Mr. Zhu WeiMin’s Presentation Translation In English
Please allow me to share my story in Chinese. (Mr. Zhu’s presentation will be covered in Chinese and English translation will be provided here.)
In 2002, I immigrated to Toronto from Beijing. My disappointment with this new life started at a local bank. I wasn’t surprised that not understanding much English, but at that Bank, I found that I couldn’t understand the Chinese they spoke, Cantonese. With more than 30 years of Mandarin Speaking, Cantonese seemed like a different language for me.
Later, I found out that the reason why those services was provided solely in Cantonese was because the higher economical achievement of Hong Kong than Mainland China. Most Chinese businesses in Toronto were under Cantonese management back in 2002. I even tried to learn Cantonese to find a job, but it was harder for me than learning English.
In the past decade, I have witnessed the economical take-off of Mainland China, and the fabulous growth and globalization of Chinese wealth. Nowadays, Mandarin-speaking service is provided in more and more places in cities like Toronto and Vancouver.
There’s a joke in our firm, the richer a Chinese client is, the worse their English are. So I give myself an excuse, I have too many high wealth clients that make my English poor.
Adversity Makes Pioneer
I had earned my two bachelor degrees in Engineering and Commerce and 10 years of security and derivative trading experience before I immigrated to Canada. I came to Canada during the recession caused by “9-11 Terrorist Attack”, it was very difficult to find a job. Because of lack of local experience and local education background, I targeted on entry level accounting jobs.
I had only have 3 interviews in 6 months time, only one of them gave me a second interview, but that did not lead to an offer. I started my own business because I need to put bread on table for my family. The start was not easy, I was working part-time at McDonald’s to support my family and my newly started business for the first 6 months.
Twelve years have gone by, from my little business, now we have built an accounting firm, an insurance brokerage, a foreign exchange business, and a wealth management company under Meritigroup. We now have nine branches across Canada and one office in Beijing.
Early this year, our head office in Toronto moved to a new location. Previously in that location was the company that gave me 2 interviews 12 years ago. If they had hired me, there may not be Meritigroup now. The lament was very hard to explain, as an old Buddhlism phrase says ”Nether world innate divine intervention”
Defect Makes Superior
I have strong problem-solving and analytical skills and I’m also willing to make friends. However, selling insurance is quite a challenge to me. Due to a different culture in China, a lot of Chinese people have biased opinions for people who sell life insurance, which potentially increased the difficulty to do this job. That is the reason why I never made selling insurance my main business.
When I incorporated the company, my plan was to do business in tax returns and bookkeeping. Thus becoming a licensed financial professional was my main goal at that moment. However, there is a number of accounting firms in Toronto, which caused the low service price in this highly competitive industry. In order to provide more services to my clients and increase my personal income, I learn a lot of insurance and investment knowledge by myself and got the corresponding licenses soon.
Although I got my professional licenses for selling insurance, I’m not good at sales at all. I always became good friends with my clients and help them solve the practical business problems but few people bought their life insurances from me. It was then that I realized, it’s better to emphasize what I’m good at for the company’s interests. Therefore I started to corporate with other insurance advisors to expand the business. For my part, I focused on solving client’s practical business problems with tax, insurance and investments. My partner was in charge of promoting our insurance sector while maintaining good customer relationship. After the cooperation, our business revenue increased dramatically and we created mutual benefit business philosophy by that time.
Meritigroup aims to become the most excellent Chinese financial advisory firms in Canada. By the time that we achieve our goal, I will proudly say that my shortcoming in sales contributed most to the success of Meritigroup. If I didn’t have this particular weakness, I would have not cooperated with partners in building Meritigroup into this modern enterprise structure.
By realizing our weaknesses, Meritigroup engages to gather more and more intelligence with different talents. We create more business values and share them with our client and partners. The success of Meritigroup can be attributed to the value of sharing. The diversification and risk control also match with our business philosophy. Every investment bears risks. We help our clients to interpret risks and drawbacks of each investment and diversify their investment portfolios to achieve the best customized investment combination.
Value Creation Makes Uniqueness
由于销售能力的弱点，我创业之初就很注重为自己的服务添加与众不同的价值，刚开始很少有理财行业的人能提供实际的税务意见，我落地加拿大第二年就开始为客户提供个税服务，当越来越多的理财行业的人涉及简单的报税服务时，我们就逐步涉及公司、信托、非居民等复杂税务，并和全球四大会计师行和一线律师行建立了广泛的合作关系，我想既然我们说不过别人，做得就要比别人多一点，六年前我们在温哥华开展外汇业务，今年我们正式启动财富管理中心，并把服务范围延伸到Ottawa, Halifax, Saskatoon 等城市，现在我们在华人创办的财务机构中从服务领域到服务网点已经做到了与众不同。
Due to the weakness of my sales ability, when I started my business, I paid more attention on value-added service to be competitive and unique. At that time, only few financial advisers were able to provide practical suggestion on taxation, so I started to offer individual taxation services for my clients at the second year. While other financial professionals tried to catch up by offering the same services, our team began to challenge those more complex taxation services such as corporation tax, trust tax and non-resident status for tax purpose. Furthermore, we had built an extensive partnership with the Big Four Accounting firms and Law firms. Six years ago, we opened our office in Vancouver and start to serve clients on the west coast. Up to early this year, our team and services had reached Ottawa, Halifax, Saskatoon and other major cities. I can now proudly conclude that, compare to other Chinese financial advisory firms in the industry, whether it’s the number of cities we service and types of services we provide, Meritigroup isn’t only unique but also outstanding.
Thriving China Makes Global Opportunity
People also say that for those who immigrated to Canada more than a decade ago had totally missed the golden era of the development of China. Well, I will say without the development of China or globalized economic expansion, Meritigroup would not have succeed, so we are actually the beneficiary of such development. My early clients were not limit to Chinese, but soon I realized that the mother tongue is not only the key for us to obtain the trust of our clients but also to connect with them sincerely. With the development of our team and services, Mandarin became our official language. Nowadays, more than 95% of our clients came from Mainland China. The most joyful thing since I came to Canada is that, through my mother tongue, I have made many great friends from places all over China. But on the other hand, I didn’t improve my English skill much. To match the fast growth of Chinese economic, we will extend our business to Hong Kong, so we can provide a total solution for Chinese families that have the need of globalizing their wealth.
Through your business, what kind of value-added service you can provide to your clients?
Do you want to partner up or team up with someone similar to or different from you in your business?
Do you prefer to manage your team by policy or by personal relationship?
Thank you very much!
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