Bhushan Mahajan, the man behind Pune Investment Advisors
Association, talks to Cafemutual on how his group is trying to educate
investors in Pune about fee-based financial planning. Though launched recently,
it has already become popular among Pune IFAs.
When was the group formed? What prompted
you to start this group?
formed this group in July 2011. We were a group of 20 wealth advisors and
distributors attending a diploma course in wealth management organized by
Pramerica Mutual Fund. We used to meet every week. All of us are very serious
about our business. During breaks at those sessions, we used to discuss how the
industry is changing, our approach with clients and new products etc. Often the
discussion would be about the successful methods of our fellow IFAs. That was
the time we thought that we should form a group wherein we can share ideas and
also add value to every member of the group.
idea caught on with all the members. After evaluating the various legal
structures, we decided to register our
group as Association of Persons (AOP). This was the fastest way we could come
together as a group. Our membership started expanding very fast. We are trying
to figure out if we should register PIAA as a Section 25 company. We are
currently formulating our constitutional bye-laws for the group.
core team members are Sandip Bhushetty, P Gurushankar, Ravindra Kulkarni,
Nilesh Karkare, Manoj Munot, Avinash Patankar, Hiten Shah, Kedar Kulkarni and me.
members will retire by rotation every year so that there is continuity in
leadership and new people get to head the group.
What is the objective of your group?
main objective is to equip ourselves to face the challenges of this industry.
We wanted to understand the problems faced by the IFA community and address
them. We thought of organizing training programs by roping in AMCs. We also try
to organize events on our own. Apart from this, our aim is to create awareness
about fee-based financial planning among investors in Pune. Training is our
these broad objectives, we wish to achieve the following:
- To work collectively to promote our advisor
work as a respectable profession to AMCs, investors and other stakeholders in
- To understand the various concerns, problems
of the independent financial advisors and to represent them at the appropriate
- To represent Pune-based advisors before other
advisor associations, AMFI, and SEBI.
- To organise training programmes for the
benefit of advisors and keep them updated with the latest developments in the
- To recognise advisors for outstanding work in
the field of advisory.
- To clearly define the role of advisors.
- To hold investor education and awareness
programmes and to stress the importance of asset allocation and financial
planning through long-term investing.
- To have regular interaction on a monthly
basis to share the best practices in the industry.
- To support advisors for upgrading their
knowledge and infrastructure.
- To create employment by educating and
- To increase the small savings habit amongst
people and reach the interiors of Pune.
slogan for PIAA is “Enter to Learn and Learn to Serve.”
How many members does your group have?
formed this group with 20 members. Currently, the group has around 105 members
and many more are joining every month. We conducted a small survey and found
out that there are around 300 active IFAs in Pune. We targeted 100 IFAs
initially. By the end of this year, we should have 200 IFAs enrolled with us.
How are you reaching out to fellow IFAs?
have created a group on Facebook which is called ‘Pune Investment Advisors
Association’. Two of our core committee members are trying to reach out to more
members around Pune through this social media platform. We send all the updates
to our group members every week through email. The response has been excellent.
We will soon communicate with all group members through PIAA's SMS network. We
get 100% attendance without sending any reminders.
Is there any membership fee to join your
fees are Rs 1,000 for joining the group and Rs 2,000 is the annual membership
What activities does your group
undertake? How often?
organize one programme per month. In the last 10 months, we have organized
around nine programmes.
have organized training programmes on soft skills, portfolio management with
diversified products like debt, equity, gold, etc. We have also covered topics
such as customer service, technology upgradation to serve customers,
communication skills, and a workshop on software used for regular business.
What kind of activities has the group
undertaken so far? Highlight any events or activities that you are proud of.
than training programmes, we have organized a blood donation camp which we feel
as a group would support and add value to the needy in society. The event was supported by Mirae Asset Mutual Fund. The blood
donation camp received huge support and more than 200 friends and customers
participated in the campaign. It was a great success for all of us. We are
happy that our customers and friends have confidence and trust in us.
important event we organized was an IFA conclave on ‘Challenges before the
Independent Financial Advisor: The Roadmap to Investor Wealth Creation'. We
have also participated in group activities and brainstormed on issues like
sharing circulars of regulators, understanding the nuances of the business,
what could be the right strategy in the current market scenarios for advising
our clients, etc.
conduct events in various parts of Pune. Our last event was held in association
with Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund. We had a programme on how to decipher and use
factsheets to the best advantage of clients. We are planning a programme on
commodities soon. We have also done a programme on debt products.
Do you interact with AMFI/SEBI on the
issues in the mutual fund industry?
the group will be one year old soon, we are in the process of organizing our
roles and responsibilities, keeping in mind the number of members joining the
group. We regularly share the views, circulars and guidelines given by AMFI and
plan to meet officials at AMFI/SEBI to inform them on the initiatives that we
are taking and seek their guidance for further improvement and directions.
What kind of support do you get from
have regular meets with the officials of various fund houses. Based on inputs
from various members on the kind of training programmes they require, we seek
the support of AMCs and have content developed on areas like soft skills,
marketing strategies, customer service, regulatory guidelines, customer
awareness programmes and so on.
are playing the role of a guide and are assisting our members for building a
good brand for their business through proper education and training programmes.
What are your plans for the group?
soon we will complete one year. We plan to have a meeting to share ideas, what
all went well in the last year, areas of improvement and additional support
that the members feel they require. There are also plans to start a series of
training programmes in the areas of soft skills, financial planning and
portfolio management with the support of AMCs.
plan to organize investor education and awareness programmes in various parts
of Pune where a group of 5-6 advisors in the locality will be benefited and the
investing community in the city will also benefit. We also intend to take up
some very important issues concerning IFAs and represent the same in front of
the appropriate entities for resolution.
PIAA will also enroll with other IFA Associations like FIFA and IFA Galaxy.