Sat, Aug 26, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Financial advice available at expo

GREAT DEAL The Wealth Management Exposition is a great opportunity for individuals to get answers to their financial questions, and admission is just NT$100

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Worried about inflation? Concerned about low interest rates? Then perhaps you should attend the wealth management exposition at the Taipei World Trade Center's Exhibition Hall I, which runs through Monday.

The four-day expo, which began yesterday, features over 90 companies and associations, including financial holding firms, banks, insurers and financial publishers -- all of whom are available to help you with your finances and provide on-site consultation.

The exhibition also features a chain and franchise section for budding entrepreneurs to obtain first-hand information about the businesses they are interested in.

Over 60 seminars will be held with financial experts sharing tips on subjects such as how to make your first million, stock market trends and retirement planning.

Michael Chang (張兆順), chairman of First Financial Holding Co (第一金控), likened finance management to running a marathon, saying that it was "endurance, rather than explosive force, that holds the key to success."

He said that because many investors were restless and frequently changed their investment targets, they missed out on the considerable returns offered by a long-term investment cycle.

Jessie Chiu (邱可君), manager of marketing and communications at JF Asset Management, recommends regular savings plans (RSP) for beginners, who only need to invest a minimum of NT$3,000 each month for longer periods.

"The investment tools Taiwanese prefer are quite limited on stocks and funds. We hope to publicize and promote RSP investments at the exposition," she said.

Chiu said that investing in RSPs over a long-term period helped to reduce investment costs and risks, while providing stable returns.

Citing the example of global stock funds, she said returns over a six-year period could reach as high as 80 percent.

However, many people are confused by the flood of financial information offered by banking institutions and TV programs, with numerous self-styled "gurus" giving classes on wealth management.

"About 40 to 50 percent of the public have little knowledge about how to manage their money even though they know it's important," said Jack Tsai (蔡宏祥), public relations chief of Cathay Life Insurance (國泰人壽).

With the introduction of such diversified investment tools as real estate investment trusts, investors need professional assistance to make the most of their savings, he said.

In the wake of the credit crunch caused by cash-advance and credit card abuse, banking institutions are focusing on personal finance management as a means of growing their business.

A bank official speaking on condition of anonymity said that Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行) hopes to grow its personal finance management business, gauged by service fees and commissions, from the current 8 percent of the bank's total revenues to 13 percent by next year.

"Even if you don't earn a lot, you should still try to save a couple of thousand dollars each month," she said.

The expo, which is open from 10am to 6pm, charges an entrance fee of NT$100, although students are admitted for free.

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