News & Views

19 November 2018 | Consumer Banking

OCBC Bank is first in Singapore to institute an annual review process for financial life goals

The review addresses a long-standing gap in financial planning today that results in many consumers not being able to reach their long-term financial goals because of missed opportunities

Singapore, 19 November 2018 – Just as most Singaporeans know the importance of an annual medical health screening to detect ailments and ensure their health checks out, OCBC Bank is making financial portfolio reviews an annual affair amongst its customers to ensure their financial life goals stay on track.

This is the first time a bank in Singapore has rolled out such an annual review process. For a start, OCBC Bank will offer it at no cost to all customers who use the OCBC Life Goals financial advisory tool to plan for their life goals – including retirement and children’s education – and to understand the financial gaps they face in meeting these goals. About 8,000 customers have done this since OCBC Life Goals was launched in November 2017.

This month, an SMS review alert will be sent to about 800 customers who had gone through a financial planning session in November 2017 using OCBC Life Goals with a frontline employee – a Personal Financial Consultant or relationship manager.

OCBC Bank’s SMS review alerts will be sent one year after the financial plans are drawn up. The alert are expected to be welcomed by customers who are too busy to review their financial portfolios on a regular basis, and who do not receive such a service that is only offered to customers with assets under management of $1M or more.

Of the 8,000 customers who have mapped out their financial goals with a frontline employee using the OCBC Life Goals programme, more than 50 per cent are personal banking customers with assets under management of below SGD$200,000. This indicates a demand for longer-term financial planning conversations beyond one-off product purchases.

OCBC Life Goals on digital

Since 1 November 2018, OCBC Bank has offered the OCBC Life Goals digital financial advisory tool to all customers via OCBC Bank’s Internet Banking platform, catering to those who prefer a more independent and self-service channel to plan their financial goals. The OCBC Life Goals digital advisory tool now makes it possible for customers to experience the entire financial planning journey digitally – from planning a goal, understanding and visualising their financial wealth gap, purchasing suitable financial products to close the gap, and finally, to tracking their progress – whether with a frontline employee in a branch, or via Internet Banking at their own time and convenience.

After taking into account their current financial status and income sources, this digital tool enables customers to set goals and understand the amounts required to attain them, such as having sufficient funds for retirement or having enough to finance their children’s tertiary education. Customers respond to a series of questions to capture information about their financial goals, income information, existing and projected sources of wealth. This helps to determine the financial gap that they may have in achieving their goals, such as retiring comfortably or planning for their child’s tertiary education.

The digital financial advisory tool then recommends to customers a portfolio of investments consisting of an allocation of unit trusts and bancassurance products based on their risk appetite, to help close up the financial gap and reach their financial goals.

Customers can choose to purchase unit trust products immediately online or make an appointment with the bank. Bancassurance products that include endowment, term and life insurance plans can be purchased only after a Financial Needs Analysis is done with a frontline employee.

Mr Dennis Tan, OCBC Bank’s Head of Consumer Financial Services Singapore, said: “An oft-cited pain point of customers is the disruption they face in their financial planning journey when the frontline employee moves on to another role or leaves the bank. They are unable to continue their financial conversations with a new frontline employee and interactions become merely transactional. The OCBC Life Goals programme has addressed this pain point. Like doctors in clinics, our frontline employees need only pull up the customer’s financial planning history to understand their circumstances better and can then spend the session more productively gathering new information to find appropriate solutions.

“In addition, by launching the OCBC Life Goals programme online, customers now have a seamless way of interacting with us as their financial goals’ information is captured and stored centrally. For customers who start planning online, their information can be pulled up by any frontline employee to continue the conversation if they decide to go to any of our branches and Premier Centres. There is now continuity, convenience and customisation for all customers who plan their life goals with us.”

OCBC Bank customer Davis Fan, 42, said: “My interactions with financial institutions have usually been about what products to buy, but no one subsequently follows up to alert me on how my investments are doing. Using OCBC Life Goals, I have a better understanding of my needs for retirement and the kind of products that could help me meet my retirement goals. It’s also easy to use. Now I’m looking forward to my first annual portfolio review with OCBC to see how much closer I am to my dream retirement.”

Non-OCBC customers can also use the digital financial advisory tool that is available on the ocbc.com website. The purchase of investment products will have to be made at the branch.

Social media assets

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Financial portfolio reviews are not just for the well-heeled. OCBC Bank is making financial portfolio reviews an annual affair amongst all its customers who plan their financial goals through OCBC Life Goals to ensure that their financial life goals stay on track.

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OCBC Bank promises an annual financial ‘health check’ to all customers who use OCBC Life Goals to plan their retirement

For media queries, please contact:

Bernadette Yuen
corpcomms@ocbc.com