Tell us about your journey as a financial advisor.
I saw many instances of inappropriate advice during my six-year stint with AMCs. For example, a retiree who was investing in FDs throughout his life was sold an equity scheme. Seeing all this, I felt that investors would appreciate an advisor who would guide them purely on basis of their needs. This motivated me to start on my own.
Right from the beginning, a fellow distributor has been like a mentor to me. In fact, this distributor gave me initial leads. I remember him telling me, “Akshay, I am unable to do justice to these two clients. Would you like to work with them?” Since then there has been no looking back.
How do you go about acquiring new clients?
For client acquisition, I rely on referrals. Whenever I meet with my existing clients for their portfolio review, I ask for referrals.
How do you engage with and service existing ones?
For servicing clients, I mainly rely on technology. In 2011, I launched a mobile app through which clients could monitor their portfolios. Clients could easily log-in for any basic portfolio related queries. However, I am just a call away. I make a point to be accessible to them 24*7. Additionally, I connect with them periodically through face-to-face meetings.
Why and when did you decide to digitalize your business by subscribing to online transaction platform like NSE NMF II?
Around 40% of my clients live outside the Delhi NCR region and many of them live outside the country. Servicing them was proving to be quite a task. I had to ensure that we collected all the required documents at one go. Also, the bigger challenge was during redemption. Ensuring that we got in touch with the clients, collected the signed slips and processed the transaction before cut-off time was difficult. Moving our business to the digital platform thus, was a logical move. Now we can process these transactions at the click of a button. Clients too have to call us and approve the transaction from their mobile.
Why did you go for NSE NMF II? What is that NSE NMFII provide which other such platforms do not?
NSE NMF II was the first online transaction platform, which approached me. I was aware that NSE is the biggest stock exchange in India. Moreover, I was cognisant of the strong compliance practices of the bourse. This gave me confidence to shift my business to them. I believe that I have to ensure that the client data remains secure and private. Furthermore, clients are also not worried about their bank account security while registering for ACH mandate as NSE has being handling online financial transactions for a long time.
How has the platform helped you grow business?
Registering with NSE NMF II has drastically reduced turnaround time and manpower required for processing transactions. Also, it has made any portfolio restructuring exercise remarkably easy. Initially, the entire process of redemption and then investment in a new scheme took a few days. With the platform, you can process it quickly.
In fact, I am utilizing the saved time to enhance knowledge, connect with our clients and evaluate client portfolios. In my experience, online platforms have dissolved geographical boundaries in terms of client acquisition and service, which has further boosted business.
Apart from execution of transaction, which functions in NSE platform have you used the most?
Right from the beginning, I integrated the Application Program Interface (API) functionality with our mobile app. Through API, we can place an order on behalf of clients and link this facility to website. Also, clients will be able to do transactions on their own through API.
What are the areas of improvement in NSE NMF II Platform?
Well one area, which could do with some improvement is back-office turnaround time. However, I have heard from NSE NMF II that they have increased their back office team to reduce the turnaround time and serve their distributors better.
Another point I would like to point out that at times, the complete client data is not populated in the system when you on board new clients. This may be due to incomplete data received from R&T agents. NSE NMF II officials told me that distributors can upload client data on their own to reduce such discrepancies. Also, in my knowledge, this facility is unique to NSE NMF II. This may reduce transaction rejections substantially.
Why do you think that distributors should use online platforms?
I firmly believe that those who do not adapt with time perish. Digitisation is the need of the hour. Clients appreciate the seamless service that you are able to provide, thanks to digitisation. I motivate other advisors to move their business online. This will help them reap the benefits of faster transaction times and enable them to target clients across cities.