Jaykant Dand started out at a pathology lab in Malkapur, a small city in Vidharbha Region near Akola, Maharashtra. As a lab technician, he got an opportunity to meet people across various social strata. To supplement his income, he took up mutual fund distribution in 1984 at one of his friend’s suggestion.
The independence that the financial advisory profession gave him along with the satisfaction of helping people make better financial decisions got him to focus increasingly on the financial advisory profession. Soon he left his job at the pathology lab and became a full-time financial advisor.
Although he was providing both insurance and investment options initially, Jaykant now concentrates only on mutual funds. Today he has 1400 clients and manages assets worth nearly Rs.53 crore, most of it being in equity.
Acquiring 1400 clients
Village adoption programs: Jaykant came upon quite a unique route to acquire new investors. His stint at the pathology lab helped him get in touch with quite a few influential personalities, among them being the sarpanch of adjacent villages. Once while at visiting one such sarpanch’s residence, he was moved by the lack of basic sanitation facilities in their village. This sarpanch requested him to create awareness about health and sanitation in the village.
Jaykant took up this challenge and began various welfare campaigns for the villagers such as health check-up, purifying drinking water and pulse polio. He also started educating the villagers on alternatives of investments and savings.
“I soon realized that villages were an untapped market with a huge potential. These people were earning well for themselves through agriculture and simply putting the money in banks and chit funds. Because of the high regard they had developed for me, many people started trusting me with their money when I educated them about the advantages of mutual funds. When these investors got good returns from the investments, more people were encouraged to invest,” shares Jaykant.
In the year 2000, Jaykant and a group of his friends began a social welfare group called ‘Manogat Pariwar’ under whose banner they identify and support many remote villages. These activities more than anything else, he insists are the reason for his success. According to Jaykant, his clients remain loyal to him because they do not see him merely as a financial advisor but as their well-wisher.
Financial awareness programs: Jaykant conducts financial awareness programs in Malkapur. He believes that such programs not only help people develop an interest in better money management, but also help in acquiring clients. Of course, not all the people attending a seminar get automatically converted into clients. However, by conducting such events he feels that he gets to directly interact with prospective clients and assess their psyche. It also serves to address people’s reservations about investing in mutual funds and get their feedback.
Referential face-to-face meetings: Jaykant feels that a face-to-face meeting leaves a lasting impression in a client’s mind. “No matter how many mails you send or calls you make, when you sit down with a prospect, eight out of ten times he will invest with you. The same strategy works when you want to increase wallet size with them,” he reveals.
When a client refers him to a prospect, Jaykant first gathers information about the prospect, his family size and his interests. He then goes to meet him personally and introduces the idea of mutual funds as an investment option in a way that would appeal most to the prospect.
“Unless you understand who your client is and what his social and psychological needs are, how can you set about fulfilling them? Sometimes the client himself is not sure what he is looking for. Then it is up to the advisor to help him explore what he wants and ensure that he gets it. This can happen only when you sit down with them,” he says.
Once he converts prospects into clients, Jaykant meets with them regularly. This helps him retain them and strengthen relationship. His wife, son and daughter-in-law also help him in his financial advisory business. This makes the task of getting in touch with thousands of clients easier.
Funds selection strategy
Jaykant typically looks at three things before he invests in a fund
Fund Manager: For Jaykant the most important criteria for choosing a fund is the track record of the fund manager. “These are the men who will be deciding where to invest and how much to invest. He banks on the agility of the fund manager to manage the portfolio especially during volatile times. I do not risk investing in funds where I am not sure of the fund manager’s capabilities.”
Fund Performance: The second most important criteria, according to Jaykant is performance of the fund during bearish market. “I prefer to recommend investing in a fund that behaves consistently even when the market is volatile. Even if it is not a high performing fund and delivering just steady returns, I would recommend it.”
Investor age: For Jaykant, another important point in choosing the right mix of funds is the investor himself. “If it is a young investor, I go for 80% equity and 20% balanced funds; for middle aged investor, I prefer to invest 40% equity 40% balanced and 20% conservative funds,’ he says.
Jaykant has recently done a survey in his locality, in which he found that out of 300 families; nearly 280 families have children or relatives studying in Pune. He wants to reach out to these people by conducting awareness programs for them in Pune. “When these people come home, not only do they come to me for advice, they encourage their friends and relatives to come to me too,” he believes.
Jaykant’s story is a perfect example of how advisors can reach out to people using unconventional routes, and noble causes to strengthen their relationship with clients, and create a strong customer base.