June 30, 2020

Are you really simplifying your client’s life?

Ashish Modani
Founder, SLA Financial Solutions

Client Conversation

Recently one of my family member got into some medical trouble. We rushed him to a Doctor and after examining him, the doctor said, “He is suffering from Acute MI.”  I was like – WHAT?? The Doctor said – he is suffering from Acute Myocardial Infarction. I stood there, confused. The Doctor then said – He suffered a Heart Attack. It is only then that I understood the gravity of the situation. Before that, the doctor’s language did not make any sense to me.

 

Such is the situation of most of our audience – investors. Imagine, yourself now, sitting with a doctor and explaining the fact that we need to invest in long term bond funds as RBI is expected to cut the repo rate on account of lower crude prices or we need to invest in Low PE Beta stocks as markets are at an all-time low. Do you think that doctor is anywhere going to understand the language and feel inspired to invest?

 

When you dive deep in the heart of an investor, they don’t want to understand products or markets or even performance. It’s just us distributors and manufacturers who have spoken the language of returns, markets, best performance, etc. The client never demanded a monthly dividend plan, it is we who created it, marketed it and sold it.

 

Most of the time our talks are intellectual and not emotional. Many distributors/Advisors believe that by speaking such technical and jargon loaded sentences, they will be able to impress upon clients that we know our subject very well. But the very fact is that investors don’t want to deal with intelligent people but with someone whom they can trust.

 

Trust is not a checklist. Trust does not emerge when we talk intelligently. Trust is a feeling. When someone does everything right for us, we still may not trust them and at times when someone has done mistakes unintentionally, we still trust them. We need to sell trust and not products. Trust begins to emerge when we believe that the person who is selling us something, does not have the sole intention to just make profits for himself; rather it is to ensure the benefit of the client.

 

Financial Planning is one such way of talking to clients in their language. But I have started getting a feeling that Financial Plan or goal-based SIP also has become a tool to just sell to investors. The way we are marketing goal-based SIP is like selling chocolate wrapped in a cover. Once the chocolate is over, we throw the wrapper. Once a SIP is sold for retirement, after some months and years, we again start to talk of returns, best funds, markets, economy etc.

 

Mind you, it’s not just about starting, it’s about continuing and more importantly finishing the exercise.

SIP is not about Rupee Cost Averaging; it’s about disciplined saving for a particular purpose; it is about being able to save money for your needs which otherwise, you would have spent on your wants.

 

Not only our words should be simple, but also our follow up communication, our software reporting, our regular communication should all be in a language that investors can digest easily and relate with their lives.

At the end, when your investors come back home after the day’s hard work, he wants to save for his kids, his dreams and his life rather than investing in Portfolios which can give him alpha over markets. The moment we understand and implement this in our practice is the moment we truly will embrace the duty our profession places in us.


4 Thoughts to “Are you really simplifying your client’s life?”

  1. Avatar Ninad says:

    Excellent article, Ashish!

    Client communication must be crisp, simple, to-the-point and should take into account emotions!

    Most financial planners focus on numbers without taking into consideration the emotional side of things.

    The last paragraph hit the nail on its head!

  2. Avatar Funds Ve daa says:

    As usual, brilliant!

  3. Avatar Venkateswaran M says:

    Ashish,
    This is the need of the hour. I fully understand and accept that we take eye off the ball after the sales process. We should continue to report on the basis of goal based investments without worrying about portfolio returns etc., Its a timely reinforcement. Thank you!

  4. Avatar Prabir says:

    Dear Ashish,
    Very likely article and you and me also agree at one point is that, goal based planning & SIP are the selling tools for our distributors presently. Thus, it was not add any value to our investor life than our argument will moving around same benchmark, funds and its performance respectively.

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