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Taiwan's aging population brings opportunity

Elizabeth Diffin

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Customizing services helps differentiate advisor from online financial services
As the need for financial services — retirement planning in particular — becomes more pronounced. And in a country like Taiwan, where the aging index was a staggering 91.6 in 2015, those services are downright essential, said Peggy Tsai, a 16-year MDRT member from Taipei, Taiwan.

“Based on the current demographic structure, there’s an increasing need in the market of retirement and long-term care,” she said. “What the government can provide through social welfare is very limited, and people must raise their own awareness about being prepared, thus increasing business opportunities for the retirement market.”

Tsai, who has been part of the financial services profession since 1993, uses a comprehensive approach focused on the client and their unique needs. She believes this perspective is especially valuable in the face of the more impersonal financial technology that currently is popular in Taiwan and other parts of the world.

“Through cooperation and resource integration, I provide clients with a more customized service,” she said. “The only way for us to make ourselves stronger and pass this test is by enhancing our expertise and providing customized planning for our clients. We need to find the real value in human nature and help clients achieve their dreams.”

For Tsai, this means exceeding all expectations with clients, even those who are ambivalent about her services. For instance, one prospective client continually canceled meetings, always claiming she had more important things to do.

On the date of the sixth scheduled meeting, Tsai, loaded down with heavy bags, accidentally fell into a roadside construction site while rushing to catch a bus and injured her leg badly. Tsai still insisted upon keeping the appointment. When the prospective client noticed her injury, she questioned why she was there and not at the hospital.

Tsai’s response?

“Because I was scheduled to meet you. Once I say something, I set out to make sure it is done.” The woman not only agreed to the meeting, but she also bought insurance from Tsai. That same client was instrumental in introducing Tsai to other future clients as well.

“Sales is a matter of emotional interaction,” she said. “No matter what changes there are in the environment, we ourselves are the key. As long as we do our work well, then we will be able to stand strong in this industry and come out on top.”

No matter what changes there are in the environment, we ourselves are the key.

— Peggy Tsai
This desire to go above and beyond for the sake of clients and prospects is essential in Taiwan, where many individuals already have insurance. In addition, government regulation prevents citizens from investing too much in the financial services industry — and Tsai believes it also encourages a higher quality of advisors. Advisors must be able to distinguish themselves not just by what they sell, but also by how they sell it.

“Being able to meet customer expectations, to provide professional advice, the advisor must be able to immediately grasp changes in the market and really help meet the needs of customers,” Tsai said. “An advisor needs to have a great amount of passion and energy to care about people, letting clients trust their service.”

She recalls a time when a client’s adult son was diagnosed with mouth cancer, only to have his insurance claim rejected due to a technicality. Instead of giving up, she worked for four weeks to file the appropriate paperwork and, ultimately, the man’s claim was approved.

“The extra effort made during the process helped the client in their situation,” she said. “What gave me a great sense of accomplishment was establishing a friendship with the client.” That friendship also resulted in a strengthened business relationship and additional client referrals.

So despite Taiwan’s rapidly aging population, low birth rate and exodus of manpower due to the globalization of the country’s enterprises, Tsai isn’t worried. Because human nature stays the same, even in the face of economic changes and challenges.

“We believe that no matter how big the change in our environment is, as long as there are families, then there will be love. People will take action to protect their loved ones and also to live a safe and happy retirement lifestyle.”

Peggy Tsai

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