviews with the entire cluster, which consists of all the business managers from our group, as well as the personal bankers.
That sounds exciting. What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Lizi: The most rewarding part about my job is seeing success duplicated in my team. Given my experience in personal banking for eight years, I would impart my knowledge and skills to personal bankers. The greatest reward is being part of their growth and development.
What qualifications would be most relevant to a career at UOB?
Lizi: UOB accepts all local polytechnic diplomas. Apart from what we have studied in school, the main thing to have is the right attitude, which is the willingness to learn and master new skills. You must also have a strong reason as to why you are applying for the role in the first place. Apart from these, trainings will be provided for investments and technical knowledge to bridge any knowledge gaps.
Ryan Tan Shun Yu
Senior Personal Banker
Share with us some of these trainings and initiatives that UOB has undertaken to enhance its employees’ professional skills and support their career progression.
Ryan: On a regular basis, there are investment updates to ensure we are kept up-to-date with relevant market news. Training sessions are also frequently conducted for both insurance and investments. Supervisors also provide clear guidelines and tips based on our work so that personal bankers can constantly improve. UOB is fair and ensures that everyone has an equal chance to succeed, based on meritocracy and our track records.
What was one particularly memorable episode you have had during your career?
Ryan: I joined UOB as a personal banking associate (PBA). At that time, one of my sources of business was roadshows. During an insurance roadshow at UOB Serangoon Central, I was feeling rather dejected as I was facing a couple of trade cancellations and only closed one sale thus far. My associate business manager encouraged me and shared with me that rejections are part of the job and that I must remain emotionally and mentally tough in order to be successful in this line. That pep talk gave me an instant boost and I got my head back in the game. That was when I managed to get a client interested in UOB’s One account and insurance plan. She became my second client for that day. I believed she was moved by my sincerity and effort. I was highly encouraged that hard work paid off. Until this day, I still keep in touch with this client.
What other skills and qualities would you say are vital to succeed as personal bankers?
Ryan: Dedication and a never-give-up attitude are important. No matter how many times we hit a brick wall, we have to dust ourselves off and keep going. ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ - this phrase is very applicable to us. Be attentive towards your customers’ needs and build a strong relationship with them. Be willing to put in the extra hours to source for new clients and revisit existing clients.
On that note Lizi, what advice do you have for polytechnic graduates looking to join UOB?
Lizi: Do not be afraid if your diploma is not relevant because that is not what UOB is looking for. Ultimately, like what Ryan has mentioned, it is all about having the right attitude, being tenacious and enjoying building relationships with others. Before you join, ask yourself if you are willing to work hard and persevere in the face of difficulties. As we provide financial planning services to customers, we learn to identify their needs and recommend financial products aligned with their investment objectives. Through this, we gain insights into our financial needs and management as well. If you have a teachable mentality and drive to learn, this would definitely be the right place for you.