Heeding her dad’s
advice of pursuing a career in finance, Bangalore-based Dilshad Billimoria has
established herself as a prominent advisor in the south.
Dilshad was keen to
pursue a career in hotel management but her father spotted her knack for numbers.
He encouraged Dilshad to get into finance and she agreed. Today, Dilshad is
among the most revered advisors in the south. In 2008, Dilshad was nominated by
CNBC Financial Advisor Awards as one of the top 3 advisors from the South. She also
has been a MDRT qualifier since 2002.
She attributes her
success to her father’s timely advice. After graduation, Dilshad earned a Bachelor’s
in Business Management majoring in Finance. She began her career in 1998 with a
large distribution firm for a brief stint of 1.5 years. She was always keen on
setting up her own advisory firm and so she floated Dilzer Consultants in 2001.
“The passion to strike out on my own was all consuming,” says Dilshad.
insurance and mutual fund advisory, Dilshad became a CFP to offer full-fledged
financial solutions. She has written 30 financial plans so far.
Many of her clients whom
she was catering to at the large distribution firm continued to take advice
from her. Newsletters and referrals helped her grow the client base further. Referrals
came to her without any solicitation. “My client base has been consistent from
12 years and gets new clients mainly through references. Though my clients are spread
all over India, a majority of them are in Bangalore. I have a few NRI clients
too in Dubai and US,” says Dilshad.
Being in the Indian ‘silicon valley’ – Bangalore, Dilshad
tried to tap younger workforce in the IT companies through presentations. However, the turnout was disappointing as saving did
not seem to be a priority for them. Wiser with this experience, she prefers to
work with older clients. “The age profile of my clients is between 35
to 60 years, since I am comfortable with clients who consider their finances
important and are also well-informed of the market and their goals,” says
advice during the 2008 crisis helped protect her clients’ portfolio. “We insist
on goal based asset allocation for our clients but with the recent market
volatility in 2008 and 2010, we have protected the downside risk in most
portfolios by changing debt equity allocations to 60: 40. We feel this stance
would remain for the next six months,” explains Dilshad.
Post the entry load
ban, Dilshad started charging a percentage fee based on the assets under
advisory from over 120 clients. She gets 80% of income from 20% of her clients.
Dilshad refrains from enrolling
clients who seek advice from multiple advisors. In fact, she has on occasion severed
relationships when her recommendations were ignored.
Dilshad only works
with well-performing fund houses that sustain their performance over the long
term and are able to protect the downside during a crash. She is usually
cautious in empanelling with new fund houses until they have a performance to
boast of. She doesn’t encourage advising new fund offers either.
Though she has a team
of three women who deal efficiently with back office and customer queries, Dilshad
single-handedly writes all financial plans herself for all her clients.
“Our USP has been ‘deliver’
more value than asked for, understand needs in detail, understand risk, provide
for active portfolio management, engage with the client, share and imbibe trust,
and walk through his/her goals as if they were yours,” says Dilshad.
Dilshad’s case again
proves the fact that though less in number, women advisors have been successful
in making their mark in the mutual fund industry.