Diary of an adviser  

Diary of an Adviser: Brian Spence

Diary of an Adviser: Brian Spence

Table tennis, client meetings and a talk on the Brexit impact are all part of a busy week for this adviser looking to make his mark in Vietnam.


Mondays always start with table tennis at Ba Dinh Sports Centre at 8am with my business partner Quang. The loser (me) had to pay for breakfast, and then followed my weekly meeting with staff.

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I have been working in Hanoi for some time now and I have to say it is one of the most wonderful working environments I have ever experienced. Vietnam’s explosive growth means opportunities abound, and I really feel like I am making a difference here, too. 

Today a new client agreed for us to manage her investments. She has the majority of her money in cash in a bank receiving very little interest. We are targeting much better returns that could see her retire a lot earlier.


It is pretty exhilarating advising dynamic business people who have often never seen the value of professional wealth management before, and we are aiming to be a one-stop-shop for wealthy individuals as far as possible.

Kavita, a good friend who is experienced in mergers and acquisitions, arrived this morning for a few days to explore the possibility of heading up our M&A activity at S&P Investments. 


Today was dominated by our evening event at Lounge 88. Twenty or so of our clients and potential clients met over drinks and canapes to listen to a talk on Brexit and its impact upon Vietnam.

It was quite a lively debate that lasted until almost midnight. Interestingly, most business people here wonder why the UK was ever in the EU in the first place and see it as a natural thing for Britain to move ahead on its own.


We are growing rapidly and recruitment, ever high on the agenda, dominated ours today.

There is a real cachet out here for financial advisers from the UK, although I doubt many people appreciate the size of the opportunity here. The Vietnamese see Britons as the honest broker, followed by Dutch and Germans.

But we also need to identify and train a new Vietnamese individual as an adviser, so we can offer clients the best of both worlds.


Friday is usually the quietest day of the week and so it is my writing day. Vietnamese culture is very deferential to elders. 

Now that I’m 65 years old and have more than 30 years’ experience in financial services, I’m seen as something of a sage and I’m asked to contribute to all kinds of publications. I like to tackle a range of subjects, but I’m always focusing on the ‘whys’ of wealth planning and investment management since for many people here cash (literally in bundles, in the attic) is still king.


Saturday is normally free, but today was different as we are in partnership with a Hanoi school, offering advice to parents of the school’s alumni and on university fee planning.