Sujata Kabraji, Mumbai: Sujata started out as an IFA in the year 2006. Her journey has been a fairly smooth and fruitful one. After a stint in the Times of India in marketing intelligence, she joined and later ran a stock-broking firm till 2000. Much later, after she become an IFA, many of her clients followed her, having seen and tested her knowledge and capabilities. “My clients have never treated me differently. I don’t think it actually matters to the client if you are a woman or a man,” says Sujata.
Sujata caters to a large number of women investors. Speaking from experience, Sujata says that often women clients tend to be anxious about their ability to handle numbers, usually without cause. She says, “When I meet women, I focus on what they want their money to do for them rather than numbers. This helps them understand that financial planning is not just about getting the numbers right but knowing about the goals and aspirations of their family. In fact, this gradually leads them to realize that they are just as capable of handling financial planning as themen in their lives.”
Talking about trends that are slowly changing the face of the MF business, Sujata says that IFAs could look forward to more consolidation. “I also think that the quality of the advisory business is going to improve, with technology playing a major role in reducing costs.”
Sujata advises budding women advisers to keep up-to-date on trends and technology and simplify their communication. "Keep working at adding value to what you offer and clients will recognize this," suggests Sujata.
Vinita Baraya, Jaipur: Vinita broke social norms when she had set up her business in 2002. She says, “There still is an orthodox approach towards working women in Rajasthan, but if you have the knowledge and the confidence to go along with it, you will soon earn the respect and regard of your clients.”
Asked about the merits of being a woman advisor, Vinita elaborates, “As a woman I am more empathetic towards my client’s needs. My clients know and appreciate this, which is why all my clients have stayed with me from the beginning.”
Vinita advises budding woman advisors to get over their fears and trust their skills. “Women have to work harder, have more determination and go the extra mile to earn the trust and respect of clients. Once you do that, your clients will never leave you,” she advises.
Alka Pramod Chitnis, Satara: Alka has had a very memorable and positive journey in the financial advisory business.
She feels that as a woman advisor she is able to encourage more women to participate in financial planning. “I dispel their fear of numbers and make them understand that financial planning is about goal-setting,” she adds.
“I find that men are more courteous to women and go out of the way to ensure your work goes on without a hitch,” says Alka on her experience as a women advisor. “I feel more comfortable with women clients and prospects. My first task as a woman financial advisor was trying to remove the misconception in women’s minds that they would not be able to take the right call in financial planning,” she says.
Explaining how she empowers her woman clients, she says, “I give them examples which illustrate that investing is no different from savings a part of family earnings for a rainy day. Women are natural planners, more cautious but more disciplined as well.”
Meenakshi Sikchi, Amravati: Meenakshi says her advisory journey has been a happy one, “People have been very nice to me. Investors trust me because they believe a woman will be more cautious,” she says.
Talking about the difference between women and men when it comes to financial decision-making, “I feel women are equally capable of financial planning which is why I insist on sitting with both my client and his spouse when we discuss their financial plan. Also, I feel by involving them in the financial planning process, I ensure that they are on the same page,” she says.
Meenakshi feels that women advisors must constantly educate themselves to stay ahead of competition, “Never miss an opportunity to learn, be it through constant reading or attending seminars and conferences or by learning about the recent technological developments. Keep updating yourself. Your clients will also respect this. And by evolving yourself you will also be able to tap into the next generation of investors,” advises Meenakshi.
Manjula S. Bangalore: Manjula relocated to Bangalore from Chennai. In a new city with a new role, she found it challenging to establish herself as a financial advisor. However, with the support of her family and friends, she slowly established the business.
“Things are better now. I think the only two factors for a woman’s success are her level of confidence and family support. If a woman has both these, she can achieve anything she sets her mind to,” says Manjula.
Sharing trends that are going to change the industry, Manjula feels that the advisory business is in a new epoch of change. “Technology is really advancing; I think in future more of our work will be digitised. In addition, investors are more aware of mutual funds thanks to advertisements and IAPs. I feel the industry is going to see a huge shift in investor’s behaviour in the days to come,” she says
Manjula advises budding woman advisors to keep things simple and stay confident, “Investors like to have concepts explained to them in simple straightforward language. Do not over complicate things for them. Also, be very confident when you approach clients. This will increase their trust in your abilities,” she says.
Wealth Beats applauds the efforts, resolve and the stellar contribution of women advisors across India and wishes them even greater success in the coming year!