‘I want IFAs to get a positive energy when they meet me’

Bengaluru-based adviser Srikanth Matrubai shares his journey in financial advisory.
By Morningstar |  28-09-18 | 

Bengaluru-based Srikanth Matrubai’s family wanted him to join his family's  silk manufacturing business. But the idea of working in a factory with machines didn’t fascinate him. Since the business had been doing well, his cousins joined the family venture, giving education a miss. Srikanth was averse to drop out. "I’m the first person in my big family to complete graduation," says Srikanth.

Unfortunately, Srikanth lost his father when he was just eight years old. Srikant started visiting the factory. At the same time, he continued his education by attending evening college.

First brush with stock market

In the college, he met a student who used to work with a stock broking firm. While commuting in bus with his friend, Srikanth used to chat about stock trading. Srikant’s curiosity about stocks only grew. At that time, HDFC Bank had come out with its initial public offering and his friend nudged him to apply for it. Srikanth borrowed Rs 1,000 from his mother and got an allotment of 100 stocks at a price of Rs 10 per share. The stock listed at Rs 40. In temptation, he sold all stocks immediately. Today, he regrets his decision.

Since then, Srikanth has been an avid equity investor. He burnt his fingers during the Harshad Mehta scam. Similarly, the technology bubble taught him some valuable lessons in investing.

The turning point

Meantime, his friends and acquaintances started seeking his advice on stocks. Having lost money in markets, Srikanth discovered that dabbling in markets could be a risky affair, especially for risk-averse investors. Instead, he advised people to invest in balanced funds. Personally, he also started investing in mutual funds.

After a few years, he received account statements of his investments in mutual funds. The returns generated by funds surprised him. He thought he could not have made so much money by investing in stocks himself after putting in the time and effort in research.

This drew him towards mutual funds. He decided to become a mutual fund adviser by joining hands with Bajaj Capital as a sub-broker. After a few years, Srikanth discovered that he was receiving good revenue as trail income which nudged him to expand his business further.  The turning point of his career was in 2014, when he started networking at industry events. Srikanth says that interacting with peers in events made him realize the potential of mutual funds and the important role of advisers. He looks up to Sanjay Khatri, Kanak Jain and Milind Shah as his mentors.

To grow his mutual fund book further, Srikanth started blogging on www.goodfundsadvisor.in. He started promoting his blog posts on social media. This helped him expand his client base. Subsequently, referrals from existing clients had a multiplier effect on his asset base. He did not have do cold calling. During his prospect meetings, he discloses his personal account statements to build trust.

Slowly, his blogs got noticed by media. Now, he is a regular contributor of articles to various publications including  Bengaluru-based magazine called Profit Plus. Srikanth will be speaking on the benefits of mutual funds at an event organized by the media house next month in Hubli, Karnataka.

Srikanth believes in learning from peers and actively motivates fellow IFAs. Recently, he conducted one event for Foundation of Independent Financial Advisors (FIFA) in Bengaluru. He will be conducting more such learning events covering topics like mastering social media, growing business through referrals, by inviting IFAs specializing in these topics to share their learnings. He doesn’t wish to monetize these events as they are purely meant for knowledge sharing.

He is the admin of 14 WhatsApp groups which cater to different segments of IFAs. Some groups also have AMC CEOs. “These groups are meant for knowledge sharing and getting industry updates. Thought leaders are in group 1. If members don’t follow the group protocol they are moved to group 2,3,4 and so on and ultimately removed,” explains Srikanth.

Message to advisers

Srikanth has assets under advisory of Rs 70 crore in mutual funds. But he feels he could have achieved more had he concentrated his efforts on mutual funds early in his career. Nevertheless, he is now working as if there’s no tomorrow. This is something which he actively advises his peers who get demotivated with regulatory hurdles and competition. Srikanth draws analogy of the stock broking industry which once enjoyed brokerage of 2% on every transaction. Today, the brokerage has come down to 0.05%. He says squeezing margins consolidated the industry and only serious players sustained. Similarly, he says that despite the headwinds, advisers should focus on growing their business by increasing volumes. “Advisers should not change their course according to the direction of the wind. They should force the wind to change its direction,” advises Srikanth.

Srikanth cautions his peers not to sell flavor of the month products or schemes which qualify them for junkets.

Personal life

He has two daughters – Hrishika and Sneha who are studying in school. Srikanth says that his younger daughter Sneha is more inclined towards finance and investing while Rishika wants to become an interior designer. “Sneha is familiar with many concepts like SIP, SWP and STP. She shows a keen interest to learn about mutual funds. I would be happy if she joins my practice but it would be her choice. My wife Kavitha has joined the business from 2016,” says Srikanth.

This post is authored by Ravi Samalad.

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