FY 2016-17 had been a momentous year for Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs). Talking about the road ahead, a few IFAs tell us about the emerging trends to watch in the coming year.
One of the major trends most advisors are eager about is increasing use of online platforms. According to Nisreen Mamaji, MoneyWorks Financial Advisors, online platforms are already gaining prominence among advisors and the future will see only more advisors making the switch. “I think going forward advisors will join hands with online platforms. This ensures that we give a more customised experience to our clients. Today platforms like NSE, BSE and initiatives like eKYC have made it possible to make transactions paperless, increasing the efficiency of IFAs and enabling them to concentrate on acquiring new clients,” she says.
Fee based models
With the regulator pushing asset management companies (AMC) to reduce the expense ratio, which will eventually reduce trail commission, Lovaii Navlakhi, of International Money Matters, feels that more advisors will shift towards a fee-based model. “With the likelihood of a reduction in commissions, advisors will have to look at charging their clients to compensate for the loss of income from manufacturers,” he says.
“I also expect consolidation in the advisory space. Players who are unable to align themselves to the changing market needs will partner with more prominent players who enjoy superior technological advantage,” he adds.
Fintech is the future
One interesting trend today is that of fintech products, including robo advisors. According to Suresh Sadagopan, Ladder7 Financial Advisories, the current generation understands technology better and is more at ease when dealing with a robo. “These people have grown with mobile phones and computers from a young age. They are more comfortable booking a ticket online or reading an eBook. So it is natural for them to be more comfortable dealing with robos,” he says.
“If advisors want to attract the Gen Y, they need to start thinking like them,” advises Suresh.
Demand for equity
Equity is gaining popularity among investors. Dhruv Mehta, a Mumbai-based IFA, feels that in the coming year equity funds will gain more popularity. “Today investors are no longer hesitant about investing in equity. In fact, many of my clients who invested primarily in debt products have started asking for equity funds. One of the major reasons for this is the increasing popularity of the systematic investment plan. This trend will continue in the coming year,” he says.