Home to the country’s dairy cooperative movement, the city of Anand is also known as the Milk Capital of India. According to a media report, the city is also a base for NRIs who held more than Rs. 1,000 crore in NRI deposits back in 2014. This presents an opportunity for advisors like Pranav Patel who work tirelessly to promote mutual funds among investors in Anand, a majority of whom still prefer to invest in traditional fixed yielding products.
His father being a chartered accountant, financial planning and investments is ingrained in Pranav from an early age. A Commerce graduate and LLB, Pranav says that he started investing for his retirement at the age of 23. After finishing his higher studies and a short professional stint overseas, Pranav came to India to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams. Along with his relatives, he picked up stake in J K Securities. Founded in 1995, it is one of the oldest brokerage houses in Anand. He took charge as the Director of this company in 2008.
Pranav inherited a legacy of more than 20,000 clients having Rs. 1,500 crore exposure to direct equity. While a majority of his clients are direct equity investors, he is now trying to build his mutual fund base. In fact, Pranav aspires to transform his firm from a brokerage house to a company which would offer a compressive suite of offerings under one roof.
An avid investor himself, Pranav has been investing in mutual funds since 2003, much before he started advising the category. Having experienced the merits of mutual funds first hand, he introduced mutual funds in his company’s offerings in 2011. Since then, he has built assets under advisory (AUA) of Rs. 50 crore in MFs with a SIP book of Rs. 45 lakh. A large part of his MF business comes from SIPs.
Pranav has been championing the benefits of investing in mutual funds among his direct equity clients. “Investing only in direct equity and that too without doing research poses a risk. I’ve been urging clients to invest in MFs as they are managed by professionals which helps diversify risk,” he says.
Other than NRIs, Anand is also home to a lot of affluent farmers. Among Pranav’s customers, is a farmer who does a SIP of Rs. 4 lakh per month through him. “Yet another farmer who grows tobacco is investing a part of his profits from the produce in MFs because he believes that the demand for tobacco will go down as people become more health conscious. This is a good example of diversification and generating new sources of income,” says Pranav.
Pranav’s company has over 30 franchises and his aim is to start selling mutual funds through each of these. A few of his franchises are already active in mutual funds. In fact, some of his direct equity clients have been using NSE MFSS platform to park money in liquid funds after selling stocks. “Clients prefer to park their profits in liquid funds instead of taking it into their bank accounts. This is a healthy sign,” observes Pranav. Technology is playing a crucial role in mobilizing assets in mutual funds for Pranav, especially for NFOs. Citing one such success story, he says, “I collected a sizeable sum of money for BSL Manufacturing Fund using the stock exchange platform. This was one of the highest collections in India for B15 locations.”
Pranav has been actively promoting mutual funds at Investor Awareness Programmes (IAPs) and by organizing seminars in colleges, government and private offices. “I conduct at least two IAPs a month. Also, I’m spreading awareness about mutual funds, particularly SIPs, among government officials, teachers, CAs, association of doctors, professors and teachers in colleges,” he says.
Pranav says that as compared to a few years ago, mutual funds have become quite popular in Anand now. “Now, people say that they have at least heard about mutual funds which was not the case earlier. This is the result of IAPs conducted by advisors and AMCs in Anand,” observes Pranav.
While investors in Anand are generally known to take risk, a section of the population is still inclined to fixed return products and often mixes insurance with investments, as is the case with many investors across India. “Investors pay huge premiums for endowment plans and think they are making investments. I have been trying to shatter this myth. I’ve been teaching the importance of having a term plan and SIPs and explaining them to look at investments and insurance with two different lenses,” says Pranav.
Thanks to his unflinching effort, Pranav has been adding many new clients in MFs. He says that serving this rapidly growing client base would not pose a problem because he has the technological backing and the support of a large team.
Nevertheless, he is determined to achieve his goal. His target is to reach Rs. 100 crore AUA in 2016 by leveraging his franchises.
Pranav’s vision to transform his company from a brokerage house to a financial planning services firm is commendable. With the help of technology, his franchises and his never-say-die attitude, we are sure that he will surpass his goals very soon.