For NRIs, financial planning is very important, especially if they plan to come back to India. Additionally, advisors with NRI clients must have an understanding of currency fluctuations, cross-border taxation and income-expenses pattern in the investor’s country of residence.
AK Narayan of AK Narayan Associates says that the biggest plus of working with NRIs is their tendency to stay invested. “Unlike the average Indian residents, I don’t have to keep telling my NRI clients to hold on to their investments. Since most of their investments are made from the surplus cash they have, they only encash their investments when it is time to withdraw. They are not risk averse and mostly prefer investing in equity funds,” he says.
NRIs have similar goals as residents, says D.Muthukrishnan of Wise Wealth Advisors. “Indians are Indians wherever they go. Our goals revolve around the same things. If the client is from a community that spends a lot on weddings, his priority is going to be saving for his child’s marriage. Those who want to provide their children with good higher education will save for that. There is no major difference in the type of advice we give them,” he says.
The main challenge in handling NRI clients comes during the on-boarding process. Mahesh Mirpuri of Invest Mutual says, “Since our on boarding process needs a lot of physical verification of documents, on boarding of NRI clients is only possible when they come to India, especially if they don’t have a Non Resident Rupee (NRE) account and/or a Non Resident Ordinary Rupee (NRO) account.”
Mahesh says he mails the clients a list of all the documents they need to carry in advance in their India trip.
If the client is not planning a trip to India in the near future, AK Narayan says it is better to ask the clients to courier the documents to them so that they do not have to travel all the way. “Usually the on boarding process takes the maximum time as there is so much to and fro mailing of documents,” he says.
Since a few fund houses do not accept investments from the USA, Shifali Satsangee of Funds Vedaa says that advisors have the additional challenge of finding investment avenues for them. “But, apart from these operational issues, advising NRI clients is no different from advising resident Indians,” she says