August 9, 2019

Key Learnings from Network FP Regional Conclave’19: Mumbai

Vivek Shah
Founder & CEO, Finrise Financial Planners

Key Learnings from Network FP Regional Conclave’19: Mumbai


Our Ancient Indian scripture, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (1.3.28) says असतो मा सद्गमय ।तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय  which means “Lead us from Untruth to Truth, Lead us from darkness( state of ignorance) to Light(state of knowledge)” and this is what I have observed, seen and experienced at Network FP since their inception. In light of this objective to help financial advisors move from untruth to truth and from ignorance to knowledge, the Network FP Regional Conclave 2019 came to its last destination in Mumbai after traveling to 9 cities empowering and illuminating almost 1000 financial advisors. We had around 150 advisors in the room charged up for learning, unlearning and relearning which would help them to prosper, grow, be happy and make a positive change in their client’s life.

The day started with Mr. Ninad Mondkar, Assistant Vice President at Network FP delivering the welcome address and handing over the stage to me, and as Chair for the conclave my job was to set the context for the day.

To set the tone for the day, I shared that it wasn’t a day for resolutions, but for reflections about why we came into this potentially most noble profession in the first place. Logically, ethically and even morally, there must have been three reasons in the following order

1)To do good

2)To do well by doing good

3)To be happy doing well by doing good.

This starkly beautiful hierarchy of motivation given by Mr. Nick Murray may not have been clear in our minds when we first sought to become financial advisors. But it was almost surely there somewhere, however unformed and even unconscious in deep inside our mind and heart. It is after all the only basis for a genuinely successful advisory career in the context of a truly happy life.

If upon reflection today we find that our careers and our lives have drifted out of contact with this guiding progression of values, at the beginning of this conclave today, let me take a moment to remember and say it aloud in the words of Mr. Nick Murray:


“I came into this profession to help people find some measure of lasting financial peace. I believed then that I could build my family’s fortune by helping other families build and preserve and bequeath their wealth. I thought that rendering priceless financial advice, and prospering thereby, must be the basis of a happy life for me and for the ones I love. And no matter what has happened from then until this morning, I STILL BELIEVE IT”.

We had great speakers having different business models in financial advisory and expertise with the treasure of knowledge and wisdom ready to share their journey as a Financial Advisor with us. Let me take you through the day’s journey with all-important learnings from our speakers at the conclave:

Speaker 1: Mr. P L Natarajan- CEO, Happyness Factory.

He started with a beautiful quote by Marilyn Monroe “Within crisis, are the seeds of opportunity”. He talked about how they have grown their business from 0 to 2000 crore in last 13 years in the midst of all the crisis in the advisory space and how they have taken each crisis as an opportunity to grow more and prosper. Key Leanings:

  • More important to understand – What not to do in the advisory business, than to know what to do.
  • The only way to grow your business is by having a strong emotional connection with your client. Your clients need a coach, every person needs a coach.
  • Business Models are changing and there is value migration happening in other industries like buying a car to renting a car/cab like UBER, OLA, etc. New business models like AIRBNB are evolving to disrupt the market, people are moving from offline travel ticket agents to online platforms like MakeMyTrip and Goibibo. Financial advisory is also moving from transaction facilitation to an advisory to provide value and wholesomeness in advice and manage the behavior of the client in their investing journey.
  • Advisors have to move from Investment management to Investor management.
  • What do you deliver? Return on Investment or Return on Life? We need to move out of this mindset of returns arbitrage and manage client expectations instead.

Speaker 2: Mr. Dhruv Mehta- Independent Financial Advisor and Chairman of FIFA.

  • You need that 10 years of struggle to arrive at the stage to perform – even Sachin Tendulkar & Virat Kohli have had it.
  • The proposition has shifted from delivering returns & competing with other advisors to investor management. It is only after seeing and experiencing the crash of 2000 (dotcom bubble) & 2008 (subprime crisis), that you know that the markets will recover.
  • Knowledge about Financial markets, economy, etc. helps you engage in meaningful dialogue with the clients. This knowledge hardly helps the client achieve their financial goals. But knowledge and awareness about the current markets are needed to converse with clients.
  • Commitment to achieving client goals, amount of care (due diligence) to arrive at the decision to invest clients’ money & Integrity – ability to tell your clients ‘I don’t know’ are the foundation stones of an SFA.
  • Our role has shifted from advising to helping the clients with the challenges they face.
  • Client buys your conviction, not the factsheets!

Speaker 3- Prof. K Sukumaran- Dean, NISM

He shared Top 10 commandments for Financial Advisors

1.Financial Advisors should convince the investors to inculcate a habit of savings, that’s their contribution to the GDP of the country

2.KYC (Know Your Client) is a must. First, know your client and then advise your clients. It protects financial advisors from advising inappropriate products to their clients.

3.Liquidity, Safety & Growth are the mantras for investors.

4. MBAs and similar students are the next employees, educate them to invest Rs 5000 pm in SIP from their first salary.

5. Equity is risky but the reward is high. Help investors understand the risk-reward concept.

6. Help investors understand the importance of Asset allocation in– Equity, Debt, Hybrid. It plays a key role.

7. Make use of market opportunities – buy quality when markets correct.

8. Buy low, sell high.

9. Follow life cycles of clients – Financial advisors should follow up to help investors fulfill all their financial goals – Education, Marriage, House/Car, Retirement, etc.

10. Have realistic expectations from the market.

Speaker 4: Mr. Raghav Iyenger- CEO, Indiabulls AMC

  • Most of our customers are Strangers, then they become Visitors, then Customers and ultimately Promoters.
  • Create awareness for Strangers – Corporatize your brand
  • Profit from the advisory business is not something you take and enjoy but utilize for acquiring new customers as well.
  • Have sustainable marketing and business practices. If you stop your marketing/business practice mid-way, it is brand destructive.
  • The Flying wheel:
  • Flying Wheel

The customer is always at the center in any of these activities.

  • If your existing customer gives you 30% more business, your profit from that transaction can go up by 100%. That’s because your acquisition cost is zero.
  • Do you want the customer or revenue numbers? Customer convenience will give you exclusivity. Offer services and advice on various financial instruments.
  • Reviews and testimonials are in fashion today. Share them in your marketing activities. This increases the clients’ trust in you.
  • A role of an advisor is that of a Family CFO which involves – managing assets, recommendations around alternate solutions, managing liabilities & managing behavior. You have to manage both aspects for clients – Profitability & Risk.
  • IFA should optimize on Principal & Number of Years in [A = P (1 + R)^N] formula as they are the only controllable points in the formula. R= returns are not in control of IFA and he should never ever try to control it. It’s dangerous.

Speaker 5: Mr. Rajeev Thakkar- CIO & Director, PPFAS Mutual Fund

  • When you are not booking your travel tickets offline, why are we expecting our clients to come to us offline for business?
  • Amazon, Flipkart, Uber, Ola – the world is changing. It is not about SEBI vs AMFI vs AMC vs IFA vs Clients! Reality is – the Ostrich Model doesn’t work (putting your head in the sand and complaining about market changes).
  • Information is freely available but people still go to travel agents for packages, trainers for fitness, and dieticians for health. Learn from them to offer customized packaged services in the advisory business.
  • No hunting for clients (mis-selling to make money)! If you are a farmer, you will never be in conflict with clients’ interests.
  • Be ruthless – not all clients are worthy. Find clients willing to pay for good advice. Leave Free Loaders.
  • Proposed Business Model 1: Scale Providers. This model will work on 1) Extremely Low Cost 2) Scale efficiencies 3) Standardization 4) Use of technology 5) Unbundled pricing
  • Proposed Business Model 2: Niche Premium Players. This model will work on 1) People wanting personalized services 2) Technology averse clients 3) Willingness to pay a premium price for personal services 4) High volume players 5) Only affluent clients.
  • Proposed Business Model 3: Human Nudges + Technology. This model will work on 1) Do not torture yourself with investing in new technology, use the best technology on rent 2) Client is time-starved 3) Think of a dietician or personal trainer.

Speaker 6: Mr. Saugata Chatterjee- Co-Chief Business Officer, Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management.

  • VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) is a reality of today’s time. This is true across industries.
  • Why VUCA? 1) Technological Advancement 2) Cut Throat Competition 3) Changing Customer Profiles.
  • 6 P’s which should be like the DNA of your advisory business. 1) Potential 2) Practice 3) Patience 4) Proposition 5) Persistence and 6) Passion.

Speaker 7: Mr. Pramod Saraf- Director, SWAN Finance.

  • Professionalism – Customer is the key person, not the manufacturer.
  • Tailored Services – make the customer feel privileged. The entire team must speak the same language.
  • 3 Step Working Style – Client Acquisitions, Systems & Team Development.
  • Industry dispute and regulatory changes are continuous, we have to grow along with it.
  • Clients don’t mind if you are an RIA, IFA, CFP or CWM, etc. He needs you to have a clear mindset about the future – his and yours both.
  • Shift the business management to subordinates.
  • Lifestyle management for the IFA is a must. He should then communicate the same to the clients. Take a month’s break every year, if not at least 2 weeks. If you don’t take such breaks, you make losses in business also. If you are not able to change your lifestyle, you won’t be able to showcase that you are valuable.
  • Innovative Price Model – Adopt a price model that suits you, not the customer. First, be convinced yourself about your fees. Only then you’d have the conviction to charge such fees to clients.
  • Ideal Clients – Millennials, because tomorrow will be about them.

Speaker 8: Mr. Harshvardhan Roongta- Principal Financial Planner, Roongta Securities.

  • We see our present and plan our future, God sees our future and designs our present. See-through the situation, come what may! Don’t succumb to it.
  • Kaam (Do it without expectations), Naam (It becomes a pull factor) & (you are eligible for)
  • Have a flexible service offering for clients, all clients don’t want comprehensive financial planning. Provide need-based advisory and give full value proposition for your fees to them.

Speaker 9: Mrs. Kavitha Menon- Owner, Probitus Wealth.

  • Client’s themselves forget about their investments. They are surprised to learn about the investments that they made and forgot about. You must act as an aggregator to provide a one page Networth Statement to them.
  • HNIs look to organize their finances rather than generating returns. They want someone to systematize their finances.
  • The advisor’s job is to ensure that their clients are aware of the risk and rewards of the financial instruments.
  • A fee-based advisory is a long term relationship.
  • We charge for our knowledge and skills acquired over the years, not for the few hours of work that go into servicing them.

This came to the end of a day’s great learning, unlearning and relearning journey. I would personally like to thank Sadique, Priti, the NFP Regional Mumbai Taskforce team and the Network FP team for the wonderful show.

Be Invested, Be Simple, Be Blessed, Be Happy…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *