Hailing from a family of silk merchants, Srikanth Matrubai did not know that destiny had other plans for him and he would end up dealing in stock markets.
He was barely 18 years old when he was hooked to markets. “My father was a silk merchant but I did not have any inclination to join my family business,” recalls Srikanth.
Due to his grandfather’s insistence to help him in the business, he joined his family business. However, he wanted to continue his education. Along with helping his grandfather, he joined an evening college to continue his studies. “I was the first person in my family to complete my post-graduation,” says Srikanth.
Since it was an evening college, he made friends with people who were working and some of them were stock brokers. Being a commerce student, he had some theoretical knowledge about stock markets. He was fascinated with markets after spending time with his broker friends. To gain practical exposure, he started visiting the stock market.
To earn quick returns, Srikanth started investing in markets. So amazed was Srikanth with the power of stocks that he started recommending his friends and relatives to invest in stocks. “I invested Rs. 1,000 in a stock which rose to Rs. 4,000 within a month. This had such a profound impact on me that I invested all my money at one go.”
But soon, he repented his investments in stocks as he lost all his savings in the 1992 crash. “The 1992 crash made me realise one should not invest all savings at one even if the markets are performing well,” recalls Srikanth.
When asked what inspired him to get into mutual fund advisory, Srikanth says, “When I was into stock broking, I had invested in mutual funds as well. Back then, there were not many AMCs. I remember I made my first MF investment in 1996 but my focus predominantly was on stocks. The 2000 crash taught me that one should not over expose to one particular sector. I learnt not to put all eggs in one basket.”
Due to this crash, his portfolio’s gains in stocks were not only wiped off but capital eroded to a great extent. Surprisingly, his mutual fund investment, which was very less, did really well. Srikanth feels that this incident made him turn to mutual funds in a big way.
There was very low acceptance for MFs when Srikanth forayed in mutual funds. “People were shocked that I was talking to them about mutual funds and not insurance. Every agent was peddling insurance those days. I got absolutely zero support from my friends and my relatives. I could have minted money selling ULIPs which were offering 35% to 40% commission instead of the paltry 2% offered by MFs.”
His clients were willing to take stock tips from him but were not ready to invest in MFs. Not giving up, he evangelised the benefits of investing through MFs. Srikanth believes that his aim was always clear - creating wealth for his investors in an ethical way. Finally, his efforts paid off. “ULIPs got massive negative publicity and the fortunately the funds which I had recommended to my investors had given above average returns and people started approaching me to take advice on mutual funds,” he recalls.
His formula to acquire clients is through education. The Bengaluru based adviser caters to more than 650 clients and conducts IAPs to reach out to new prospects, “I conduct IAPs at least twice a year. My IAPs are interactive as I make my investors come on stage and speak. To encourage audience participation, I keep quizzes and gives prizes to winners. I never push products in IAPs. Rather, I stress on the power of compounding and the benefits of investing through mutual funds and staying invested for the long term,” says Srikanth.
Besides referrals, he also gets clients from social media where he is very active. He is known as the social media king among his peers for sharing unique health tips and amazing facts on WhatsApp.
Also, he is very choosy about his clients. To make sure that he only onboards his ‘ideal clients’, he exchanges a minimum of 10 emails to 30 emails with prospects to know them well.
According to Srikanth, one of the easiest ways to build trust is by being transparent and honest with clients. Interestingly, whenever he meets prospects, he apprises them about direct plans and give them an option to go direct while educating them on the value he adds. Almost always, his clients prefer to invest in regular plans through him.
Over the years Srikanth says he has learned two things:
- Learning should never stop. You have to keep your mind open and adapt to changes every day.
- Never try to experiment with the client’s hard earned money
Advice to budding IFAs and his memorable moments
Srikanth believes that, “Do not pursue clients but pursue knowledge. I have always believed that being honest with your clients and keeping their interest at the heart of everything will ensure that your clients become your friends. You need to be a partner in their financial journey.”
When asked to share memorable moments, Srikanth recalls, “One of the most memorable moments was when my client invited me to do the inauguration of his new office. The Chief Guest was a local MLA but I was honoured when the client asked me to inaugurate the office.”
“Another memorable moment was when I was at my client’s new clinic inauguration and he introduced me to her doctor colleague as “Please meet Srikanth Matrubai who is my Wealth Doctor.”
While Sirkanth has built a good client base over the years, he says that the journey has just started for him. His aim is to grow further. His goals are to acquire clients through IAPs and go completely paperless. “I am planning to adopt a paperless approach and have everything online so that I can on-board client from across the globe,” says Srikanth.