On Thursday, I have received a WhataApp GIF from an ex-MF CEO, which talks about how the power of teamwork makes the impossible possible (“The power of teamwork makes the impossible possible”).
It was just a motivational message for me like many others in my inbox until I came to know about Kolkata IFA Tejpal Singh Bagga who along with his partner Atri Ganguly built an AUA of Rs.88 crore in little over a year, all because of teamwork. Ganguly is also Treasurer of Independent Consultant Advisor Association (ICAA).
Let us look at their story.
After completing MBA in finance, Tejpal Singh Bagga joined Karvy Stock Broking where he was responsible for mutual fund distribution. Over the next 13 years, he worked with a few brokerage houses expanding their third party distribution business. Since he had grown up in a business family, Bagga had always wanted to do something on his own and financial advisory was a natural choice for him.
However, Bagga dreamt of building one of the largest distribution firms of eastern India. He knew he couldn’t do it alone. He met his friend Atri Ganguly, his colleague at Right Choice Securities who shared a similar entrepreneurial dream.
Both Bagga and Ganguly left their jobs and floated Vrishank Advisory in July 2017.
To begin with, Bagga and Ganguly partnered with Soumik Saha, Sarbani Sadhu Das, Dipendu Khanra and Soumik Das who were their colleagues. Bagga believes, “Since the beginning, Ganguly and I have wanted to grow with team. We have seen organisations grow because of employees. However, retaining talent is the major roadblock that an organisation faces. As a startup, we could not afford to lose our key partners and hence, we made them partners in the business. This gives them a sense of ownership in a company.”
The team of six including Bagga and Ganguly had a good rapport with their clients and they managed to convert 150 clients (25 clients each) with an AUM of Rs.30 crore.
Currently, the advisory firm has a team of 16 members with 4 CFPs.
Growing from here
With a dream start like Sachin-Sehwag opening jodi, the next challenge for the team was to grow client base and assets under advisory.
Bagga believes that AMFI ‘Mutual funds sahi hai’ campaign has created curiousity among masses but they need education to understand mutual funds. He and his team decided to use IAPs to acquire new clients. “We can address investors in groups through IAPs in one go. We believe it is the most cost effective way to acquire new clients.”
To start with, the team approached corporate employees through their HR department. Since HR is responsible of holding welfare activities in a company, IAPs go well with their objective, said Bagga. In these programs, Bagga underlines the importance of wealth creation, higher education, comfortable retirement and so on.
Another activity they do is holding knowledge sessions for existing clients and their friends and family members. The team has segmented their clients based on their age and profession. For instance, a group of salaried individual in the age group of 25 to 40 or a group of small business owners in the age group of 40 to 50. This helps them to customise their pitch to suits the need of the target audience. Also, the team requests their clients to bring at least five guests with them. In these sessions, they talk about the performance of mutual fund schemes and give insights on issues that matter to people such as the upcoming elections and their impact on markets.
The team also conduct investor awareness programs in small towns and villages such as Purulia. “People in south Bengal have money but they don’t know where to invest prudently. In fact, Purulia contributes highest life insurance premium for LIC India. Hence, we have decided to hold our sessions in these locations.”
They conduct these IAPs with the help of AMCs. “AMCs help us with good IAP tools and material. They also help us spread the word in these locations about our IAPs through advertisements in hoardings and announcements. Such advertisements help us get audience in a place where we don’t know anyone.”
Post the event, the duo aggressively follows up with the people who attend their events. The strike rate is usually 15-20%, which means that 20% of the people who attend their IAPs give them some business. The business comes from both his existing and new clients who attend IAPs.
Apart from Kolkata, the team has opened an office in Durgapur to cater to investors in the adjoining districts. The team also offers multiple financial products such as insurance, mutual funds, corporate bonds and so on. In fact, the team has recently started offering loan products such as personal loans, business loans and home loans to their clients. “We want to be a one-stop solution for all the financial needs of our clients. This helps us increase wallet share and ensures that client will work with us for the long term,” said Bagga.
Bagga told Cafemutual that offering loans make business sense for advisors. “Distributors can earn 50 bps points on the loan amount.”
Thanks to the teamwork at Vrishank Advisory, they have built a base of 1000 clients with assets under advisory of Rs.88 crore and a SIP book of Rs.1 crore in just a little over one year proving once again that teamwork makes the impossible possible.