Keep it Simple

29 Jul 2015

With so much buzz around technology and innovations in our industry, it is but natural for IFAs to feel that if they don’t plunge headlong into either or both, they run the risk of being left behind. The straight talking Brijesh gives us a clear perspective on the way forward, after observing numerous successful IFAs, particularly the unsung heroes of this fraternity from smaller towns. His message is clear: keep it simple. His golden words of advice: “There is so much noise around that we are not able to listen to our own convictions. Kill the noise and create your own voice. Respect others but believe in your own ability.” Read on as Brijeshshares 9 points that will really put you onto the road of sustainable success.

By virtue of travelling extensively across the country, I got opportunity to meet some of the finest IFAs (most still unknown to the outer world due to their humility and low profile). These IFAs are busy growing their business inch by inch while the world is advocating speed. These IFAs are insanely committed to their existing clients and growing with referenceas compared to many others who are applying strategies to double their clients every year. Such IFAs are willing to change with time but not willing to let go of basic fundamentals. Each of these IFAs has their own uniqueness. Some are already at the top while many others will reach their in a few years from now. I put below some ideas which I got from such under-rated IFAs which can work better than all other strategies put together. While these ideas may sound simple but they have the power to give wings to any IFA who wish to fly high and long over the rest.

  1. Meet clients regularly. Keep showing your face to the client irrespective of whether new business is not expected or market condition is bad. If you don’t meet your clients regularly, you will definitely lose them someday. There is no point having thousands of clients if you don’t meet them even once a year. They remain in your list making you feel good but chances are they are not giving business to you anymore.
  2. Review client’s portfolio regularly. At all times, keep complete understanding of the client’s portfolio that you manage. Even if there is no action proposed from either side you must review the overall affairs of the client at periodical interval. If you always keep the client’s portfolio in mind, the client will always keep you in mind.
  3. The discipline to sell SIPs. You can never become big enough to stop selling small SIPs. No matter how big you become overtime, don’t ever underestimate the power of SIPs. It helps you grow your business and also gives support to the client’s portfolio in good and bad times. You should target 1% of your AUM as your monthly SIP book.
  4. Quality. Quality is like the foundation of a skyscraper. It takes time, effort and willingness to ensure solid platform but once you have a rock solid foundation, you can build a towering structure over it. Don’t worry about short term results and gains. This is a proven and time tested thing.
  5. Grow your team. Generally, this business starts with one person. But as you grow, make sure you grow your team which can handle transactions and servicing of clients. This will help you go out and sell more. A penny spent on backend service team can enable you to earn a dollar more.
  6. Get inspired. Don’t copy. Every IFA is different and have different circumstances and business model. When you see a success story, get inspired but don’t try to copy it. Rather, identify your own key strength, resources, vision and build your own story around it. What works for others may not work for you. What works for you is good enough for you to become a role model for others.
  7. Welcome technology but don’t become possessive.A lot is being spoken about the role of technology at various forums. I don’t undermine the importance of technology but I think it is more hyped than real. Technology, for most IFAs in this profession, will just act as a service and support mechanism rather than a sales tool. Yes, a handful of intermediaries will scale their business to great heights with the use of technology but it will require different skill set and capital. IFAs should be open to embrace technology rather than become possessive about it.
  8. Innovation. Again, there is a lot of buzz about being innovative to grow. I think this business is pretty simple.Innovation, at best, should be left to product manufacturers and regulators. Mutual fund as an investment vehicle is simple. It just needs boring & routine things to be done by IFAs in a disciplined manner day in and day out. That’s it.
  9. Relationship & Trust. Eventually, this business is all about relationship and trust. An IFA who will enjoy trust of his client and keep it simple can one day manage thousand’s of crore in AUM.
  10. There is so much noise around that we are not able to listen to our own convictions. Kill the noise and create your own voice. Respect others but believe in your own ability.

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