of YS Capital is among India’s top mutual fund advisors. The turning point in his career was Deepak Parekh’s timely advice
to focus on financial services.
computer systems engineer from Arizona State University, Yogesh Sharma floated an
IT consultancy firm called YS Computers in India in 1994. His firm specialised
in offering consultancy services to companies for setting up their entire IT
infrastructure. However, he discovered that his company was treated more as a
hardware supply firm. Not many Indian companies, except some MNCs, were willing
to pay a fee for his services, as it was entirely a new concept back then.
about this, Yogesh turned to Deepak Parekh of HDFC for advice. Deepak wanted to
know about the value that Yogesh added to his business. Yogesh said that it was
“service”. Deepak told him that financial services would be the next big thing
in India. Heeding his advice, Yogesh enrolled with IRDA in 2001 and later with AMFI in 2004.
Since then there has been no looking back. Some
of the country’s eminent lawyers, doctors, Bollywood celebrities, top officials
of wealth management firms, HNIs, NRIs and corporates became his clients. Despite
his hectic schedule, Yogesh also managed to devote some time to his IT
To develop his skills, Yogesh immersed himself into
financial market research. The real transition from IT services to financial
advisory happened in 2008-09, when he completely wound up his technology services
business. By this time Yogesh had built up a healthy client base from his
existing IT clientele. “Our niche was always in the corporate and HNI segments.
We don’t have any retail or walk-in clients,” declares Yogesh.
Early focus on debt funds
“Debt funds were absolutely unknown. A lot of
our clients did not know about liquid funds. They had kept money in current
accounts which didn’t yield any interest. Many HNIs who received income from
property as rent were parking money in savings accounts. Other financial
advisors would not tell clients about liquid funds as they didn’t earn any
remuneration,” recalls Yogesh.
Since his emphasis was on the corporate
segment, he concentrated on debt funds from the outset. A lot of advisors have
very recently moved towards debt funds, after witnessing the financial
His success mantra is that you have to give the
right and honest advice to a client even if you lose business. When banks started
offering 9.5% on NRO deposits, Yogesh told his NRI clients to move their
investments to banks. Yogesh lost a lot of business but he’s happy that he gave
honest advice to his clients.
Since Yogesh focuses on corporates and HNI clientele, it
often takes six months or even a year for him to convert a prospect to a client. For instance, one of his clients knew the
owner of a well-known movie production & distribution house. Yogesh used to
meet them socially and he was often asked for advice on markets and investing.
“He used to show some interest but nothing
moved beyond that. It took him more than one year to finally call me. After
meeting him I found that six relationship managers from different banks were managing
his portfolio. He initially gave us some corpus to manage and then eventually
all of it. I faced a lot of resistance from these banks when this client
shifted his portfolio. His corpus has grown tremendously now. Now his wife,
son, and father-in-law are also investing through us. If you give proper advice
to even a single client, business automatically flows in,” says Yogesh.
Once trust is established, Yogesh says that
clients treat him like a medical professional, and they have open discussions
with him. “We have not faced any redemptions except in personal emergencies. Clients
have not pulled out money even in adverse market conditions,” claims
He operates from an industrial area in Sewri in
central Mumbai and plans to move to a bigger office in upmarket Bandra. Yogesh
wants to enter the retail market but is treading cautiously and waiting for
regulatory clarity. YS Capital caters to 220 clients with assets under advisory
Rs. 250 crore in mutual funds. After the entry load ban, Yogesh had to cancel
his plans to open branches in Pune and Chandigarh.
Yogesh is one of the founding members of the
recently established Foundation of Independent Financial Advisors (FIFA) which
seeks to develop and represent the cause of IFAs all over India.
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