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The trust continuum

Andrew Attan
Andrew Attan6/19/2020 07:00 AM GMT+08  • 5 min read
The trust continuum
I jostle for the right spot at home (#WFH). It is a challenge when both working parents are on separate conference calls while the eldest child is zooming with his piano teacher and the youngest is whining for attention.
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(June 19): I jostle for the right spot at home (#WFH). It is a challenge when both working parents are on separate conference calls while the eldest child is zooming with his piano teacher and the youngest is whining for attention.

Once, during a call, I heard the sound of a toilet flush. On another occasion, a mother’s lullaby. While the lullaby was definitely more soothing, it was nonetheless distracting. Being the typical tech-savvy, gadget-yearning dude, I told my wife that I had to get a pair of wireless earbuds with active noise cancelling. And she bought it! Well, to be completely accurate, she bought the excuse.

I googled “best wireless earbuds for conference call”, trusted the review of a well-known website, and spent my money. Admittedly, I was drawn to the review’s “best earbuds below $50” and “AI technology”.

The pair of earbuds was delivered earlier than our groceries but they turned out as sour as the mangoes we ordered. I wondered why I had trusted that website’s review and I was soon researching about the concept of “trust”.

People buy from people/brands they trust. As human beings, we tend to trust people we like. And we like people we can connect with! The deeper the connection (“I get you and you get me”) the deeper the trust ultimately.

This is not just relevant to people in the sales profession. If you have an idea, product, service, skill, talent, or opportunity that can benefit others, then you also need to be able to “sell”.

Personal trust continuum

The trust continuum described leads to personal trust. The characteristics of connection are simple, but not easy. Would you connect with someone who is humble, authentic, has integrity and shows the right amount of vulnerability? I would.

Being humble is about accepting praises graciously and giving others an opportunity to shine. One who is humble will likely put his “power” into good use and is not obsessed on holding onto it.

Brené Brown said that “authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are”. Authentic people are confident of their opinions and are not afraid of sharing them. They listen, acknowledge when they are wrong, and are not judgmental.

One of my corporate codes states that “We uphold integrity in our conduct. Honesty is telling the truth; Integrity is fulfilling the truth.” Integrity is a state of mind — it is about doing the right thing and does not vary according to situations.

Vulnerability is tricky. Vulnerability is not about showing weakness only. Vulnerability is acknowledging the hard truth and willing to do something even when there are no guarantees.

Professional trust continuum

The second continuum leads to professional trust. There is an anecdote among salespeople that building high personal trust but low professional trust leads to friendship but no sales.

The route to professional trust is through credibility. The characteristics of credibility are simple; knowledge, skill, and reliability. They do require constant sharpening though (#lifelonglearning).

Knowledge and skills add to competence. My sons regularly visit a dentist who is still schooling — she is developing her skills by putting into practice the knowledge she has acquired from school.

Reliability is baking knowledge and skills into actionable and repeatable loops. You are reliable when someone can count on you to deliver on your knowledge and your skills to ultimately provide an appropriate solution. We recently helped a client fund his Variable Universal Life through a married deal in an Asian foreign market after going through the trouble of reaching out to various partners — broker, private bank, insurance company and our Hong Kong office. In our effort to provide the best service, we gained recognition as a reliable partner. Where we failed in the past, we lost business.

Investment trust continuum

Client segmentation is important for both producers and consumers. When done properly, consumers benefit from the right level of attention at the right price level. At PhillipCapital, we adopt the investment trust continuum to assess the investor’s trust level, thereby providing different solutions for the varied needs of each investor.

Investors have different levels of trust when it comes to managing their investments. Investors start off with the basic level of trust where they adopt the DIY approach and spend time to research then invest. At the next trust level, they are prepared to heed professional advice but have the final say. As they develop the highest level of trust, they allow the right partner to manage some of their investments on a discretionary basis; investment decisions are made and executed by a trusted licensed person according to an agreed investment mandate.

At each investment trust level, we provide different platforms and solutions. Our POEMS platform is designed for the DIY investors while our FAME platform is meant to facilitate the advisory process. And for investors looking for discretionary mandates, we offer five core services to meet different needs.

As an investor, you can access those solutions while keeping your own trusted financial adviser — we work with many. As a financial adviser, you can offer your unit trust advisory services at no platform fee and expand beyond unit trusts. As a broker, you can access our more than 40,000 financial products. As external asset manager, you can benefit from our custody services and be part of our ecosystem.

Andrew Attan is head of corporate development (wealth management) at Phillip Securities. He holds a Bachelor of Business degree from NTU Singapore and a Masters of Technology from NUS ISS.

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