Reinventing your advisory practice

By Ravi Samalad |  22-05-20 | 
 
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About the Author
Ravi Samalad is Assistant Manager - Editoral for Morningstar.in.

In a country where the penetration of mutual funds is abysmally low, the need for financial advice will only grow. This is evident by the fact that many foreign entities are looking for a share of the pie in India’s growing wealth management industry. In 2015, General Atlantic picked up 21.61% stake in IIFL Wealth. In 2018, a clutch of investors picked up another 5% in the company.

In the recent past, players like Paytm, PhonPe, MobiKwik, Zerodha and a host of other start-ups are trying to disrupt the traditional advisory practices by offering digital solutions.

Thus, individual financial advisers have to reinvent themselves to keep up with the competition. Here are some tips to help you take your practice to the next level.

Client Engagement

Studies show that highly engaged clients give referrals and demonstrate loyalty. Businesses need to constantly be in touch with clients through various touchpoints. Some advisers cater to many clients, spread across the country. Thus, keeping in touch with all of them could be a challenge. Today, we have the benefit of technology to bridge boundaries. Advisers can utilise emailers, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to keep connect with clients. Among these, use a tool that best suits your needs.

Education

Markets today are integrated with the global world more than ever before. The advent of social media is helping clients receive information round the clock. Not all this information can be relevant to the client. News can instill fear and anxiety among clients. Thus, it is imperative for advisers to constantly educate their clients on investments, the nature of markets and the economy. Clients who are educated and understand that you are acting in their best interest are less likely to doubt your advice.

Knowledge

Financial markets are complex, and this requires advisers to be on top of things. Advisers need to invest in upgrading their skills and knowledge by acquiring relevant technical and soft skills. This will in turn help advisers offer sound advice to clients. Ultimately, client trust in the adviser will strengthen if they know their adviser is highly qualified and possesses the right skills to manage their money.

Technology

The need to be equipped to work remotely using technology has been felt by businesses and individuals in these times like never before. Today, most of you transact online for buying groceries, paying electricity bills/credit card bills through apps, using video conferencing app to interact with clients and so on. In an era where margins are increasingly coming under pressure and competition is heating up, advisers need to adopt technology and automation to improve efficiency. Many advisers are already benefitting by transitioning to online platforms like Mutual Fund Utility, NSE MF II, BSE StAR MF, etc. This is helping them expand geographically without additional costs. Other areas where technology could help are customer relationship management (CRM) tools, research, portfolio view through website and mobile application.

Feedback

Getting constructive feedback is essential for all businesses. This information helps businesses to fill gaps and improve services. It helps you measure client satisfaction. Advisers can get feedback from their clients and there are many online tools available to source this information. Clients will appreciate that you value their opinion are working towards providing them the best services.

Invest

Starting an advisory practice doesn’t require heavy capital infusion, at least for someone starting an individual practice. Traditionally, many distributors catering to retail clients start a business without an office or staff. Once they acquire a decent asset under advisory, they rent an office and hire staff. However, some distributors struggle to grow their business beyond a point. There could be many reasons for this. One of the reasons could be that they have stopped investing in the business. Any business, including an advisory practice, requires some money to be plowed back to fuel new opportunities for growth. These growth opportunities could come from investing in hiring sales staff, building a website, mobile application, opening an additional office in a new location, building an in-house CRM/technology platform and so on.

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