While his mother Zeenat Jagani founded Composite Investment Services in the mid-nineties, Azeem Jagani joined Zeenat after a brief stint in corporate sector in 2003-04. In a chat with Cafemutual, Azeem shares with us why he joined the family business, his client acquisition and retention strategies and the way forward.
A second-generation advisor
Azeem had seen his parents invest in stocks and mutual funds through their own stock broking arm right from a young age. Fascinated by the growth potential of stocks and mutual funds, he invested in some blue-chip companies and large cap funds. Though he was a keen investor, the advisory career did not appeal to him in his youth.
Fresh out of college, getting a regular paycheck seemed more alluring than joining the family business for him. His first job was in the sales team of a private sector bank where he got a good exposure to different financial products. After a few years, following his friends’ footsteps, he decided to quit job and move to airline industry. However, his parents convinced him to consider their family business. Talking to his parents, he realised that the advisory business had huge scope for growth. Discussions with his relatives and friends revealed that though many of them wanted to invest, they did not have the necessary knowledge to do so. This motivated him to enter the business in 2003-04.
Sharing his experience with the advisory business, he says, “We have a diverse client base. Be it a vegetable vendor or a HNI each of them have goals. On boarding new clients and helping them achieve financial goals gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
Azeem runs financial awareness campaign at Carter Road and Bandstand in Bandra in the morning. The aim is to spread investment mantras such as ‘invest regularly to achieve financial goals’ and ‘just as running keeps you fit, investment in mutual funds keeps you financially fit’. In these campaigns, he encourages people to try out mutual funds by starting a SIP of Rs. 1000.
He also conducts investor awareness sessions at Khar Gymkhana regularly. To convince prospects that he puts his money where his mouth is, he often shows clients his personal account statements. This way, the clients get convinced about the sincerity of his recommendation.
Another activity he does for client acquisition is asking for referrals. Though most of the referrals come naturally to him, he make it a point to ask his clients specifically during the review meeting.
Client engagement mantra: Stay connected, stay relevant
Azeem believes that nothing beats a face-to-face discussion to engage with clients. He schedules half-yearly meetings with all his clients. In these meetings, he tries to understand if there have been any changes in the client’s life such as marriage, child’s birth, which would require reworking their financial gaols. These interactions also help him understand if his company’s service meets client expectations. For outstation clients, he conducts these meetings over phone or on video calls.
Azeem makes it a case to meet around 15-20 clients a day. Before each of these meetings, he does his homework on the client’s holdings and his financial plan to optimise his interaction. To cater to his salaried clientele, he keeps his office open on Saturdays and sometimes even on Sundays.
Apart from these meetings, he regularly shares newsletters based on topical issues such as impact of LTCG tax on equity funds and reason behind the current market rally.
To engage with his clients on social media, he shares these articles on Facebook and wishes them on their birthdays and anniversary.
Technology + efficient back-office team means quick client servicing
Azeem follows these client-servicing activities.
Be accessible: Azeem is just a call away for his clients. This gives his clients confidence that their queries will be addressed quickly. The regular interactions helps him stay connected to his clients.
Query resolution: To ensure prompt resolution of queries he has a dedicated back-office team who resolve client requests and help him answer client mails.
Monitoring and online transaction: The firm has a dedicated website where all their clients can access their investment details at their convenience. Clients have a unique login id and password to access their investments. This has reduced portfolio related queries, giving his team more time to handle other client requests.
Stay updated. Be on top of your game
Azeem makes it a case to keep himself updated on the latest market happenings. To this end, he regularly attends conferences and reads industry updates and research reports. He also connects with fund managers to understand their market outlook and investment rationale.
Thanks to efforts that he has put over the years, Azeem caters to 5000 clients managing assets of Rs.350 crore in mutual funds. Despite having such a large client base, he is still passionate about acquiring new clients to grow with them. He says, “I do not subscribe to the view which says small is beautiful. India is a growing economy and many people require advisors to invest their hard earning money in mutual funds.”
Azeem is a shining example of how to staying in constant touch with your clients and providing them impeccable service can help advisors grow business.