Vijay Maheshwari, one of the best known IFAs in Kolkata is reputed for
doing comprehensive needs assessment of his clients.
was 11 a.m. when I stepped on the busiest street in Kolkata and the only whole
sale market of the metro – popularly called Barabazar in my quest to meet Vijay
Maheshwari. Negotiating the narrow lanes crowded with people, rickshaws and
small trucks loaded with goods, I finally located the estate in which his
compact office was located.
before narrating his success story wanted to make certain things clear. “I earn
my main revenue through life insurance business. I am unable to devoid too much
time to the mutual fund business as I am single-handedly managing all my
business,” he said.
then went to narrate how he got into advisory business through mutual funds. The story goes back to the year 1991, when
Vijay was working with a private firm. To supplement his income, he started selling
mutual funds (Unit 64), postal deposits beyond his office hours.
a bid to grow his business, he went along with his friend to meet a big business
man in his office at ‘Barabazar’. Vijay expected the businessman to help him
with some reference to expand his part- time business. But the man’s behaviour had
put Vijay and his friend into a shock as he bluntly refused to help Vijay.
the duo felt dejected, Vijay’s friend saw a silver lining. He told his friend
Vijay, “You can be a good insurance agent.”
was surprised hearing this and he promptly asked him, “Why do you say so?”
friend replied, “An insurance agent hears everything what a client says whether
good or bad and accepts it with a big smile. That is what I saw in you today.”
by his friend’s encouraging words, three days after the incident, Vijay went to
LIC building which was right behind his office. He enrolled for an insurance
agency and left his job three months later in 1992.
I quit my job, I was earning a package of Rs 1.54 lakh per month. I thought if
I struggle and work hard for two years, I will be able to match the same pay or
earn more,” recalls Vijay.
was unaware of the obstacles he had to face after quitting. Used to a fixed
salary every month, it was hard to meet the expenses with irregular income in
the business. Second, the insurance
business was already crowded with too many agents.
order to differentiate his services, he started advising clients on their
complete portfolio of investments. In his initial days, he started by selling
life insurance cover and mutual funds to owners of small and medium
was difficult to crack clients because people were not ready to take any life
cover. So in his first meeting with any
client, he would not introduce any product. He only tried to know the client,
his background and his financial needs. After having a detailed discussion, he
asked the client for a second appointment where he would introduce different
product needed to meet his goals.
love to interact with my clients. And till the time, I don’t feel satisfied and
confident about his financial background, I keep on asking him various
questions,” he added.
detailed procedure of providing his service has made him a successful IFA. “ If
in the first meeting the client tells me that he want life insurance or he
wants to invest in a fund then there is something wrong with the client or me,”
he manages portfolio of over 700 families. The trainings conducted by AMCs have
exposed to the range of products in the market. He is a big fan of some of the
best performing funds and believes in investing in mutual fund through SIPs.
claims, “The concept of SIP has become popular only over the last four years.
Earlier we used to advise mostly lump sum investment to clients.”
he suggests his clients to invest through SIP in old funds which have got good
performance track records. He does not promote NFOs nor advises anyone to
invest in them. Vijay follows an important principle in life – if you can sell
a product to yourself then only you can sell it to others. Following this principle, Vijay regularly
invests through SIPs too. He handles
only 100 SIPs and plans to expand it in a year’s time. He usually briefs the
client about SIPs and shows him a track record of ten years for any fund he
suggests. This helps him to build the confidence in clients and also to expand
offers a complete financial services basket to clients and he advises clients
on gold and real-estate besides mutual fund and insurance.
As for the future of
his business, Vijay says that his son does not want to handle this business as he
is currently working with ICICI Bank after studying from the prestigious Delhi
School of Economics. His daughter is still studying but he wants his daughter
to take over the business.