Personal Branding
December 1, 2022

The Journey to Million Dollar Roundtable (MDRT)

Honest Sharing from Top Directors

Danielle Lin
Cofounder, CMO @ Finberty
Danielle Lin

What is the journey to MDRT like? We interviewed top performers and directors who have been consistently qualified for MDRT. Let us find out!

MDRT Directors
"AMAZING!! The feelings of honour, pride, extreme happiness."
"My dream became a reality!"
"I've proved myself!"

These were real words from MDRT members about their experience when they were recognised as MDRT qualifiers for the first time.

Why is it such an emotional and honourable moment? What is the journey like? Let us find out!

First thing first, what is MDRT and who is qualified?

MDRT, short for The Million Dollar Round Table, is an internationally recognised association that awards top-performing financial advisors across the globe.

Individual financial advisors who qualify for the MDRT are respected by their peers in the life insurance and financial services sector.

Every year, thousands of financial and insurance professionals in Singapore face the challenge of becoming a qualifier for the MDRT.

According to MDRT, Singapore financial advisors must meet the minimum achievement of S$72,400 as first-year commission for 2023 to qualify as a member of the MDRT. The numbers vary from year to year.

There are also higher tiers if you're up for the challenge, such as

  • Court of the Table (S$217,200 in first-year commission for 2023)
  • Top of the Table (S$434,400 in first-year commission for 2023)

The known benefits of being an MDRT member

1. Stand out in the competition

The insurance and financial industry is highly competitive in Singapore and most other countries.

On top of that, the constant-evolving regulations challenge financial advisors and consumers to align and understand fully.

Being an MDRT member gives you a network of top-performing peers you can learn from. Plus, the MDRT badge signals your prospects and clients that you understand the latest practices and regulations.

2. Build trust

A personal brand is essential for any independent professional, so it is for financial advisors. Being an MDRT member showcases your professionalism, knowledge, and dedication to your prospects and clients.

3. Increase referrals

Word-of-mouth is valuable to financial advisors.

Imagine you are a client who will make an introduction between your loved ones and a financial advisor. You would make sure that the financial advisor is highly qualified. This is when MDRT qualification may help.

4. A step to the leadership

MDRT members are well-respected in the insurance and financial industry. Being a member helps you to gain recognition and admiration among peers and gives you the edge to advance in your career as a financial advisor.

Although this is recommended, it is not mandatory. We have seen stories where financial advisors become leaders and pursue MDRT membership later.

5. Access to MDRT resource

The MDRT magazines, online learning resources and annual meetings and conferences allow you to tap into some of the brightest minds in the industry and solidify your network.

The journey

Being an MDRT qualifier sounds appealing; the journey is no bed of roses.

Suppose you are planning or wondering whether you should become an MDRT member. In that case, we hope the following stories can help you better prepare for the challenge.

Who are they

Leon Chew Great Eastern Financial Advisors
(Source: Leon Chew's LinkedIn Profile)

Leon Chew

  • Senior Director at Great Eastern Financial Advisors Pte Ltd.
  • An engineer turned financial advisor.
  • Leon was first qualified as an MDRT member in 2016.
Germaine Phua Great Eastern Financial Advisors
(Source: Germaine Phua's LinkedIn Profile)

Germaine Phua

  • Associate Director at Great Eastern Financial Advisors Pte Ltd.
  • She has been a financial advisor for over ten years and has recently focused on coaching and building teams.
  • Germaine was first qualified as an MDRT member in 2016.
Fabian Chan Great Eastern Financial Advisor
(Source: Fabian Chan's LinkedIn Profile)

Fabian Chan

  • Director at Great Eastern Financial Advisors Pte Ltd,
  • 15+ years of experience in financial advisory.
  • Fabian was first qualified as an MDRT member in 2015.
Jason Thian Great Eastern Financial Adviors
(Source: Jason Thian's LinkedIn Profile)

Jason Thian

  • Senior Director at Great Eastern Financial Advisors Pte Ltd.
  • MDRT qualified since 2016.
  • A reader and learner.

The driver

First of all, understand the ‘why.’ It's essential to find one's drive to achieve a new height. Here are what they say and could be your inspiration.

An international recognition

Despite being top performers with awards and recognitions within the organisation (Great Eastern), all of them mentioned that international recognition beyond the organisational level was a driver.

"I was consistently clearing Great Eastern's Achievers Club every year. I had never thought of doing MDRT because it was not discussed often. Then, one day, I conversed with a good friend. She spoke about MDRT as if it were a trophy or graduation from being a recognised financial advisor. It struck me." said Germaine.

Set examples to motivate others

Fabian pursued MDRT after he started to lead a team, which was not a common route. Most financial advisors seek MDRT qualifications when they first enter their careers. However, for Fabian, the value of MDRT is to be a role model and set examples to motivate his teammates.

Self-proof and self-belief

To Jason, it was to see himself going through what he thought was not possible.

"7 of my juniors showed me that it was possible in 2015. I saw their journey from 'crazy' to 'maybe' to 'did it.' That was when, in our kickoff planning in 2016, the thought became, if they can, I believe I can too!" said Jason.

The challenges

Setting one's mind on the goal is a start; next is to prepare for the challenges.

Making consistent efforts

MDRT criteria are beyond regular sales targets for financial advisors. Therefore, individuals must consistently push themselves beyond others to meet the qualification.

Germaine still remembers her days in 2015 when she was "thinking and breathing MDRT every day" through sheer determination.

"Sales could be tiring despite being meaningful and satisfactory because it's a long journey," said Leon. "I had to constantly remind myself to continue to deliver my results instead of procrastinating until the end of the year," he added.

Productivity and efficiency

Financial advisors could have many clients and prospects to handle. So, to Fabian, who had been in the industry long enough before he pursued MDRT, "focus" was the key. Instead of being distracted by unproductive tasks, "I had to strategise to build relationships effectively," said Fabian.

The tips


Like many of life's goals, you can do it when you believe it. So you ought to think you're powerful enough to make a dream a reality.

As Jason and Germaine experienced, they didn't even think about pursuing MDRT until they knew it was possible among their peers. Now, to them, being qualified for MDRT is a routine! "I better do it every year. It's a norm," said Jason.


Know your why and own it!

"You must know why you want it. It can't be forced on you, " said Germaine. When you own it, you have the willpower and mental strength to push yourself.

She added: "like in badminton, my coach would tell me to squeeze every energy left to send the shuttlecock over, hard and fast. Then even if I fail, I know I did my very best."

Focus & Pace

The target might sound challenging to hit. Don't be overwhelmed. Like every other goal in our lives, break it down into milestones and pace yourself. You will eventually get where you want to be.

"Focus on what needs to be done first. The rest will come," said Fabian.  

Getting started is more important. Then, you can build your bite-sized success into a more prominent achievement.

"The point is to get started and never give up," Leon emphasised.

Set your environment

Your tribe is your vibe. Be with people who can set examples for you and motivate you.

When times were difficult, Leon recalled, his teammates helped him overcome the challenges with encouragement.

Final thoughts

If you are pursuing MDRT, take inspiration from these members. Own your why, prepare for the challenges, believe in yourself and never give up!

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