Wayne Chen, CEO of GoalsMapper, knows the value of money all too well. Growing up in an environment where money wasn’t always easy to come by, he experienced first-hand what it’s like to grow up working hard to gain financial resources. As a teen, Wayne often helped his mother with her part-time jobs, moving on to working 12-hour shifts at a production factory and only clocking four hours of sleep a night.
Today, Wayne is a tech entrepreneur who owns multiple businesses in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. His latest venture into the financial advisory scene started long before GoalsMapper. To a large extent, the impetus of starting GoalsMapper, a financial planning software, can be attributed to his late nights and ‘what-ifs’ in the early stages of his life. When asked about why he chose financial advisory, Wayne answers with purpose. “Money is linked to almost every aspect of a person’s life. Yet, it still remains complex to talk about and deal with,” he pipes in.
In 2018, when Wayne decided to launch GoalsMapper, he invested a quarter of a million dollars in capital and man hours. This bold decision was driven by the fact that the industry was in dire need of a digital and holistic solution.
Wayne Chen, CEO of GoalsMapper
Building consumer trust
According to a poll by the Financial Planning Association of Singapore (FPAS), 72% of adults said that they didn’t know who to trust when it came to financial advice. 34% of them also stated that they were unsure of how regulated financial planning is, and others (15%) stated that they were certain that it is not.
Financial consultants do not generally hold a good reputation with the public. The industry is often associated with aggressive lead generation methods and product hard-selling. Rather than casting a wide net, Wayne realised that the paradigm of financial advisory had to change.
One of the main objectives of GoalsMapper is to help financial consultants operate with greater transparency and provide visibility, knowledge and information to their clients. Since trust is a touchy subject, this is taken into account at every touchpoint in the client’s financial journey.
The platform lays out everything clearly, from premiums to expected yields, to opportunity cost and expenditures, all carefully calculated so that they can make informed decisions. For instance, if someone wants to know what the opportunity cost of going on yearly extravagant vacations are, that could be demonstrated by GoalsMapper’s scenario-based planning feature. Financial consultants are able to substantiate their recommendations to clients as they can instantly see the charts in real-time on the GoalsMapper platform.
According to Wayne, “GoalsMapper seeks to educate and change the public’s perception of the industry while enhancing the value creation for financial consultants as we believe that financial literacy is a necessity, and the low level of trust is what’s standing between the consumer and financial freedom.”
Financial advice in a digital world
With a determination for this to change, Wayne built the dynamic platform for financial planners. With an experienced team made up of former financial advisors and recent addition Benjamin Ang, former editor of Asia Advisers Network, as the Head of Financial Literacy and Adviser Advocacy, the company has a clear but not limited vision: to push for advisor advocacy and to empower consumers through financial literacy.
“Knowing that we are able to impact the industry positively and help people better understand their financial situation excites me and drives me to continue our work.”
By probing deeper, I began to understand that GoalsMapper’s standing wasn’t just merely a ‘digital platform’ that catered to an increasingly digital world. The software allows financial consultants to be better equipped to pass on valuable information to the end-consumer, like you and me.
GoalsMapper: in action
“Clarity is key in financial planning,” Wayne explains. “When financial consultants are able to provide their clients with a clearer picture of their financial journey, the planning process is smooth sailing. Then, it’s easier to make better decisions.”
Another important thing, he notes, is efficiency. By digitising various stages, such as information-gathering and marketing automation, financial consultants can showcase better productivity and performance through tailored solutions for their clients. This takes away a significant bulk of time from the entire procedure, a move that aims to ultimately change the public perception that financial planning is tedious and time-consuming.
Wayne’s not done with his dream yet
Despite breaking even just three months in, and hitting a million dollars in annual recurring revenue in less than 2 years, Wayne notes that they are only getting started. Today, he runs a company of 20 staff supporting the practice of over 2,000 financial consultants in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
With three main products under its suite, GM Planner, GM Brand and GM Connect, their latest CRM tool using portfolio-based segmentation and targeted marketing, GoalsMapper still has visions for the future. This includes expansion into neighbouring countries and also educating local students and the public through partnership initiatives. The company continues to strive for greatness, but the 38-year-old entrepreneur’s ultimate goal is to be top of mind and synonymous with reliable, trustworthy financial services.
“It’s like when you think of instant noodles, you think of Maggi,” he quips.
So what exactly defines success for Wayne?
“If we can get everyone in the region to have increased financial literacy and better future planning thanks to our software, I would say we have achieved success.”