As a licensed financial adviser and a registered fund management company with Monetary Authority of Singapore, we are more than able to help you do general financial planning work. However, over the years, we have come to be known as a specialist in retirement planning.
Although we can rave about our unique business model (we are after all the first and probably still only fee-only financial advisory firm in Singapore), our robust advisory process (our team of Client Advisers work with a team of in-house specialists to deliver all solutions to clients) or even our highly experienced team of professionals, the biggest difference you will experience from us, is really found in our purpose.
Our clients are mainly
a. Retirees with an average of SGD2 million to invest and want a safe and reliable income stream in retirement.
b. Families accumulating towards their retirement and are prepared to start with a minimum investment of SGD200,000. They want a comprehensive plan to take care of every aspect of their financial life.
c. Beneficiaries of estate who want their inheritance to be prudently managed.
d. Affluent clients with private banking relationships but engage us as their trusted adviser to advise them.
We are a boutique-sized, professional practice firm that serves the affluent clients and focuses on doing the right thing.
Providend Ltd (“Providend”) is wholly owned by Providend Holding Pte Ltd with iFAST Corporation Ltd as the only corporate shareholder. iFAST Corporation Ltd is a leading internet-based investment products distribution platform headquartered in Singapore. Providend uses iFAST Financial Pte Ltd’s investment platform to serve our clients.
The day the world changed
The day the world changed
September 11, 2001 was the day terrorism changed the world we lived in. But for Providend, it held another significance: it was also the day we signed our office lease – the beginning of our story.
The new Financial Advisers Act was to be implemented that year, but was unfortunately delayed till October 2002. It was only in May 2003 that our application for the license to give advice was approved and the company ready for operation. In the interim 2 years without the license, our hands were tied, and our staff of just over 10 people and their families suffered as they took home no or very little income.
Daring to be different
The financial advisory industry, often plagued with issues of mis-selling, churning, product pushing and the like, was gradually losing consumers’ faith in entrusting advisers with their financial affairs. When we finally opened our doors for business on 20 May 2003, we wanted to be a catalyst for change, even if that meant being different from everyone else. We wanted to be a company that takes a firm stand for honest, independent and competent advice.
Honest & Independent Advice
Providend became the first financial advisory company in Singapore to operate on a fee basis. This means that all our fee-paying clients will pay us a flat fee for doing their work and product commissions will then be rebated back to them. We firmly believed then and still do, that taking commissions when giving advice creates a conflict of interest and is the root of all ethical problems.
Independent & Competent Advice
We also became the first financial advisory company in Singapore to assemble a team of advisers with different skills and knowledge to do the work for each client. We believe that no one individual person can be an expert in the different practice areas of financial advisory.
When we announced our decision to go on a fee approach, industry watchers and competitors scoffed at the idea. They all felt that Singaporeans would never pay a fee for advice. Cynics predicted that Providend would not survive beyond 6 months, doubting that the compensation from fees would ever be enough to sustain the company.
Persevering for our convictions
Indeed, giving up the lucrative commissions proved to be a path fraught with difficulties. Our people and their families struggled as they survived on meagre salaries. Many were dealt with a harsh hand of life’s crises, which we faced stoically. But while we were prepared to compromise our personal lifestyles, we were often burdened by the fact that we could not contribute financially to our families when it was much needed.
Undeterred, we pursued our passion for giving the most honest, independent and competent advice to our clients. We also aired our frank views on financial matters through our contributions to the media and professional publications. We became a strong advocate for transparency in this industry.
Not surprisingly, we stuck out like a sore thumb and became the target of negative comments from the industry. Some of our competitors even asked product manufacturers to terminate their distribution agreements with us. It was a tough period for the people at Providend, as we continued to suffer financially and exist in an industry that shunned us.
Thankfully, our resolve and our commitment to providing truly honest, independent and competent advice were slowly but surely being recognized by the public.
In 2004, Singapore’s Pension System, the Central Provident Fund Board (CPF) appointed Providend as the external consultant to develop the CPF Retirement Planner, a national retirement planning tool. Professional publishers approached us to author books, such as the first Singapore Master Financial Planning Guide published by CCH Asia Pte Ltd. We also authored Estate Planning Made Easy, now into its 2nd edition.
In 2005, Asia Financial Planning Journal awarded Providend (represented by our CEO, Mr. Christopher Tan) top prize for the Financial Adviser Representative for that year. Providend also became a winner of the Singapore Prestige Brand Award for Promising Brand in 2008. This award, presented jointly by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and LianHe ZaoBao, was testament to the success of our brand.
In 2007, when the Singapore CPF system was going through a milestone change, our CEO, Mr. Christopher Tan sat on the CPF LIFE Committee (Industry Panel) to help birth the change.
Further affirmation came in 2009, when Mr. Christopher Tan received the prestigious Most Promising Entrepreneur Award at the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2009.
In 2013, in recognition of our expertise in retirement planning, Mr. Christopher Tan was invited to share on our proprietary retirement methodology called ‘RetirewellTM” to the participants of the International Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Conference held in Singapore.
And most recently in Sep 2014, the Singapore government appointed our CEO, Mr. Christopher Tan to the CPF Advisory Panel, to study possible enhancements and the benefits and tradeoffs of the CPF System.
Put to the test once again
In late 2008, the bursting of the US housing bubble and subsequent fall of major financial institution Lehman Brothers triggered what was arguably the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Our investment portfolios were hit by great volatility and some of our clients became fearful and withdrew their asset.
But most of our clients stayed on. In return, we devoted our time to allaying their fears and revised their financial plans to ensure that they would still be able to realize their goals post-crisis. It took a lot of courage to bear the brunt of their frustration, but it was important for us to remain committed to their goals and was also a valuable experience gained.
Continually Breaking New Ground
In 2011, realizing that true happiness comes from living a purposeful life, and that money is just an enabler, we developed “Finishing WellTM”, a framework which helps you decide the life you want to live, how you can live it at this stage of your life, considering the various roles you now play.
Continually Breaking New Ground
In 2012, knowing that there was a gap in prevailing retirement planning methodologies, where much focus was placed on accumulating for retirement, but very little focus on how to withdraw from the nest egg so that it does not run out prematurely, we developed “RetireWellTM”, an effective and efficient withdrawal strategy for retirees in retirement, to fill this gap.
Continually Breaking New Ground
In 2014, we took our boldest step yet. Realizing that there was a new breed of internet savvy consumers who prefer to do their own research and dislike the pressure of the traditional insurance sales process, we launched Singapore’s first insurance comparison website -DIYInsurance. Using technology, we put our insurance planning DNA into the internet space allowing consumers to plan and choose their insurance independently online.
When we first started our journey, many thought that Providend was not going to survive. After all, we had embarked on a mission that seemed impossible to achieve. In retrospect, we are glad that we have upheld our values of always wanting the best for our clients and that we will never do anything that will put our clients at a disadvantage.
We have succeeded today, because the people at Providend shared the same belief and passion for the business. We are still here today, as a fee for service firm, because of our clients who have placed their trust in us. We have not only grown together on this journey but together, we have taken a stand in Singapore, proving that honest, independent and competent advice will work.
Making wise financial decisions affects so many aspects of a family life.
Having money provides possibilities for a better quality of life. On the other hand, the lack of it creates limitations that can sometimes break families.
In an environment where financial products are being sold everyday and many times through poor financial advice, families make poor financial decisions.
As A Family of People Driven By Passion
We exist to serve our families of clients to fulfill their dreams and achieve their life purpose by providing them with the most honest, independent and competent advice.
We seek to inspire our clients to first make life purpose decisions before making financial decisions.
We believe in giving time-tested, prudent and holistic financial solutions, even if it means being different.
We strive to be the light of the financial world.
This is what drives us.
This is why we exist.
This is our purpose.
About Expat Advisory Division
Our Expat Advisory Division provides fee-only financial coaching, planning and investing advisory service working with expats based in Singapore. We cover a comprehensive range of services to help expats achieve their lifestyle goals and manage their wealth. For too long, expats in the region have been underserved by commission-based investment salespeople. We seek to change this and we do things differently.
Work with us and experience financial planning as it should be.