One concept, one floppy


  • Business
  • Saturday, 22 Feb 2003

GO online, key in your criteria. How old are you? What are your expenses? How many children do you have? In a jiffy, you will have a personal financial report.  

“That will be, ideally, the thing,” says Loh Chaw Mun of his website, www.planners.com.my, which ultimately will have an application to enable visitors to do their own financial planning online. 

For the present, professional financial planners can download from the website financial planning, life insurance and unit trust conceptual modules, called Concept-On-Disk, running from a 1.44MB floppy disk – one concept, one floppy, presented in 12 to 18 slides depending of the concept. 

Developed from an earlier software application, Presentation Pro, Concept-on-Disk is also available on a self-installing compact disc.  

Says Loh: “The financial planner can just leave a copy of the floppy diskette with his or her client, who can look at it all over again; use it or look at it 15 times or for 15 days.  

“I think this is a breakthrough product because of the compression technology. One floppy, one concept. I have it in Chinese and English. The Bahasa Melayu version will be available soon.”  

However, only the English version is featured on his website. 

In the pipeline are a Discussion Room and Live Chat. With just one click, anyone can go into Discussion Room, which will be divided into two – one for the public, who may want to pose questions regarding their retirement, regarding their early demise, or whatever financial questions. The other is for professional financial planners to exchange ideas. 

Loh will assign moderators – qualified financial planners – to answer questions from the public. They will not receive payment for moderating the session. 

“But, I tell them the benefit is this: ‘When you moderate, you provide answers, and you can follow up the leads. Maybe you can sell them a policy or unit trusts. I don’t want any cut. I only want the traffic'. 

“So, here we are providing a platform not just for me to make money, but giving convenience to the consumer as well.  

Live Chat will be on 24 hours a day, but one must register. Nobody monitors Live Chat, it’s free for all. In that room 25 people can chat.  

“This again is another way for us to build traffic,” explains Loh. “If you want to build traffic, a forum is essential. A forum has an administrator and moderators. I will be the administrator. I can assign moderators. But I will only appoint moderators who are financial consultants, financial planners, or certified planners.” 

Currently on his website, Loh has, among other things, a directory of financial planners; useful pointers on financial planning, money management, and writing a will; as well as financial calculators designed to help an investor make decisions on such topics as personal financing, investment, retirement, home financing and leasing. 

As an added draw, visitors to the website can use the PC-To-Phone service to make long distance and international calls without having to pay a fortune. 

And Loh did not have to spend a fortune to put up his website either. “But the time and effort, and research are more important,” he adds, who initially began work on it in the first quarter last year. “On and off, I just modify and tinker with it.” 

To save on expenses, he rents server space. “If I have my own server, I must have an administrator to take care of the server and so on,” says Loh, a self-taught web designer. 

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