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This profile was last updated on 4/26/10  and contains information from public web pages.

Treasury Analyst

Phone: (212) ***-****  HQ Phone
399 Park Avenue
New York , New York 10043
United States

Company Description: Citibank is the world's biggest provider of private banking, and specializes in offering custom solutions from all areas of finance.

Employment History

  • Lecturer In Applied Mathematics
    University of Tianjin Economic and Finance
  • HSBC plc
  • Stockford Financial Services
  • Westpac


  • PhD , Applied Finance
Web References
Boutique dealer group Matrix Planning ..., 26 April 2010 [cached]
Boutique dealer group Matrix Planning Solutions has appointed Helen Shao to the newly-created role of practice development manager.
In the role, Shao will work alongside Matrix general manager of practice development Geoff Martin and assist Matrix practices to develop their business models and support their strategic advice offerings to clients.
Shao has more than 20 years' experience in the banking and finance industry and began her finance career with Citibank.
She worked with Westpac, HSBC and Stockford Financial Services before establishing her own financial planning practice in 2002.
In 2004, Shao moved to a senior account manager role with Fiducian Financial Services followed by a practice development manager role with Axa Financial Services.
The last clear memory Helen ..., 18 July 2007 [cached]
The last clear memory Helen Shao had on that clear Beijing summer morning 18 years ago, was of a wall of people stampeding towards her. She turned and ran with the panicked crowd, awakening some time later, bruised and bloodied.
It was June 4, 1989, and Shao had just survived the Tiananmen Square massacre.
"I don't remember what happened or what caused my injuries. I awoke with two cuts to my head and damage to my gums and teeth," Shao recalls.
Shao is reflective as she thinks back to those events when, as a lecturer in applied mathematics at the University of Tianjin Economic and Finance, she led a group of students to the pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing. But the eventual crackdown by the government that fateful day resulted in two of her students killed and one of her colleagues missing - presumed jailed or killed.
Yet, somehow, with the help of sympathetic locals, Shao was able to escape Beijing that day and cycle the 120 kilometres back to her home in Tianjin - China's third largest city.
Six months later, and under constant suspicion and threat of arrest, Shao was forced to leave her husband and only child, a one-year-old son, and flee to Australia as a political refugee. It was the hardest thing she has ever had to do.
Today, it's been 18 years since Shao first arrived in this country, unable to speak a word of English, with no friends or contacts to support her, and with only US$40 in her pocket. Her story is one of survival and achievement.
"Those first few months were very difficult for me," Shao says. She eventually won a prestigious scholarship to the Australian National University just six months after arriving in Australia, where she undertook her PhD in Applied Finance.
Following the completion of her PhD four years later, Shao moved to Sydney in 1994, with her first professional job as a treasury analyst with Citibank.
But what eventually motivated her to leave the comfortable corporate surroundings of Citibank, then Westpac and HSBC, to embark upon a career in financial planning?
"It's simple," Shao says. "After all I had been through, I just wanted to help others."
It's a decision Shao doesn't regret.
Today, as a planner for Fiducian FinancialServices, she looks after 300 clients, with funds under advice of around $40 million.
Shao is mindful, however, that having made a successful life for herself in this country, she never forgets her immigrant past and the struggles that came with that. It's for this reason that she finds it easy to empathise with the financial needs of others. And it's something she is clearly passionate about.
So I thought if I can come from overseas with no money, no family and no English and I can do it, then other people can too," Shao says. "The only thing holding them back is teaching them how to go about doing this."
Educating clients and consumers is something close to Shao's heart and where she draws her inspiration. And while, like many other planners, her client base is predominantly pre-retirees and retirees, Shao is increasingly shifting her client mix towards the younger generation - a generation she calls, "the lost generation".
"Those people aged between 35 and 45 are what I call 'the lost generation'," she says. "They don't really fall into the baby boomer or Generation X categories. The industry is not reaching out to these people. Many of them are struggling with their finances and financial management. I find myself increasingly drawn to this lost generation because I can relate to them."
Connecting with this generation is important for Shao, who emphasises the importance of conveying the value of advice through FPA initiatives like Financial Planning Week.
"Financial Planning Week is wonderful in creating greater consumer awareness of the value of financial planning. It puts the focus back on all the good work we do for clients and addresses often asked questions like 'how do I find a good planner'. Initiatives like this help to change consumer attitudes towards professional advice, and that has to be good for everybody."
Looking ahead, Shao is mindful of the many challenges that the profession still faces. She nominates the planner remuneration debate over fees versus commissions as being one of the biggest issues facing the industry. She also points to Government legislation, such as Simpler Super, and keeping up with these changes as a constant challenge for all planners.
"If financial planners, as professionals, have difficulty with understanding all these changes, what chance do consumers have," Shao asks.
But not content with just helping clients through her practice, Shao extends this help externally as a published author. Your First Home Made Easy, which was released last year, is her first book in a series of three that shares her own experience and practical know-how to becoming financially free. Her first book, which has already sold 3,400 copies, deals with buying your first home.
Her second book - Wake Up To Money - is about helping people to invest and is due for release later this year, with her third instalment - Money and Sex - covering estate planning.
And if authoring three books is not enough, Shao also operates another business - the Financial Fitness Class - which provides workshops and other educative programs to consumers to help them build healthy financial lifestyles.
But it doesn't stop there. In true entrepreneurial Chinese fashion, Shao has teamed up with Think Global Consulting - an organisation that works with Australian services companies looking to build a presence in Asia - to teach basic Mandarin. Shao claims that after a short eight-hour course, she will have you speaking confidently to the locals.
Not bad for a political refugee who first landed on these shores with just US$40 in her pocket.
Tags: advice | China | education | fees | Fiducian Financial Services | Financial planner | FPA | Helen Shao | remuneration
Members get behind Financial Planning Week, 18 July 2007 [cached]
Two days later, financial planner Helen Shao (see profile page 40) appeared on Seven's Sunrise talking about her own experience with financial advice as a political refugee from China.
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