Kolkata advisors Vikash Baid and Sundeep Mohta entered the mutual fund distribution business quite late. They have run a flourishing stock broking business ‘Trust Capital’ for the past 15 years. However, their interest in mutual funds was piqued when they saw a large chunk of their client’s portfolio moving to mutual funds. Eager to get a pie, they too added MF schemes to their product bouquet last year.
First things first – on-board existing clients
They first started with their stock broking clientele; as many of them were already investing in MF through other distributors, they requested them to start some investments through them. This got them their first 80 clients. Moreover, they also got some referrals from their existing clients. They converted most of referrals by explaining to them the benefits of goal-based investments and how mutual funds were ideally suited for reaching their goals, no matter what they were.
Devising a school-focussed strategy
Vikash and his team approached top schools in Kolkata to conduct financial awareness session for parents.
The team customises sessions based on their target audience - parents of students under class 10 and parents of students in 10th standard and above. For parents of students under class 10, the team advises them to start planning for their child’s graduation. They share data on fees and expenses for foreign education so that parents understand the scale of the task; following this, they give them advice on how to achieve this goal by regularly investing for the next few years via SIP.
For parents of students in 10th standard and above, the message is, it is not too late and if you start saving now, you still have 7-8 years on your side. You can build a sizeable corpus for your child’s masters during the period.
While goal planning for child is common, targeting top schools have helped them get a little over 200 clients in a short span. It has also helped them build a SIP book of nearly Rs. 80 lakh.
‘Target corporates, which invest direct as it’s the least competitive segment’
Vikash and his team targets corporates and semi-corporates with treasuries of Rs. 100 – 500 crore investible corpus. They have shortlisted around 50 such companies in Kolkata. To gain their confidence, Vikash initially offers to review their portfolio and advise them free of cost.
These corporates can invest through direct plan while testing how effective is their advice. After a few months, once the clients get comfortable, Vikash gives the corporate two options. Either conduct the company’s broking operations through them or put 15% of the company’s investments through regular plan while the remaining amount they can invest direct; in both cases, Vikash and the team will advise them on their entire portfolio.
Realising the value of their advice, four corporates have already hired them while another 12 have committed to hiring them in the next 18 months.
Dividing responsibility across the team
There are six members in the team. While Vikash handles products and client advice, Sundeep handles sourcing. Getting that initial appointment with big clients or school management committee is Sundeep’s responsibility. A third member handles client servicing, the fourth handles operations while the balance two handle sales support function. This division of responsibilities helps Sundeep and Vikash keep complete focus on client acquisition.
Regularly connecting with clients
Vikash believes that out of sight is out of mind. Thus, they have a well-defined process to connect with their clients regularly. Every month they send portfolios between the 1st and 5th. Second, they send periodic market update mailers to all clients. Finally, they schedule half-yearly portfolio review meeting with clients to review their portfolio and recommend any change if necessary.
The team’s belief in the quality of their advice and novel strategies adopted by them have helped them build assets of Rs. 90 crore and acquire 300 HNI and corporate clients in a short span of a year. Next on Vikash’s radar are clients in B30 cities.