Sangeeta Jhaveri, the founder of Prescient Financial Solutions is one of the top women in the financial advisory community. Jayshree Pyasi finds out how Sangeeta became a successful IFA
Soon after completing her CA, Sangeeta Jhaveri started doing audit for big corporates. Working for others was somewhat unusual for Sangeeta as she comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Soon she realized that the job was not adding anything to her skills and knowledge.
Seeking more challenges she quit her job and had small stints at a couple of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs). Curiously it was the time when CRB scam broke out and most of the non-banking finance companies were finding it difficult to stay afloat.
Frustrated with collapsing NBFCs she realized that the next big thing on the horizon were mutual funds. She decided to dabble in MFs through her own company and in 2000 she floated Prescient Financial Solutions with a female ex-colleague.
Sangeeta had a humbling and trying experiences during the initial phase. Her first office was in a business centre and the room was a mere 100 square feet. She with her partner used to sometimes work till midnight but Sangeeta used to find the process exhilarating.
“I idolized my father and wanted to set up my own business from scratch just like him. Even when I was struggling to make ends meet in my firm I was always thinking that: why did I wait so long to start my own business,” reminisces Sangeeta.
She approached the customers who used to earlier deal with her for bill-discounting. These clients had surplus money that could grow with suitable short term MF schemes. Her initial sales and marketing was driven by cold calling. Incidentally this strategy gave her the first big break in the form of Himachal Futuristic who gave her a business of 225 crore in 2002. After that the business kept on pouring in from HNIs and corporate through referrals. Since then, there has been no looking back for her.
The support system
It is said that behind every successful man there is a woman but Sangeeta’s story proves that behind every successful woman there is a man. In her case the man behind her success is her husband, a constant motivating force. An owner of different businesses, he never participated in any aspect of Prescient but was a source of guidance for equity funds.
“My husband had a sound knowledge of equities and he used to help me in analyzing equity funds,” says Sangeeta.
The all women team
Sangeeta presides over an all female crew of nine. On asking whether it was a conscious decision on her part, Sangeeta says, “It was serendipity that I kept on hiring female employees. When I look back now, I think I made those decisions because I had immense faith in the sincerity and loyalty that women naturally posses.”
Prescient Financial Solutions
In Prescient the majority of client money is parked in liquid and debt funds with AUM ranging anything between 150 and 800 crore at given point of time. The firm caters to a total of 500 clients with an AUM contribution of 40% HNIs, 40% corporate and 20% retail. The firm has a team of CAs, financial planners and MBAs who focus solely on advising clients on products.
“Clients want to work with someone who can understand their goals and motives. Having a financial planner on the team helps us and our clients in gaining clarity about their goals with reference to money,” says Sangeeta.
Sangeeta believes her firm is different from others in its ‘Simplicity’. The transparent and simple procedures with which they work has evoked a level of trust in their clients.
Her expansion plans for Prescient would depend heavily on how the regulatory changes pan out and wants to take every day as it comes.
Advice to Advisors
Sangeeta believes that in this turbulent regulatory environment it would be beneficial for advisors to hold their horses before making any strategic decisions.
“Let the tide of change slow down before you start building a bridge,” cautions Sangeeta.