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Business Development 5 tips for budding IFAs

5 tips for budding IFAs

Read on to find out what strategy a new advisor should follow.
Kanika Bhargav Feb 26, 2018

What does it take to become a successful financial advisor? How do I cope with the struggle of the initial years in the advisory business? These are some of the questions that perturb all budding IFAs.

We spoke to a few leading advisors to find out what advice they have for those starting out in the business.

Get your plan peer reviewed

Get your mentor or your senior to peer review your first few financial recommendations or plans. It will help you gain confidence before presenting it to your client. It also makes you a better planner, because they can point out errors in your recommendations that you may miss.

Chennai based Ramesh Bhat, of Aniram, suggests having a financial plan peer reviewed is the best way to check mistakes. “Initially, every IFA makes mistakes. If an IFA approaches a client with mistakes in his financial calculations, or may be in recommendations, it creates a negative impression. So, budding IFAs should approach a knowledgeable person or his mentor to get their recommendations reviewed before presenting it to the client.”

Spend time on marketing

The initial years are crucial in the advisory business. Budding IFAs should focus on marketing their business instead of spending time on back-office work.

Ramesh believes that in the initial years, budding IFAs should focus 10% on servicing and 90% on marketing. “To focus more on development, IFAs should hire an assistant right from the start to handle his back office work. By doing this, he can carve out more time to concentrate on day-to-day business that will help him in growing his network,” he says.

Invest in yourself

Make sure to spend a small percentage of your earnings on yourself. You can invest in grooming yourself through trainings, events and educational seminars. Investment should be done carefully with defined goals. For instance, if you want to improve your communication skills, join a soft skill training programme; if you want to understand how you can grow business, attend industry conferences.

Kavitha Menon, of Probitus Wealth, advises: “Attend seminars, workshops and training courses that develop your soft skills, give you insights on this business, answer all the queries you have and help improve your conversion rate. These skills are helpful in the long run and boost confidence and personality of a budding IFA.”


Mentors help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and work on areas that need improvement.

Learning from role models is a good strategy. Kavitha Menon says that she always asks budding IFAs to work with their role model.  “In the initial few months, always work under someone whom you look up to. It helps you gain experience and learn the right pitch and etiquettes while dealing with clients. Also, a mentor will give you customised suggestions, based on your unique circumstances and professional interests,” she adds. Kavitha should know. She worked with the late Parag Parekh in her initial days.

Let your website reflect the work you do

Many clients prefer to go through their advisor’s websites, before doing business with or approaching him. So, make sure you have a website that clearly reflects who you are and the work that you do. It doesn't have to be super expensive or fancy, but it does have to be good, because your potential clients will look at it.

Nasreen Mamaji of MoneyWorks Financial Advisors, lays a lot of emphasis on the website. “It should have the details of the services and products you offer, ensuring clients understand what it is that you do. Your website not only showcases your credibility, but also creates your brand image and builds your social reputation,” she says.

“Add client testimonials, professional certificates and client stories to show your credibility to your clients. Also, make sure that you put up relevant content on your website as you are demonstrating your experience and professionalism,” she adds.

We spoke to a few leading advisors to find out what advice they have for those starting out in the business.

Suresh Sadagopan, Founder, Ladder7 Financial Advisories, suggests that budding IFAs should ask for referrals to grow business. “Initially, your goal should be to help your clients in all possible ways, be it planning for their taxation, or updating their bank passbook. Be keenly attuned to their needs and adapt based on their feedback. When you give people what they need, they will start trusting you and giving you an opportunity to ask them for referrals,” he adds.

Suresh also feels that budding IFAs should be ready for challenges in their early days. “IFAs should understand that the first few years will be very difficult. Only after a few years, will they be able to generate a reasonable amount of income,” he says.

Gajendra Kothari of Etica Wealth Management believes that an IFA should keep a check on the expenses. “In my view, budding IFAs should use technology for mutual fund transactions and CRM as it will help reduce expenses and save time. Your clients will also feel comfortable working with you if you provide online services, as they do not want the hassle of signing multiple cheques and application forms,” he says.

Another advice that Gajendra has for budding IFAs is recommend funds having less volatility, such as balanced funds and debt funds. “Many investors are not comfortable with negative returns, and it is safe to create a positive first impression,” he adds.

Satish Pandey of Imperial Investment Consultancy believes that budding IFAs should focus on knowledge and relationships in the initial years of practice. “Budding IFAs will have to ensure that they understand the products, markets dynamics and prospective clients very well. Do your homework before approaching any prospective client,” he said.

On building a relationship, the best way is to disclose your own portfolio to clients, Satish said. “You can share with your client the investments you have made and the returns you got from them. Also, you can show them your professional qualifications and achievements. These disclosures will help you build trust and strengthen your relationship with clients,” he added.

Gaurav Mashruwala of A Cutting Edge said that an advisor should have clarity of thought. “A budding advisor should know what he actually wants to achieve. He should have a plan for the year ahead, detailed with quantitative and qualitative parameters such as AUM, referrals, new client acquisition and client engagement,” he said.










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1 Comment
Ajay Tiwari · 6 months ago
Very helpful
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