‘More than 80% of our clients are first-time MF investors’

By Ravi Samalad |  22-01-22 | 

Dhanya V R started her journey in financial services as a relationship manager with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Her second stint was with Tata AIA Life where she rose through the ranks in a decade-long career. During this stint, she also pursued Certified Financial Planner (CFP) to hone her technical skills.

Second innings

Dhanya realised that she could offer a holistic solution to her clients if she started her independent practice. She took the entrepreneurial plunge in 2017 by starting Wealth Plus Financial Solutions (now JDI Wealth). Her business has grown swiftly due to her ability to connect with people and client-first approach. Since Dhanya was in touch with a lot of clients from her stint at insurance firms, most of them started investing in mutual funds through her.

What started as a single-person firm now has seven employees with assets under management of Rs 65 crore in mutual funds serving 600 plus families. With SIP book of Rs 75 lakh, the firm caters to all segments of clients, retail to HNI. She has clients who have committed SIP of Rs 1,000 per month to Rs 10 lakh per month.

Dhanya believes in serving all clients equally, irrespective of the ticket size, a principle she never compromises on. This has helped her win the trust of clients and get a steady stream of references. Most of her clients are working in UAE.

Sensing the potential of the business, Dhanya’s husband Jose Prakash TS, an ex-banker, has joined the firm recently.

Dhanya has observed that while mutual funds are gaining popularity due to the advertising blitzkrieg, there is still a lot of ground to cover. She has been organising investor awareness seminars/webinars for the last four years on topics such as retirement planning, beating inflation, building an emergency corpus and securing one’s life through critical illness and life insurance. “We have acquired a majority of clients through these awareness seminars. So far, we have reached out to 10,000 investors through these workshops,” says Dhanya.

Dhanya is also a member of Business Network International (BNI) for the Thiruvananthapuram chapter. This helped her expand her connections.

Technology

Dhanya realised that she has to adopt technology if she has to grow her practice and expand her geographic footprint. She set out on a goal to go completely digital in 2020. She enrolled herself with BSE Star MF in January 2020. “Technology has been a boon for us. During the lockdown, we were able to initiate most of our transactions online,” says Dhanya. They also offer a mobile app and web login facility through the website for clients.

First-time MF investors

Of the 600 clients they are currently catering to, 500 clients are new to the industry with no KYC. “Most of my clients didn’t know about mutual funds. They considered gold and real estate as investments. Our webinars and IAPs have been an eye-opener for them,” says Dhanya.

Handholding

Dhanya’s and Jose Prakash see a huge opportunity for advisers waiting to be unearthed. “There is space for everyone. The last two years have been good for markets. When markets fall, advisers' role becomes important. Every fund and stock has performed in the last 18 months. Do It Yourself (DIY) investors will require adviser’s guidance during market turbulence,” observes Dhanya.

Journey ahead

Dhanya is working towards reaching the Rs 100 crore milestone in 2022 and aspires to grow it to Rs 1,000 crore by 2030. Dhanya and Jose Prakash have already chalked out a plan to realise this goal.  To expand their business and strengthen their client engagement activities further, they plan to hire to add three more members to their team.  Dhanya envisages that her firm will have 50 staff by 2030.

When Dhanya is not advising clients, she is involved in social/charitable causes for the upliftment of women in Kerala. She is the Secretary of CSI South Kerala Diocese Women’s Fellowship which has been conducting mass marriages since 2016.

Dhanya has two daughters Jewel (9) and Isabel (6).

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