Leading by Example - Manmohan AB
Can you share with us your background? Why did you choose the insurance profession as a career?
I joined the industry in 1985; I was introduced by a fellow agent. I did not have any inkling as to what this career was all about. The insurance industry was still at its infant stage then. But I decided to pursue it seriously after getting to know more about the industry.
People have the wrong concept of insurance and they need to be constantly reminded that insurance is not about making you rich but it is to make sure that your family is not left in a poor state when you are no longer around. I decided to pursue this cause seriously and that prompted me to go deeper and take up professional qualifications. I went on to obtain the ChFC and CLU qualifications from the American College and later, the RFP Shariah qualifications. I also pursued the CIAM, which is the highest professional qualification for an agency manager.
How has the industry changed since you first joined the workforce?
Today, the insurance profession has developed to be a professional one as the regulators has made it so. The expectations and standards are higher as well. Exams have become compulsory and it takes at least five exams just to be a complete licensed advisor.
Congrats on being made Divisional Vice President at MDRT. What has contributed to this success? What do you hope to achieve next?
Being in the financial planning industry, you always have to be current as you need to give professional advice to your client. Qualifying for the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) was my turning point.
MDRT is the Premier Association of Financial Professionals. Only less than 2% of the world’s insurance and financial advisor who are qualified to be members of this association. This is where the world's best of the best financial advisors meet to exchange ideas and learn from each other.
There are nearly 90,000 Financial advisors in Malaysia and only 668 are members of this association. This speaks volumes about the standard set by this association. A financial advisor must produce a new yearly premium of RM469,400 (in 2016) to be eligible to apply for membership for 2017.
I am now the Divisional Vice President (DVP) for Division 1 for the 2015-2016 year. Division 1 consists of Canada, USA, Oceania, Europe, Caribbean, Latin America, Middle East and Africa. It's a one-year appointment. This position gives me a seat at the management council of MDRT, whose headquarters are in Chicago. In a nutshell, I lead a team of dedicated leaders in these countries who care and share with fellow members on continuous growth, and grow even more professional advisors so that this world will be a better place to live in.
What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your new role?
My greatest challenge is to work with professionals from all this countries who have different time zones, different demographics and yet speak the same language and that is Financial Planning.
What leadership qualities are important in managing a team? How can a leader successfully inspire a demotivated team or staff member?
I believe that a leader should lead and not manage, hence that is why they are called leaders. And it should be leadership by example. A leader have to be a role model to his team as he is a beacon to those who look up to him.
Having said that, a leader should also understand clearly that “emotion controls decision”. If he can bring positivity to the table and make his charges feel important, he can then inspire a demotivated team or staff member.
What are some effective practices an insurance agent can follow to make the most of his or her day?
For an insurance agent, commitment and discipline are all he needs to be successful. If he or she has these qualities, then this person will stay focus and do what he or she is supposed to do to be right up there among the stars.
Would you mind sharing some tips to the young agents who are keen to climb the corporate ladder?
My advice to them will be to get their commitment and disciplines to themselves in order. You should always strive to deliver more than you are expected to deliver. Also it pays to always stay current; there is no end to education so keep studying and bring with you your creative ideas and knowledge. The world is your oyster, just don't give up. Choices have consequences.
The world is your oyster, just don't give up. Choices have consequences. LESS THAN 2% OF THE WORLD’S INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL ADVISOR WHO ARE QUALIFIED TO BE MEMBERS OF MDRT
THERE ARE NEARLY 90,000 FINANCIAL ADVISORS IN MALAYSIA AND ONLY 668 ARE MEMBERS OF THIS ASSOCIATION