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Home Explore Striving Success Stories V - Women Day Special

Striving Success Stories V - Women Day Special

Published by tarakkitimes, 2022-02-26 04:47:28

Description: Striving Success Stories V - Women Day Special


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Aniruddha Chaudhuri Head - Retail Sales ICICI Prudential AMC The last one year has been momentous for everyone in the investment related domain and we at ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund would like to thank you for partnering with us through this journey. Over the years, we have increased our product bouquet across asset classes. Through these offerings we have been able to deliver a good investment outcome for all our investors. In this journey, you have played a critical part in the form of handholding investors. Thanks to your perseverance, mutual fund today has created an edge for itself in the personal finance space. For many of you, some of the most defining moments in personal space set course to be where you are today. Through the ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund Striving Success Story Series, we present the life stories of 38 brave women who have not only trail blazed in their journey but also have emerged to be an inspiration and mentors to several more around them. Through this series, we bring the human element of a successful journey. Behind the numbers, is a story of grit, determination and an iron will to make best of the circumstances life throws at them. We hope these experiences shared become a beacon of light for all the members of the distributor fraternity. Finally, if you have any feedback or suggestion, feel free to reach me at [email protected]

Striving Success Stories Abha Gupta insight in to the importance that trust plays in this line of business. Haldwani Gupta vividly remembers the economic crisis of 2008. Abha Gupta, 53, started her journey as a mutual fund “Many MFDs had started avoiding their clients and did distributor in 2005 in Haldwani, Uttarakhand. With over not pick up their calls. But I did the opposite. The clients 3000 clients availing her services --retail and HNIs-- she who came around that time, I personally called them up to has built an SIP book of ` 1.2 crore per month with her assure them to have patience, to not worry. Many of the total assets under management surpassing ` 200 crore. clients took my guidance at that time and then afterwards they saw the positive results,” she said. After completing her education in Delhi, Gupta moved to Haldwani following her marriage. Haldwani being a small These clients went on to refer her services to many of town, the number of career opportunities were limited, their family members and friends, which led to good especially in her area of training. She had already business growth. completed her ICWA but could not find relevant opportunities in Haldwani. The trust built over fifteen years means that Gupta is now working with children or even grand-children of some of This is when her father-in-law (Mr. R.A. Gupta), who was her clients she guided through 2008, and now her an MFD in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, encouraged her to clientele is spread across Uttarakhand, Delhi and even take up this profession. Her husband, working as a overseas - the US and UK. Development Officer in the insurance sector, encouraged her further to not give up. She considers the motivation Another important lesson she would like to share with from her family throughout her career as a key to her new entrants in this business is on mis-selling. In other success today. words, she has maintained her focus on 'clients' needs first'. She recalls how frequently she has to tell her clients She cleared her MFD examination in 2003 itself, but clearly to not invest in equity because “they wish to see started practice only in 2005. The fact that back then their returns within the next 2 months, which is not going mutual fund related awareness was quite low, especially to happen.” outside of metro cities, presented Gupta with an opportunity. But it was also going to be a challenge. This also means identifying appropriate products as per the clients' needs. “Once in my office, two to three clients “In 2005, when I started as MFD, it was quite difficult as were there. I was recommending a product to one of people were more interested to invest their money in FDs them. When the second client asked me about the same, and post office schemes. In those years, the returns on I told them that the product being discussed was not these products were quite good. Most people had no suitable for them,” she said. On the other hand, she also idea about what Mutual Funds are and how they can help counsels her clients to be patient with the invested them with wealth creation,” she said. money as it will grow over time. She recalls how most people she met believed that MFs Going forward, she intends to focus more on her SIP are just like share market investment, and as a corollary, book. Gupta recalls how difficult the time was when she are very risky. “Many people had heard some stories started her journey as an MFD. “Now with everything about the losses someone else faced in their share online, transacting has become quite easy,” she said. market investments. To convince such clients to choose mutual funds instead of the popular investments like For the newcomers joining the business, Gupta just had fixed deposits and post office schemes was quite a four words - Patience, Honesty, Loyalty and Devotion. daunting task,” she said. These also happen to be her success mantra and guiding principles that has led her to a successful practice. With her experience of close to two decades, she has seen several market cycles. These cycles gave her an “If you think about the clients first, then it is surely going to lead to your own gain as an MFD,” she insists.

Striving Success Stories Amita Singh own,\" reminisces Amita about the incident which triggered her entry into mutual fund distribution. Patna In May, 2018 she called it a day and applied for her own Amita Singh, 39, is a Patna-based mutual fund distributor ARN. Amita was confident that she would do good. Her and manages investors' assets worth ` 53 crore. Catering husband lent full support to her and her independent to over 600 clients - retail, HNIs and corporates - she has a journey as a distributor began. monthly SIP book of ` 45 lakh. For her, mutual funds are one of the most efficient tools of long-term wealth She was good at relationship building and was the face to generation which mould themselves as per the needs her existing clients. \"My existing clients gave me the of investors. required initial push and I slowly shifted their investments,\" she says. Amita convinced and educated Being from a defence background as her father was in the her clients that being with her would be a better option. \"I Indian Air Force, Amita was disciplined, clearly focused, could offer several funds of various fund houses which confident and strong on thought processes. She was added diversification in my clients' portfolio,\" she says born in Nashik, did her schooling in Punjab, graduated with confidence. from Gujarat and completed her management studies from Odisha in 2005. Amita believed in clients' interest and knew if her investors do well, she would do good. She capitalised on Post her MBA, she joined a private insurance company in technology as this would help her in cost cuts and save Patna in 2005. A year later, she got married. Amita did not time while being efficient. She opted for a complete trail find the products suitable for investments. Meanwhile, but adds that commission payout was never important to she was a mother of a son in 2008. The same year she her. \"I believed in hard work. AUM and commission were joined a new fund house. only outcomes. I always wanted to work with full peace of mind,\" she outlines her thought process. Her switching job coincided with the global meltdown in the financial market. Since her husband was in a She has a strong conviction in mutual funds and focuses transferable job, she stayed alone with her child in Patna. on SIP. \"They are transparent, offer risk adjusted returns and have liquidity to fulfil the needs of investors. I am \"It was a challenging task for me to have a work life more into the equity side as this asset class is the one balance. Initially, my family supported me but as years which can beat inflation in the long run and create passed I had to look after everything,\" she recalls the considerable wealth,\" she says. With a firm belief that struggle she faced being a working mother. clients' continuous education is a must, Amita always stands by her investors and offers quality services. She Amita stayed with the fund house for a decade till 2018. says that informed investors do not lose their nerves This long stint was full of learning for her as she could see during crisis times. several market cycles, learnt nuances of clients management, bringing in sales, dealing with distributors In 2020, when the market cracked due to the pandemic, while making a brand of herself. very few of her clients were in panic. \"My clients were mature enough to take rational decisions amid the crash. I \"Though it was quite a good learning curve, I could not get made them buy more and they did listen to me as there is the kind of support I should have. At times, it was a strong trust factor.\" With a strong bounce back in the frustrating for me,\" she says while admitting that her market, the relationship between her and clients grew growth was somewhat stagnant. stronger. She then realised that the sales she was bringing in and Summing up her success mantra, Amita says, \"Keep up putting in distributors' code fetched them quite a the good work with focus on clients' interest, give your handsome payout. \"It made me think why not do it on my 100%, don't look at the AUM and brokerage. And most importantly, never break investors' trust.\"

Striving Success Stories Anita Datta Kanbargi should not be less than 8-10 years,\" she opines. Her SIP drive yielded results and she added referral clients. By the Belgaum time the entry load abolition came in 2009, Anita already had quite an adequate AUM. \"We did not face much of the Anita Kanbargi, 51, a Belgaum-based mutual fund impact of decline in commission as we had quite a good distributor, along with her husband Datta Kanbargi, asset which took care of our expenses,\" says Anita who manages investors' assets worth ` 285 crore. She has a did not find it troublesome to get onto the trail-model. monthly SIP book of ` 1.2 crore and caters nearly 2000 retail clients. Anita believes that a combination of smart The lacklustre markets during 2009-13 was an and hard work while taking utmost care of your clients' opportunity for her investors to acquire units at lower investments is the key to do this business. prices. According to Anita, her existing clients are her brand ambassadors who help her reach more investors. Before entering mutual fund distribution in 2005, Anita \"Having a good reputation and long-lasting relationships served in companies in the logistics and manufacturing on trust helps,\" she says. sector. In 1998, she ventured into advertisements for print media as a freelancer. Thereafter, she entered distribution Thanks to her service oriented approach, transparency of postal products and insurance. with impetus on educating clients, she did not face any major brunt of direct plans. \"Some did shift to direct while \"As years passed, I realised that my investors were not many came back,\" she says with a smile. Upfront ban in getting what they should have in terms of wealth 2018 was a non-event for her as she was already on trail creation,\" she recalls. She learned about mutual funds, for several years. \"We got to understand the trail model acquired knowledge and developed conviction in the quite early so outgoing upfront made no difference to us,\" product before taking a plunge in fund distribution amid a says Anita. bull run of 2004-08. The 2020 pandemic did shake Anita for a while as her \"Initially, it was difficult to convince people about mutual asset size squeezed to ` 140 crore from ` 200 crore in a funds as banks' interest rates were quite higher those short span of time. \"It was natural to be disappointed. I days,\" Anita reminisces. \"We went door to door and tried even wondered whether this business could continue,\" to create awareness about mutual funds and how small she says. Investors pulled out money, there was panic all investments through SIP mode can help generate around amid uncertainty, she adds. wealth,\" she says. My husband and I decided that it is a time we should Though it was not a robust beginning, she continued stand by our investors and go full-fledged digital, she pushing SIP among her clients and kept building on a says. \"Since, we and several of our investors already had strong investor-base. \"I was learning and so were my seen several past cycles, we started recommending clients. I knew if I understood about the product, its clients to stay put and if possible invest more,\" says Anita. history and how markets behave; it would be easier for me to take care of my clients,\" adds Anita. Those who listened to our suggestions are quite happy and their relationships with us grew stronger, she adds However, the 2008 crisis was not an easy time for her. while saying, \"It was tough but yet another learning \"Investors were in panic. We tried to educate clients that phase.\" investments were for long-term and that they should stay put,\" reminisces Anita. It was her first crisis management Summing up her journey, Anita says, \"I have grown more and was learning how to help investors. The crisis helped mature and confident about investments which keeps me us mature as it was a great learning lesson, she adds. at ease when it comes to client handling.\" She aims for an AUM of ` 850 crore in the next five years. \"My success Anita used the down cycle in the market to add more SIP. mantra is to keep working with sincerity and patience. \"We could figure out that minimum tenure for an SIP Make investors mature as my growth is implicit in their growth,\" she signs off.

Striving Success Stories Anulekha Verma Initially, Anulekha would recommend investors to start with small allocation. And upon seeing the value addition, Mumbai clients would allocate more. \"I am very honest with my investors and never believe in mis-selling,\" she stresses Anulekha Verma, a Mumbai-based mutual fund upon the need of ethics and integrity. distributor, manages investments worth ` 200 crore of her over 100 HNI clients. With a monthly SIP book of ` 1 When the direct plans were introduced in 2013, it was not crore, she believes that mutual fund is a great tool of undue concern to Anulekha as she was good at capable of turning people financially independent. servicing clients and creating value. \"Direct plans did not Founder of Fission Wealth, Anulekha, a working mother, bother me as for me clients' interest was first and will follows the 'three constant' strategy - Adjust, Adapt and always be,\" she pinpoints with a conviction. Accept. This helps her overcome challenges and move ahead. Being a continuous learner, she knew the up-to-date products and market knowledge. With nearly four years A management student, she got her first job in a foreign into the distribution business by 2013, she already had a bank in 2001 in Chennai. In 2003, post her marriage, she reasonable asset as her number of clients grew and the shifted to Bangalore and joined a budding private bank. In ticket size of investment also rose. 2007, she got transferred to Mumbai and remained in the banking sector till the end of 2009 before calling it a day. \"I could read the writing on the wall. Since I had quite sticky assets which were long-lasting, I shifted to the trail “I thought I had enough of corporate life and desired to do model in 2013 only, much before the complete upfront something on my own. I endeavour to offer clients ban in 2018,\" says Anulekha. According to her, trail was something which they actually needed and not what the something which could align everybody's interest. \"If my banks wanted to pitch,\" says Anulekha. \"I can't do injustice clients' money grows, so would my trail income,\" she to my clients. This business is of trust and relationships,\" emphatically says. Meanwhile, in 2017 when Anulekha she outlines her thought process. became a mother, her husband took a sabbatical only to permanently leave his job as he took tremendous interest Her husband lent full support and her independent in her business. journey began in January 2010. \"I had to build from scratch. Finding clients was not easy. A shift from The 2020 pandemic resulted in a 205 drop in her assets corporate life to my own venture threw its challenges as I from ` 100 crore to ` 80 crore. \"We had prepared investors was on my own and had to look after everything. But I in advance when valuations were higher, and risks were knew that I needed to stand up on my feet if I fall,\" she increasing and reduced equity allocation. Still, investors reminisces. were worried. We never avoided them and gave examples of the previous market cycles and how markets Her existing relationships helped her get the initial push. recovered. I am glad none of our investors left, and in fact Soon she built up on referrals. \"From day one, I had a added more\" she proudly says. She recommended clients client-centric approach with focus on suitable products for staggered investment strategy as managing risks too for my clients with superior service. This gave me was an important factor during the crisis times. immense peace of mind,\" Anulekha explains. Anulekha understands that every client is different - their Since she had entered fund distribution at a time when needs, risk appetite, reaction to crisis and past the market was range bound since the 2008 meltdown, experiences. \"We need to understand clients' psychology she understood the importance of asset allocation. \"You when it comes to money management while serving have to create opportunities from whatever the situation them,\" she adds. is. Educating and making clients informed was part of my process. Many investors had a bitter investment \"Be proud of what you do is my success mantra,\" says experience in the past, so we had to be very gentle in Anulekha. \"If one is passionate, honest, keeps clients' dealing with them,\" she says. interest first with no inclination towards shortcuts, you are destined for success,\" she logs off.

Striving Success Stories Anurupa Chakraborty It was difficult initially though for her. She focused on educating investors and at the same time kept upgrading Kolkata her knowledge. \"Investment ticket size was small as clients were reluctant to put in huge sums,\" she recalls. Anurupa Chakraborty, 45, a Kolkata-based mutual fund distributor, manages ` 300 crore of investors' assets. She As her business took off, the introduction of direct caters 13000 retail clients and runs a monthly SIP book of schemes in 2013 was quite unsettling. \"It was a new ` 1.6 crore. Falling in love with mutual funds, Anurupa challenge to our business. But we knew that to survive in aims for clients' satisfaction which she believes helps this industry client servicing has to be our forte. I was very grow her business. transparent with clients and told them upfront that if they want to go directly they are free to do so, but we would A commerce graduate, she got her first job in an asset not be able to service,\" says Anurupa. management company in the late 90s before she shifted to its insurance arm. After marriage in 2002, a long 10 year Most of the time, she adds, investors do not know what is break ensued. Her husband was into financial product happening in the market. \"In such times, it is our duty to distribution. A mother of two daughters, Anurupa hand hold them,\" she opines. As she kept clients' interest devoted her time to raising her children while looking first, she did not face much difficulty due to direct plans. after the household. Amid debate over trail versus upfront, Anurupa preferred But since she had a background of finance, she always trail due to the long-term nature of the fund distribution took interest in the day-to-day developments in the business. Much before the complete ban on upfront financial world. She was well aware of the market rally came into existence, she was already on trail by 2016. and the unfolding of the financial crisis in 2008 while her \"We could see the writing on the wall that the trail was kids were growing. coming, so we got shifted much earlier,\" she says. In 2012, she joined her husband and entered the mutual During the 2020 pandemic, her AUM crashed nearly 35- fund distribution business. Soon she settled and picked 40%. Since she was used to previous market crashes, up pace. Anurupa says that her job begins when the value such a steep dip did not disturb Anurupa but her clients of investors' money slips into the negative territory. \"We were in panic. need to bring in our professionalism and knowledge during tough times when markets are weak and handling “We immediately came into action and made them clients is the top priority,\" she outlines her job profile. understand that it was not the right time to leave the market. It was time to stay invested and, if possible, they Right from the beginning Anurupa focused on SIP. should buy more. We were constantly on calls reassuring \"Pushing SIP has always been our strategy. The beauty of clients that it is not the end of the world,\" she recalls. SIP is one need not have deep pockets to invest in the market and create long-term wealth,\" she says. However, Majority of Anurupa's clients gave her the heed and during that time, SIP mode of investment was not stayed invested. When the markets bounced back, their popular and was confined only to the informed and trust and confidence in her strengthened further. During knowledgeable urban people, she adds. the pandemic amid lockdown, she completely shifted online. \"We needed to penetrate more as we could not afford to restrict ourselves only to a certain strata of the society,\" Outlining her success mantra, Anurupa, says, explains Anurupa. If you have one satisfied client, he will \"Relationship, continuous services, maintaining bring five more. We are into referral business built on trust transparency, a lot of patience and educating clients are and confidence, she adds. She built a strong network of the essential part of this business.\" It's a long-walk with no people while encouraging women to join this profession. short cuts, she says. \"When satisfied clients This helped her reach out to prospective clients. acknowledge your efforts, you get a good sleep,\" she signs off.

Striving Success Stories Ayesha Fahim Sanchit proposed if he could join her as a business partner in 2019, which Ayesha whole heartedly Bangalore welcomed. Soon they took a call to get into an institutional structure. \"Being an individual, my clients Ayesha Fahim, 47, is a Bangalore-based mutual fund were hesitant to give me a big ticket size investment. distributor and founder of Sansha Financial Services Once we formed the company, the value of cheques along with her partner Sanchit Attawar. The duo manages dramatically increased,\" says Ayesha. investors' portfolios worth ` 40 crore and commands a monthly SIP book of ` 50 lakh while catering to nearly 300 Her partner added values by streamlining the business clients. with the required digital upgrades in order to bring in ease of doing business with increased efficiencies. \"Soon, we Ayesha has witnessed a struggling financial life since her focused on designing the overall portfolio - right from childhood in Mysore. Her father could not continue his job insurance to wealth generation. We were full-fledged into beyond 40 years of age due to serious health problems. financial planning of clients,\" says Ayesha. Ayesha, in her teens then, could see the deteriorating family finances. As she grew older, she tried her hands in According to her, Sanchit and she complement each the catering business and did well. \"This decision was other with their respective strengths. Without which, more out of compulsion but I did not want to pursue it,\" \"probably, it would not be possible for us to have an she recalls. accelerated growth,\" she acknowledges her partner's contribution in bringing the professional touch to the A commerce graduate, she faced a personal loss when business. When the 2020 pandemic hit, it was the first her father passed away in 1998. A year later she got practical experience of Ayesha to deal with the crisis. married. Her younger sister got a job in a foreign bank in \"Initially, I panicked,\" she admits honestly. Sanchit, on the Bangalore. \"In 2001, I shifted to Bangalore as I had to keep other hand, maintained his calm and rationale. \"I realised up to my family responsibilities,\" she says. if I panic, I can't survive in the business,\" she says with conviction. The duo strategised on adapting the STP Ayesha got her first job in a private bank in 2002 which she strategy for clients during the fall. It worked. continued with for six years. In 2009 she decided to start on her own and entered insurance distribution. It was As the dips in the market grew deeper, she went here that she met her future partner Sanchit who advised aggressive and recommended investors to buy more. her to add mutual funds in her product offering. But, \"Clients listened to us and acted accordingly,\" she says somehow, Ayesha did not give much heedto Sanchit and happily as she could navigate her clients. Since from day a few other good friends' suggestions. one, Ayesha's all business was on an online platform and no paperwork was involved, it proved a great help during Till 2016, she had a little over 350 life insurance clients and the crisis. With the bounce back in the market, not only it was going well for her. Soon, her clients asked her to the wealth of clients increased, their trust and confidence add mutual funds and look after their complete finances. in Ayesha and Sanchit got further strengthened. She could not ignore this advice anymore. She got her ARN and ventured into fund distribution. The duo aims to reach an AUM of ` 100 crore in the next two years. \"My journey in mutual funds has been Her existing clientele gave her the initial push and soon amazingly excellent,\" she says with pride. Summing up she built on references. It was a slow start for her as she her journey, Ayesha says, \"Building long-term had an asset size of ` 4.5 crore in 2019. Meanwhile, when relationships with clients and being consistent with the complete trail model became the norm, she faced a regular communication without ever avoiding them is the sudden dip of 60% in her income from fund business as best way to grow this business.\" she was on the upfront. But she did not discontinue. After a few months, things got settled and Ayesha realised the \"There is a feeling of satisfaction when you know your benefits of trail-based payout in a long-term business. relevance in making people financially strong and facilitating them reach their goals,\" she logs off.

Striving Success Stories Barkha Singhani Barkha, good at building relationships, had a sizable client base at her previous employers. They helped her get the Udaipur initial push. Since the market crash was fresh in investors' minds, no one wanted equities. So, Barkha started with Barkha Singhani, an Udaipur-based mutual fund distributor debt funds and asked investors to take just a 20% and founder of Wings Investment, manages ` 30 crore allocation to equity funds. \"Asset allocation strategy is the worth of investors' portfolios. With a monthly SIP book of basic one should stick to. Equities had earned a bad name ` 20 lakh, she caters to 600 clients - mainly retail. during those years, so it was not easy to push more equities,\" she explains. Being from a middle class family, Barkha learnt the value of money quite early. She was into teaching computer With a firm conviction that going forward she would do languages in Baroda. She shifted to Udaipur post her good, Barkha stayed put despite having a challenging marriage in 2002. After settling down in a few months, start. She kept on focusing more on SIPs, added retail Barkha thought to carry on working. clients and worked on referrals. \"I joined as a play school teacher but soon realised it was The markets by then started showing recovery signs not my cup of tea,\" she recalls. In 2004, she got a job in a which helped her clients see gains in their portfolios. \"This private bank. Markets were at the cusp of the bull run built trust and confidence in my clients,\" she says with a then. It was a learning for Barkha as she got opened up to smile. Her investors too were matured and Barkha could an entirely new sector which helped her learn the basics allocate more of their investments into equity as per their of finance. risk appetite and goals. In 2007, as the euphoria in the market continued, she In 2018, when the upfront ban came, Barkha had to face a joined a broking company and got the taste of various 40% decline in her income as she was partially into trail. financial instruments. Barkha's stint with the broking firm \"A little nervous, my husband and I focused on increasing was a great learning curve for her. She saw the market volume and aggressively pushed SIP. It worked,\" she says. rally, witnessed the 2008 crash, and got used to the panic situation prevalent among investors. It was a lifelong Now she is convinced about the trail and considers it as a lesson for her which helped her groom better and aided in fair model for all. \"It motivates to retain clients for as long her future venture. as it is a win-win situation in the long-term business,\" points out Barkha. During this course of time in 2012, Barkha had health related complications and she lost her first baby. It was an The fall of 2020 pandemic pulled her assets from ` 23 emotional stress for her along with deteriorating health crore to ` 17 crore. Since, majority of her clients were on while being in the job. But she did not give up. the SIP mode, the fall was not much of a concern to Barkha. Meanwhile in the broking firm a continuous push to clients to trade despite poor markets did not go well with “Before boarding clients I always tell investors that Barkha. \"It was not fair. My conscience did not allow this,\" minimum tenure needs to be 3-5 years. All stayed put she says. She quit the job with a thought process to start while a few big clients withdrew. Though, there were not on her own. She got her ARN and entered mutual fund fresh investments, but all my SIP continued,\" she says distribution. while adding informed clients don't panic. As markets bounced back, her clients' trust in Barkha strengthened \"It was not an easy start. It took nearly 4 to 5 years - quite a further. struggling phase - to break even,\" reminisces Barkha. \"I was paying from my pockets for all these years,\" she Summing up her journey, Barkha says, \"In this business, adds. She knew that patience was the key in this product knowledge is a must. One needs to be business. transparent, ethical and should think of clients' interest first and treat their money as your own.\"

Striving Success Stories Bharati Sheth around. Though it was against my nerve and psychologically very challenging to take a contrarian call Mumbai when others are pulling out, I initiated investments for my clients\" she admits. Such decisions turned fruitful as the Bharati Sheth, 45, is a Mumbai-based mutual fund market rebounded after a year. The investments made at distributor and founder of Raedan Securities and caters to such crisis times are still there generating an excellent a wide spectrum of clients. Understanding the power of CAGR till date. \"That's the reason, investors who started compounding for wealth creation and relationship with me are still continuing as they could see the wealth building being her core strength, she treated distribution creation journey. Now I am catering to their next business as a way to give back to the society. generation too,\" she proudly says. A chartered accountant, Bharati left her CA practice in While the challenges of various changes in regulatory 2008 and entered full-fledged into channelising savings environment came along, Bharati took all in its stride and through investment in mutual fund and alternate financial continued on her journey with her client centric approach products. \"I realised that to create long-term wealth, \"Eventually, I understood that if I am serving my clients equity is an essential element. Traditional instruments well and adding value to their prevailing knowledge and would erode the wealth over time,\" she outlines her clearing their ignorance, my relationships are going to thought process which made her choose this profession. blossom,\" she explains. Creating wealth for her clients was her foremost priority for them to be financially independent. A strong believer The 2020 crisis due to the pandemic was just another in India's growth story, Bharati sees investments through opportunity to build strong relationships. Having seen the mutual funds as a way to participate in the country's past crisis and her unshakeable faith in India's economy growth and secure financial future. and entrepreneurship spirit, Bharati did not panic. But she admits, \"We are humans and there was panic all over as it When she started, digital platforms were rare and not was a once in a century event.\" She stood strong effective. \"Everything was physical and logistics was a alongside her clients and made sure they continued challenge. It would take away a lot of the productive holding their existing investments. time,\" she recalls. Bharati got the initial push from her existing clients as she had good relationships while in “We humans have inherently evolved with a fighting spirit practice. Slowly, she built on her client base and gained and come out victorious when faced with any crisis. It is trust of investors which later helped her get decent just a matter of time and patience,\" she says. Holding her business from referrals. \"I am into the service industry nerves strong, she could navigate her clients and after a which is based on trust and confidence and that's why I year-and-a-half things came back on track compensating followed client first approach from day one,\" points out for all the worst days experienced. Bharati. She is grateful to her family, relatives, friends, clients and As she entered the distribution, the 2008 crisis unfolded. her team members at Raedan Securities who always But this did not deter her. \"Rather, it was the best supported her throughout the journey. opportunity for me. Despite being a beginner, I went against the tide and put my foot down during those Summing up her journey, she says, \"I love my profession. troublesome times and kept on building business,\" she It's great fun to build the business on the basis of says with confidence. Bharati made sure that her clients relationships and trust while primarily ensuring clients are continuously nurtured and educated with focus on prosperity. I want to build a legacy which would be financial goals. An avid reader and learner, Bharati knew passed on to the future generations with the right that downtrends in the market are the best times to buy approach for wealth creation and achieve financial into equity. independence. It provides immense satisfaction when we experience the subtle change that we can contribute As aptly quoted - Be fearful when others are greedy and in the lives of many and help them in achieving their greedy when others are fearful. \"There was fear all financial goals. The only success mantra is that Customer is King,\" she logs off.

Striving Success Stories C K Vanitha that clients' ability to take risk is one factor and his willingness to take risks is another. \"I focused on both Bangalore these parameters while understanding clients before recommending products,\" she says. She further adds that C K Vanitha, 48, a Bangalore-based mutual fund client portfolios should be well diversified and reviewed distributor, manages over ` 90 crores worth of investors' on a periodical basis. assets while her overall portfolio size along with other products is about ` 540 crore. Catering to 1500 clients - Being transparent with focus on offering and good mostly HNIs, she has a monthly SIP book of ` 55 lakhs. services helped Vanitha build strong relationships. It is Vanitha considers mutual funds as a must have in any because of this, the direct plan did not do any damage to investors' core portfolio and believes there is no her and clients remained with her. Further, her strategy of alternative to it when it comes to long-term wealth offering multiple products did not let her face the brunt of creation. upfront ban in 2018. \"I moved to the trail model even before it was enforced upon. It's a real win-win situation Originally from Chennai, Vanitha comes from a and is for long-term sustainable growth,\" she explains. conservative family and had limited interactions with the external world. When 19, she got married and shifted to She acknowledges that mutual funds have no other Bangalore. The first five years went in settling the family alternative. \"Indian investors are risk averse. At the same as she was mother of two children. time they want the highest of the returns and do not want to lose money. I think, given the risk-adjusted diversified In between, her husband was posted to Chennai. There, portfolio, cost effectiveness. wide range of options to Vanitha joined a financial investment firm in 2002 and invest, transparency and tax efficiency apart from a stepped into the financial sector. \"I was new to this field. I professional money management, mutual funds address took this as an opportunity. Slowly, I developed an interest clients' needs quite effectively,\" narrates Vanitha. in interacting with clients and managing their portfolios,\" she recalls her mid journey during which she saw the big In 2020, when the pandemic hit the market, the bull run in the market then the subsequent crash in 2008. confidence level among her clients was very low. \"I She later shifted back to Bangalore. In the meantime, decided that instead of panicking, we need to be ready Vanitha completed her management studies in 2007. with the alternate course of actions as there was a lot of uncertainty about the future,\" recalls Vanitha. She wasted As Vanitha gained more experience, she was offered no time in connecting with clients and conducted bigger responsibilities. \"By 2008-09, I was into handling webinars to restore confidence and hand held them institutions and looked at portfolios worth above 5 firmly. Though we could not garner more business during crores,\" says Vanitha. An expert in dealing with big clients that phase, we made sure that there were no now, she tried to bring in systematic changes but could redemptions and SIPs were intact, she says. \"I could not find takers. In 2012, she switched to another financial navigate my clients quite well during the crisis and our firm but soon decided to start on her own. relationships grew stronger,\" she says happily. She began her venture in 2013. \"I never carry a database Talking about her success mantra, Vanitha says, \"Be of my previous clients. I wanted to take a bold challenge ethical, responsible, trustworthy, transparent and treat of starting afresh,\" she says. Since she firmly believed in your clients' money as yours. One needs to be true to educating clients, she conducted over 300 Investor oneself and be a good human being.” Awareness Programs at several institutions. This helped her get a fresh client base which she capitalised upon. Summing up the journey, she confidently says with a smile, \"It is a very interesting profession, I never felt I am \"I never compromised on quality and made sure suitable working. It just needs a combination of hard and smart products are offered to investors depending on their work with focus on clients' benefits. One needs to have needs and goals,\" says Vanitha. She categorically adds passion and patience to grow.\" When I look at my life, it's good to see a complete transformation, she logs off.

Striving Success Stories Indu Keswani Shukla financial planning and they may approach her for any help. Slowly, she started building up the client base and Udaipur referral business flowed in. Indu Keswani Shukla, 46, an Udaipur-based mutual fund For Indu, mutual funds mean discipline and regularity. \"I distributor, manages investors' portfolios worth ` 25 believe that if someone starts investing in mutual funds crore. Catering to about 75 clients - mostly HNIs, she has early, the future financial life is comfortable and secured,\" a monthly SIP book of ` 9 lakh. She has a firm belief that she says. Indu gives immense importance to asset financial distribution business can be built with trust, allocation. \"Taking into consideration factors like clients' honesty and following ethics while keeping clients' age, needs, expectations and cash flows, helps in interest foremost. suitable allocation in investors' portfolio,\" she says. Post her college, Indu got her first job in a private bank and Since she had three businesses - tutorials, career worked in various roles in the banking sector for 18 years counselling and fund distribution, Indu did not face the in different financial firms. Experience thus earned helped brunt in 2018 when upfront was banned and a complete her not only in handling clients but in successfully setting trail-model came into being. up new branches. She believes in the strategy to have a backup business Indu has a philosophy for 60 years in compartments of 20 plan to support the income. This really helped during the years each. \"The first 20 years should go for education, 2020 pandemic when her classes had to be shut but she the next 20 years for building up the career in order to could manage her expenses with mutual funds. save for old age while creating a brand of yourself. The last 20 years should be utilised to do something you had Indu, a seasoned professional, did not panic as the always wanted to do,\" she explains. She was consciously market nosedived in no time. \"There was not an ounce of determined that she would be establishing her own brand panic either in me or in my clients. I used the lockdown as after 20 years of her job life. an opportunity and casually connected with my clients to know about their well-being and found none of them were In March, 2016, despite being on a hefty package, she in a distress mode,\" she says. called it a day from the banking sector. \"By then, I literally had jotted down nearly 32 things that I wanted to do,\" she This was all because of the fact that while on boarding says with a smile. Her husband Kartavya Shukla and clients, Indu made them understand that this was a long- father Mohan Keswani, two most prominent men in her term investment with a minimum tenure of 5-8 years with life, lent full support to her. focus on their goal objectives. \"I never was greedy to put short-term money of clients into investments. Rather, I To begin with, Indu, an attentive listener, opened her suggested them to keep that money in the bank account,\" institute for graduates and bankers. \"I knew what the she says with a belief that clients should be educated and bankers needed from the freshers. So, I was into informed about their investments so that they behave in a grooming young aspirants who wanted to make banking mature fashion and do not panic. their career,\" she says. Indu even developed her own banking modules to help students learn what modern During the crisis, till there was no clarity, Indu banking demands. recommended clients to stay put and hold on to their investments. Later, she asked them to invest more if they A year later, one of her former clients approached her to had money. \"No clients pulled out money,\" she says with a take care of his entire investment portfolios. \"It was here smile. Indu acknowledges the fact that in the last two that it clicked to me why not do this as well, since I had the years, she sourced additional new business of ` 10 crore. skills,\" she recalls the incident. She renewed her ARN and entered the fund distribution in 2017. Indu re-connected Talking about her success mantra, she says, \"Keep doing with her previous clients and told them she was into good, be ethical and don't do anything which is morally wrong.\"

Striving Success Stories Inmeet Kaur Having been in the distribution business for 7 years, she has now started customizing portfolios for her clients Dehradun who believe her completely when she “takes decisions on their behalf.” She guides her clients not only for Inmeet Kaur, 40, is a Mutual Fund Distributor based in investing in mutual funds but also provides services in Dehradun with assets worth ` 35 crore in mutual funds other sectors like banking and investments in other under management and an active monthly SIP book of financial instruments. ` 66,000. She also has a unique approach when she onboards any Having worked at a bank for almost 10 years till 2014, she client. She said, “I pick my clients very consciously. I do resigned as a Branch Manager and then started her not entertain everybody. I onboard those who themselves business in October, 2014. The invaluable experience in are interested in investing their money. This saves a lot of her full-time-job as a Relationship and Wealth Manager time and effort on my part as I have to manage and enabled her to acquire the skills required in the business customize the portfolios of existing clients also.” which is now coming in handy. For her, doing quality work is more important than “My main responsibility in my job was to handhold the quantity when it comes to client onboarding. “If I invest clients and manage their portfolios which included my time on convincing the people who themselves do not handling their deposits, insurance and investments,” she wish to invest, I may lose on those who have some basic said. idea about investments and are ready to invest for long- term to get the desired returns,” she said. As a result, she also did not face any initial challenges while onboarding clients as compared to many others in With many old couples and women as her clients, she the distribution field. feels that it is remarkable to be in this business in Dehradun as majority of the people in the city wish to be Talking about how she went about approaching them in financially independent. the early phase of her business, she said, “I already had the required expertise in the business. I used to enjoy “Here in Dehradun, most women are very confident, self- doing wealth management in my job. Most of the clients reliant, open-minded and well-aware about finances. I do there knew me personally. So, when I started on my own, not need to convince them to invest. Also, as a woman many of them became my clients. They were ready to be MFD, people are more courteous and polite to me and my clients irrespective of whether I worked at the bank or there is no discrimination of any sort that I have faced in on my own. I think it was the trust that they had on my the entire span of my business till date,”she said. work and the personal reputation that I had built there that led them to choose me as their advisor.” The immense trust that she has built over the years with her clients has resulted in “none of her clients” wishing to When asked about the number of clients, she says, “It is a invest in direct equity, something that is being seen as a family tree. Most of my clients are families. If one hurdle in the business these days. “People connected member of a particular family joins me, then others also with me are satisfied in secondary market and none of follow. This is the result of the trust that I have built among them are interested in primary market,” she says. my clients over the past several years. Now, the children of my clients are also availing my services with the same She has a valuable advice when it comes to newcomers in conviction as their parents.” the business. She emphasizes that along with focus and hard work, “It is important to know the client personally Now, she is providing her services to approximately 50 and have an in-depth understanding of their families who are spread across the globe, apart from requirements.” She believes that it is her success mantra other independent clients as well. that all her clients are very comfortable with her and she is able to understand their goals as if she is “in their shoes.”

Striving Success Stories Isha Goyal She further explained, “Accordingly, I can tell them the amount and the time horizon for which they should invest, Khanna so that it can be a long-term investment which further ensures desired returns.” Based in the city of Khanna, Punjab, Isha Goyal, 30, is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) who has just started out Talking about first-time investors, she also said, “People as a mutual fund distributor in December, 2021. With ask a lot of questions. We cannot give any kind of assets under management in mutual funds worth more guarantee to our clients and that is also not a part of the than ` 25 lakh and a monthly SIP book of over ` 50,000, norms. I adopt a straight-forward approach while dealing she aims to make it big in the mutual fund distribution with my clients. I tell them beforehand the nuances of a business gradually. mutual fund investment and guide them to go for long- term investments and have patience.” Being a financial planner by training, getting into the MFD business became important for her when her clients who According to her, the key to being a successful financial had availed her services for investing in other financial advisor is to take on the serious responsibility that instruments like insurance wished to invest in mutual advisors have as their business is solely reliant on the funds as well through her guidance. This is what trust of the clients. prompted her to get an ARN and start as a mutual fund distributor as well. “It is the responsibility of all MFDs to not show a dreamy picture when trying to onboard the clients. It is With currently around 20 clients onboard, she says, “This important to be transparent with the clients in order to is just the beginning and there is a long way to go.” Her build the invaluable trust in this business. If the client clients include her cousins, friends and relatives along trusts you, he will again approach you for more with some new ones whom she does not know investments,”she said. personally. Also, she emphasizes that what makes her unique for her When asked about how difficult or easy is it to guide the clients is that she is very tech-driven and does more than clients who are close family or friends, she says, “There 95% of her work through online resources. are many challenges that I face, irrespective of whether the client is someone from the family or someone who I Since the beginning of the pandemic, digitization has meet for the first time. Clients who know you would try to become a part and parcel of life and “that is what I am able take free advice often.” to offer to my clients as I myself prefer online modes to invest and hold meetings with the clients. In fact, I have In such a case, she tries to avoid as she says that, “It is not on boarded some of my new clients through an ad that I how this works. I resist and I cannot tell them anything on posted on Instagram,” she said. the basis of close to zero information about them. I need to understand the time horizon of the investments that With her business still in its initial phase, she plans to they wish to make and do an in-depth risk profiling in make a difference in the future by educating more and order to recommend any fund. I also need to adjust their more women about financial instruments and encourage investments in funds from time to time.” them to invest. Her approach towards her clients in general is quite She further explains, “I recently guided a teacher to invest straight-forward. She says that whenever she meets any and she had no idea what mutual funds or any of the other first-time investor, first of all, she asks them about their investment options are and how they work.” financial conditions so as to understand whether the amount they wish to invest is something that they have as She wishes to onboard more first-time women investors surplus or not. “Otherwise, clients could come within 6 and guide them so that they can become financially months to withdraw their investments,” she said. independent and not be completely dependent on others in their family every time they require money.

Striving Success Stories Jennifer Maria management and educated herself about asset Mendes allocation. In a few years, Indian stocks entered the bull run of 2003-2007. Investors turned wealthy at a rapid Mapusa pace. \"I was mature enough by then to keep investors' return expectation at a rational level of 15%. But the Jennifer Mendes, 68, a Mapusa-based Mutual Fund unabated rally was way more than that which made me Distributor in the State of Goa, manages ` 735 crore of cautious,\" reminisces Jennifer. She attempted to caution retail assets. She caters to nearly 4000 clients and she has her clients but investors developed a feeling that the party a monthly SIP book of ` 2 crore. would never end. Born and brought up in Mumbai, Jennifer Mendes, an It was all over in 2008 as markets lost over two-third of the economics graduate, started her career in a private value in less than a year which was beyond anybody's accounting firm in 1974. Later she joined a public sector imagination. \"I got into crisis management of investors' bank. But it became difficult for her to spend quality time behaviour. I explained that if their horizon was beyond 5 with her young family. Her husband, a Western Music years, they just needed to stay put,\" she adds. Professor and she took a collective decision to shift their base to enjoy quality of life away from the metropolitan's The entry load ban in 2009 made matters worse. \"It was mundane rat race with their two little kids. They chose just as if somebody had pulled the carpet from under my Mapusa - a small town in North Goa. feet as my income dropped significantly,\" says Jennifer. Initially, the trail model looked unacceptable but she soon Jennifer left her bank job in 1984 and shifted to Goa two realised that for long-term and sustainable business, trail years later, against their respective parents' wishes. They is the only way out. sold off their flat in Mumbai and used partial proceeds to buy a temporary residence in Goa and deposited the During the 2009-13 period, the market remained range- balance amount in bank deposits which fetched a bound. Jennifer aggressively pushed SIPs during this handsome 12 % interest. A year later, she had her third period. \"People had the realisation that fixed income child. products are probably losing their sheen and the concept of inflation-adjusted return took the centre stage,\" she \"By 1991, all my kids were going to school, so I had a lot of recalls. Jennifer took a firm decision to put her full free time. I thought of using my banking experience,\" says strength into mutual funds and slowly stopped the postal Jennifer. She started with postal recurring deposits and business after converting all her postal RD clients to SIP. kept adding other fixed income instruments to her product basket. She made over 200 clients and Being on trail with a client-centric approach made the developed their trust. launch of direct schemes and complete upfront ban as non-events to her growing business. She was now two In June 1999, a letter addressed to Chartered decades into fund distribution and had adopted a Accountants landed in her house which was an invite to professional approach to take care of clients' money with attend a seminar on mutual funds. \"I attended that goal-based planning. seminar which changed my mindset about investments,\" narrates Jennifer. She thought of giving her existing The crash during the 2020 covid pandemic created panic. clientele the taste of SIP, but it was not an easy task. \"It Jennifer's AUM dipped to ` 372 crore from ` 442 crore. was very difficult to convince clients about mutual funds \"But I was a seasoned distributor by then. I asked clients which had no assured returns. Eventually, I managed,\" to use this as a lifelong opportunity to invest more,\" she she recalls her initial challenge. says. As the market bounced back, it only reinforced their trust in Jennifer. As things stand today, Jennifer's overall A year later, the Y2K crisis hit the market and portfolio AUM is nearly double than what it was during the valuations declined. \"Investors had their queries. I pandemic. Outlining her success mantra, Jennifer says, realised that investors needed to be given confidence \"Be sincere and have a long-term perspective. In difficult which I did by regular communication.\" Learning from this times, be with your clients. Look after their interests and episode, Jennifer got her concept clear about risk the rest will follow.\"

Striving Success Stories Kalpana Aggarwal overcame to continue her journey as an MFD. She vividly remembers how she had to visit many of her initial clients Ambala to approach them and in other cases to keep them apprised and to service their needs. Ambala-based Kalpana Aggarwal, 38, has a unique record to her name at present. She is the only woman Mutual “Now, after years of dedication and hard work, clients Funds Distributor in the state of Haryana having assets approach me in my office. Moreover, the digital modes of under management upwards of ` 100 crore. The journey transactions have simplified and streamlined a lot of to reach this milestone has seen its ups and downs over processes,” she said, adding that she still ensures that 16 years. her clients get personalized services suitable to their specific needs. With the passion to do something on her own, Aggarwal moved from a salaried job at a bank to become an MFD in Aggarwal insists that the main factor that has kept her 2006. At present, she is working with over 1000 clients clients contented so far has been her transparency. “I spread across Haryana and Punjab with an active monthly always tell my clients right at the beginning that if they are SIP book of ` 55 lakh. What she cherishes the most is the investing in mutual funds they need to be prepared for family-like relationship and bonding she has built with long-term or at least 5 years. I ask my new clients about close to 200 of her clients. their preferred time period for investment in order to suggest them the suitable plans. Markets going up and While the journey appears successful at this stage, down is not in our hands so we need to prepare the client Aggarwal has been through her own set of challenges at mindset accordingly when they invest,” she said. each stage. “Ambala is a small city in which introducing people to mutual funds and making them understand Also, she firmly believes that in the long-term, patience is what exactly mutual funds was and continues to be a the key, both for the clients to get a good return and also difficult task in itself.” for an MFD to earn trust and respect from clients. Being a post graduate in commerce, and having “We should not mis-sell to our clients and just because of experience of wealth management from her time working our own greed, lead then to a poor portfolio. If you break at a bank, her knowledge, expertise and client relations the trust of a client even once, then a long-term client of skills helped her overcome this challenge. more than 10 years will also not be able to trust you again. Happy and satisfied clients are the best ambassadors for Moreover, the hard work that her mother put in for her your business,” she said. central government job, including travelling regularly between Ambala and Karnal, kept reminding her of the Going forward, Aggarwal wants to expand her venture importance of putting extra effort. outside of Ambala and take it across the country. She is keen on seeing more women in this line of business. “I However, gender-based criticism gave her valuable wish to tell all the women that you can do it and lessons and strategies to keep herself motivated. “Being understand everything if you wish to. More and more a woman, you need to face a lot of challenges to approach women must come into this profession as it is a growing and retain clients. So right from the start, I focused on business. I wish to involve my daughter in this business clients who have a positive mindset and made friendly as well. She is still very young, but I wish to see her relations with them. I ignored clients who were of a carrying the legacy forward,” she added. negative mindset or critical just because I was a woman doing my job,” she said. To encourage other women, Aggarwal recalls how she started receiving support from all around when her Social pressures due to attire or limitations due to family reputation was strengthening. “Now I have become an responsibilities too acted as impediments, which she inspiration for the family and many others around in the town,” she said.

Striving Success Stories Kavita Anil Budania Being good at relationship building and having an experience of nearly a decade in the financial industry, Jaipur Kavita knew that distribution business was all reference based. Kavita Budania, 41, a Jaipur-based mutual fund distributor, manages ` 15 crore of investors' assets. She “Client-centric approach is the way which one can't has a monthly SIP book of ` 17 lakh and caters to nearly distract from if one has to be in this business for the long- 250 clients. She has a firm belief that if anyone wants to term. Further, you can't take clients for a ride. They will get participate in India's economic growth, investments in to know about it sooner or later and impact your image mutual funds should be a priority. and rapport, which is very difficult to rebuild,\" Kavita narrates her thought process. Born and brought up in Mumbai, Kavita, a commerce graduate, started her career in the broking sector in 2002. She primarily focused on SIP and STP mode of After getting married in 2002, she shifted her base to investments. Understanding the compounding nature of Jaipur and continued with another broking firm. She SIP, she understood the benefits of systematic remained with the broking firm till 2012. Finding that her investment for her clients as well as for herself. Markets growth was getting stunt, she wanted to quit the job and were rising when she entered fund distribution. As the start something on her own. years passed, her investors could see the higher than expected returns in their portfolios. This further However, it was not easy for her to convince the family strengthened their confidence in Kavita. about this move. \"Since I was doing quite well and had a good package, my family did not find my decision a “When the client gets associated with me, I believe that prudent one,\" recalls Kavita. Upon a lot of discussion she continuous education for clients is as much necessary as called it a day. Later on, she took franchisee of a broking their investments. If they are informed and mature, they firm and continued with her work. do not worry when the market goes in the downward trend,\" she says with conviction. \"I have not seen people making money from trading in the capital market. When I took the sub-brokership, I got According to Kavita, to grow the distribution business, introduced to PMS and Mutual Funds. I saw investors one needs to have a professional approach while making money despite the 2008 market crash. This made matching products as per the clients' needs with a proper me inclined towards mutual funds,\" explains Kavita, asset allocation strategy. “Since my growth is inbuilt in my mother of two. clients' growth, I must take care of clients' interest first,\" she says. In 2015, she took her ARN and entered the fund distribution in addition to her existing stock broking The market fall of 2020 during the first wave of pandemic business. Since she already had a client base, it was not was an opportunity for her to build on her business. difficult finding clients. Her existing investors helped her \"Having seen the 2008 crisis, I could maintain calm and with the initial push. \"I convinced my clients about mutual make rational decisions. I knew unless uncertain times funds and got them invested. Slowly, referral business are capitalised upon, one can't create solid wealth. I made flowed in which I capitalised on,\" she narrates her several of my clients buy more as markets cracked as I beginning in fund distribution. told them we are buying good businesses at highly discounted prices,\" says Kavita with excitement. Her Kavita took care of two business growth drivers from day clients' trust and her digital presence came handy and she one. She was completely online and opted for trail model. managed the crisis well. \"Digital presence helped me cut costs, increase efficiency and kept me relevant. Trail, on the other hand, ensured my Summing up her journey, Kavita says she has always been income rises as my business grows,\" she outlines her honest with her clients and service is her forte. \"Never sell strategy to grow effectively. unsuitable products to clients if you want to grow,\" she signs off while outlining her success mantra.

Striving Success Stories Mamta Duvedi Duvedi feels that though Mutual Fund distribution business seems to be an easy one, it actually requires a Chandigarh lot of perseverance and hard work to be a successful MFD. With an invaluable experience of working in a life insurance company from 2005 to 2017 initially as an “Client acquisition and retention is a major aspect of this Advisor progressing to Deputy Branch Manager, Mamta business. One cannot just get an ARN and start. You need Duvedi, 40, is presently a mutual fund distributor since to have sufficient knowledge and skills to onboard and she got her ARN in October, 2020. retain clients in the long-run,” she emphasized. She is the founder of Am-Tree Finvest which deals in all Being a commerce graduate and with a long-term kinds of financial instruments including mutual funds, life experience in financial services in different roles, Duvedi and general insurance. Currently, based in Chandigarh, still tries to upgrade her knowledge about investments by Duvedi has assets worth ` 17 crore under management in attending trainings or seminars held in and around mutual funds, and has a monthly SIP book of ` 12 lakh. Chandigarh. The 13-year-experience of working in life insurance, “Often, I am the only woman or among the few women though a priceless one for Duvedi, also proved to be an present in the training sessions or seminars. I feel that eye-opener for her. “Being a life insurance agent of a education background has nothing to do with what I am company, you need to just try to fit the available products doing today. Whatever you do practically while in a or life insurance schemes in the clients' portfolio, often business is quite different from theory. I feel it is purely ignoring their interests or future goals,” she recalled. my conviction and hard work that has led me to where I am today,” she said. This approach was at loggerheads with what Duvedi herself believed in for the whole span of her career. “I love Duvedi considers it a turning point of her life now when to be client-centric. If I am trying to deal with a mutual many people or organisations approach her to get their fund company, I am least bothered about the brokerage. I KYC done. am more concerned about my clients' needs,” she said. Previously, she has had her share of struggles while in her She further explained, “I feel that even if I need to travel full-time job. She had to travel to remote, industrial areas from one part of the city to another for just a small amount of the city and wait for hours on end to just get permission of monthly SIP of ` 500 from a client, I go to that client for an official presentation on life insurance in many without giving a second thought.” companies. When talking about mutual funds, Duvedi felt that it is a She recalls how awareness level regarding investments product that she personally believes is relatively the as well as the way it gets treated has changed over time. safest option. She feels that if she herself is convinced “I actually cherish this phase of my life. I feel that it is about a particular investment option, it becomes easier remarkable how the financial industry has grown so much for her to convince the clients as well. Also, Duvedi feels that people are now much more aware and wish to get that mutual fund schemes, being profitable in the long- their KYC done themselves or wish to invest in SIP. I have term, provide MFDs or financial advisors an invaluable been a witness to the sea change that has come in the opportunity “to onboard more clients.” awareness of the Indian people and organisations,” she explained. After she on boards a client, she also uses it as an opportunity to educate them about the suitability of other Talking about the future of her business, Duvedi says that instruments, if they need those. Currently, Duvedi has she wants to take it to newer heights by achieving the about 300 clients from across the country and abroad. target of ` 100 crore worth of assets under management by 2025 and a monthly SIP book of ` 1 crore by 2023.

Striving Success Stories Mamta Sharad Shah The entry load abolition did impact her payout but since she had her fixed deposit and insurance business, it was Baroda not a big challenge monetarily for her. This helped her stay focused on fund distribution. Mamta Shah, 58, is a Baroda-based mutual fund distributor, who manages portfolios worth ` 115 crore of \"None of the regulatory changes so far has had a reverse nearly 400 families. Her monthly SIP book is ` 40 lakh - impact on my business,\" she says proudly. She was early mostly retail. A passionate personality, she believes to comprehend the importance of trail and switched to investment in mutual funds is the need of the time as they trail commission several years before the complete ban are the most suitable product for anybody given its on upfront came into being. flexible nature. The lacklustre market during 2009-13 was a great phase She has a commerce education background and had for her clients to accumulate units at lower prices. She interest in stock markets from a very early age. Post her kept on pushing SIP during these years fully knowing that marriage in 1988, as soon as her kids turned school going, investments done at lower levels yield future wealth. Mamta started with fixed income distribution in 1994. Already into the fund distribution for over a decade then, Within years she expanded her product basket and added Mamta gave priority to asset allocation. general insurance in 1998. \"I need to be conscious of my clients' risk profile, age and In 2002, she happened to meet an official from a fund financial goals. Accordingly, products are offered as house who was setting up the office in Baroda. \"He wealth creating solutions,\" she categorically says. This suggested mutual fund distribution. I picked up the idea approach of hers helped her clients gain trust on her and as I was always passionate and keen to learn new things,\" they were into long-lasting relationships. she recalls the incident which triggered her entry into fund distribution. Since she already had the client base, it The swift and steep crack in markets during the 2020 was not difficult for her to find clients. \"I started with SIP pandemic pulled Mamta's AUM down to ` 66 crore from and requested my clients to start a little bit of investments ` 92 crore. \"Though I was not personally perturbed, I was in mutual funds which they agreed to,\" adds Mamta. And not used to seeing my growth graph falling so drastically,\" slowly the ball started rolling, she says. she says with a smile. By then many of her clients had been with her for quite long, who behaved in a mature Meanwhile, she started her personal investments in fashion. \"Some of the investors panicked. They called me mutual funds and would give examples of her portfolio to to know what was happening as the situation looked very clients to take them into confidence. By 2006, she had an uncertain and unclear,\" reminisces Mamta. AUM of ` 1 crore and was also utilising the STP tool for staggered investments for clients who gave large I simply asked them that investments were goal-based investments. The market was amid the rally then and her and that it was not prudent to redeem losses. \"I stressed investors could see the phenomenal returns. upon staying invested and don't give heed to the noises,\" she says with emphasis and adds there is no rocket When the 2008 crash eroded two-third of the market science needed in investments but patience and focus on valuations, some of my clients were worried, says goals. \"I have a very simplistic approach to get my clients Mamta. \"I just told them to remain patient and stay invested. I just say if they need inflation beating returns, invested. The ups and downs are part and parcel of the there is no other choice than equity and equity mutual stock market. Let the market do its work and we do ours funds,\" she outlines her thought process. by sticking to investments,\" she explains. Another factor which helped Mamta to navigate the situation was her Summarising her success story, Mamta says, \"My impetus on SIP and STP mode as she never entertained passion is my key to success. I feel satisfied when I see lump sum investments. myself being instrumental in somebody's wealth creation. It gives me so much satisfaction.\"

Striving Success Stories Mansi Shah However, during 2009-13, when the stock markets were range-bound, she tried to convince clients to build up the Ahmedabad equity portfolio but faced resistance due to investors' conservative approach. Mansi Shah, 39, a CA by education 39, is an Ahmedabad- based mutual fund distributor who caters nearly 100 \"They did not want to take the risks. So, I did not push families. She considers mutual fund as her 'first baby' them,\" explains Mansi. But that period was challenging on which she wants to continuously nurture in order to help the personal front for her. She got her two kids during that investors create long-term wealth. phase which demanded her care. Along with that there were some major health issues in her family which made She started her career in a textile conglomerate in 2004. her not to take aggressive measures in expanding her She quit the job as she was getting married in 2005. business. Mansi's mother lent her motivational support \"Being from a Gujarati family, it is a little difficult to carry on during this tough time. with the job. Vision of my father-in-law and my husband, who was into the capital market, suggested that I start my \"Since it is a trust and service-oriented business, I kept on own venture,\" recalls Mansi. After brainstorming various focusing on relationship building with my clients and ideas, she zeroed in on mutual fund distribution. Her offered regular services to them,\" she says. This youngest uncle was instrumental in helping Mansi with continuous strategy did not let any of her clients leave for his experience in marketing. the direct plans. Initially, it was difficult for her to start a family and a new As her business grew in upcoming years, Mansi, now a business together. \"It was a tough start as I was also learned and knowledgeable person, shifted to the trail- learning about it. Neither I was aware about mutual funds based model before the upfront ban could hit her. \"Since it nor I had any client base to begin with,\" she quips. She is a long-term business, trail was the preferable way to go started with the basic homework and noted down names ahead,\" she adds. from her close contacts whom she could approach for investments in mutual funds. Since her father and Post 2015, as the stock markets did well, some of her new grandfather had a very strong social network, Mansi clients started with equity investments. But she informed started with the closest family and business circle. them that in equity the minimum horizon should be 5-7 years. \"Having said that, the majority of the assets were Since most of the investors were not aware about mutual debt side only,\" she says. funds and had a conservative approach to investments, Mansi focused on educating them while being In 2020, when the lockdown was imposed as the predominantly in debt funds. It was a slow start and as pandemic hit, Mansi was more concerned about the debt clients developed trust in her, references flowed in which crisis unfolding in one of the AMCs. \"I called up my clients she capitalised on well. and made them understand. Whole day I was attending to calls as it was my investors' assets which had come over Being primarily into debt, the 2008 crisis did not have an the years due to their trust in me. I had to restore their impact on her business. \"Returns in debt were quite good confidence,\" says a confident Mansi who did not run then and investors were happy,\" she says with a smile as away from her responsibilities in times of crisis. the crisis did not bother her. Mansi is currently focusing more on SIPs. She happily She did not feel the pinch of entry load abolition in 2009 as says that in the last three years she has added the most she was more concerned about her investors and not number of SIP accounts. what she was getting as payout. \"As my family was financially strong, I did not have to run the household Summing up her success mantra, Mansi says, \"Respect expenses. So, a drop in my income did not distract me, the trust of your clients and have an ethical approach she adds. while keeping investors' goals and their risk appetite in mind.\"

Striving Success Stories Meenu Kwatra While recommending any Mutual Fund scheme to her clients, Kwatra has a unique approach that she adopts. “I Amritsar try to gauge whether the scheme is profitable for a few of my clients initially and if it is, I recommend the same to Meenu Kwatra, 49, is an Amritsar-based Mutual Fund others as well. Of course, different clients might have distributor with assets worth over ` 15 crore under different requirements but it just becomes easier to management. She ventured in the distribution business recommend a scheme if it leads to profitable returns for in an organic way. She started investing for herself in some clients initially.” Most of Kwatra's clients being of 2008, and soon realized that there could be a large the same income strata helps her adopt this approach number of people who need handholding to take the right and remain successful to retain them. investment decisions. Being in the business now for more than ten years, She thought about it only to arrive at a conclusion that Kwatra recalls how initially her being a woman posed as a with sincere efforts and hard work, this can be a lucrative challenge in the profession. source of income too. Her quest on this path got a boost when one of her neighbour Deepak Kapoor, who was “Being a woman MFD, people did not readily trust me already in the mutual fund distribution business, guided initially to manage their finances. But I worked hard in this her further. She obtained her ARN and started working as field and confidently dealt with all the confusions that my a mutual fund distributor in 2010. clients had in order to gain their trust. I used to meet my clients or talk to them according to their convenience Being a commerce graduate, Kwatra did not have the after office hours also to gain their trust. I still do so. That required expertise initially. However, that did not stop her personal touch and going out of the way to guide people from putting in hard work to gain the knowledge and hone is what makes them trust you and stick around.” her skills. She religiously started attending several workshops and seminars on mutual funds held in and Another challenge that she feels is firming up is the around Amritsar. tendency among many individuals to invest in direct equity. With nearly 500 clients spread across Amritsar, Chandigarh and Delhi now, Kwatra mainly focusses on With her monthly SIP book presently just short of ` 5 lakh, salaried, retired or mid-income individuals who do not Kwatra says that her main focus now is to expand her SIP have time or sufficient knowledge to invest their money book. She is now determined to do so quickly as she feels wisely. that unlike in the beginning, she now has the required expertise and reputation in the field which will help her “They don't even have sufficient time to research on the achieve her goal. right kind of mutual funds as per their needs. So, even if they wish to start by investing ` 500 initially, I encourage Not only this, Kwatra now is also nudging her daughter to them to start an SIP and guide them by recommending get into this field. “My daughter has just completed her suitable mutual fund schemes.” graduation so I am encouraging her to get an ARN and get into this field as it is a booming business. I feel this is the When dealing with her clients, Kwatra says, “The key for best kind of work that she can continue to do in the future, profitable returns is to have patience. I guide my clients which provides both professional growth and personal right from the beginning to be patient whenever they satisfaction.” invest as markets can be jittery. I try to encourage them to see their investments in the long-term.” Kwatra shares that in order to be a successful MFD, having “familiar relations” with the clients is among the Due to her guidance, most of her clients also themselves most critical aspects. Building that kind of trust does take now prefer long-term investments and refrain from time but it is inevitable for being successful in this liquidating their holdings in the short-term. business. “If client is happy, it will lead to your own gain.”, she concludes.

Striving Success Stories Nikita Hemant A recovery in the market, as Nikita is primarily into equity Gawde investments, helped her see the appreciation in investors' assets. Mumbai \"In fact, the challenge was to look at the right set of Nikita Gawde, 25, a Mumbai-based mutual fund investments while proving myself. Because, unless distributor, manages investors' assets worth ` 5.5 crore. clients' have trust and confidence in me, the business Primarily catering to HNI clients, she has a monthly SIP would not grow,\" she narrates. Initial rejections did not book of ` 1 lakh. Founder of the firm, Bull Money with a perturb her as she knew it would take some time to build tagline 'Know Your Investment', Nikita believes that trust. educating clients with a focus on goal-based investment can help her and her clients grow over time. Nikita does not believe in convincing clients. \"I strongly hold on to my belief that convincing clients should not be An MBA in Finance, Nikita also studied International the focus. Else the story would not go your way. Rather, I Finance and did the course of Corporate & Legal Business want to stay strong with the concept and fundamentals of Consultant. She started her career with the insurance investments when dealing with investors,\" she explains sector post her graduation in 2016. After two years in her strategy. One needs to just trust your product and 2018 she got into the wealth management division of your knowledge in this business, she adds. various financial firms before deciding upon doing financial distribution on her own in the later part of 2020. In the first six months, as the country was grappling with the second wave, Nikita reached an AUM size of ` 1 crore. \"I was not satisfied with the work culture and ethics of a Her breakthrough came when she successfully garnered corporate life,\" she says. I wanted to offer customers a corpus of another 1 crore for a new fund offer (NFO) in what they needed and not what my company wanted me the flexi-cap category, pushing up her assets. As she built to sell, adds Nikita, outlining her genuine concerns for the on the trust factor and clients gained confidence, growth of investors' hard earned money. investors through referral routes helped her further grow. Learning in the financial sector for a little over four years Nikita says, \"I follow the principle of trust and confidence. made her understand the nuances of how to manage and I believe in what I am doing while being passionate, take care of clients. She developed the inclination to start always ready to learn and update myself. Continuous her own distribution venture as she believed that she enhancement in knowledge is a must to survive in this could add more value to investors' money. business.\" She makes sure that investors know their investments and thus stresses upon their continuous Nikita wanted to offer a holistic approach to investors education. taking care of their entire financial needs - right from securing life and health while creating wealth. Though still new to the profession and despite being very young, Nikita sounds quite experienced. She has her “I did not want to be only in one product nor wanted to client first strategy while maintaining calm, transparency start with a lot of products at one go. I slowly added to my and patience while dealing with clients. product basket so that I am a one-stop solution for their every need,\" she says with confidence. “I don't look at the brokerage. As long as my clients are making money, my interests will be taken care of. If I focus In September 2020, post the Covid first wave, Nikita got on commission, I may not last long in this business,\" she her ARN and by the end of the year she entered fund says categorically. distribution. \"My first cheque was of ` 30 lakh which boosted my confidence,\" she says with a smile. Going forward, she says that sky's the limit. She aims to reach an asset size of ` 100 crore in the next five years. \"I Her existing clients from the previous employers did give am confident that I will be a better version of myself with her an initial push, so finding clients was not a challenge. every passing year,\" she logs off with conviction.

Striving Success Stories Nishi Agarwal like SIP but they do not know what is the exact meaning. On one hand they are hesitant to invest and on the other Kolkata hand, they say that they want to invest in shares also. There is a clear disconnect. I try to make them aware of Kolkata-based Nishi Agarwal has a commendable work what they need and what is right for them,” she experience of over eight years across several Asset described. Management Companies. Working closely with the investors helped her get the expertise that is required for Agarwal explained how the entire financial sector has an being a Mutual Fund Distributor. Many times, in the past, inbuilt gender bias due to the decades of relative absence Agarwal had personally come across several investors of women. “When you talk about money, Indian society who do not get the proper guidance to choose the right still relates it to men taking decisions, but that is the kind of investment products. So, towards the end of thought process that I will strive to change,” she said. 2021, the 34-year old was inspired to start her own company, Hey-Wealthy. She is trying to nudge more women towards the SIP way of investing to become financially independent. “I am “I started Hey-Wealthy for two reasons. One, I wish to focusing on first-time investors to start SIPs. It is going to educate more women to take steps towards financial be challenging initially for women but I am positive that planning. Secondly, I had met a lot of existing investors with time, they will eventually become more independent who did not properly understand where and why they financially,” she said. Her focus is already translating into were investing in capital markets,” she said. Remarkably, results as 50% of her existing clients are women. in just four months, Agarwal has been successful in acquiring over 40 clients and has an active monthly SIP Also, targeting people from the lower strata of society book of over ` 4 lakh. and hand-holding them to invest their money is another goal which Agarwal is working towards. She explains, Her learnings from her time in her previous roles gave her “Recently, I have helped my domestic help to get her significant insight into the finer nuances of the sell side of Aadhaar card and to open her bank account. Gradually, I the business as well as of the way investors think and am guiding her to invest as well. I wish to bring about a behave. “I have observed that lot of times, the investor is change in the society by helping people who are not not sold a proper product. A few advisors do not try to financially strong.” understand the investor's requirements, their investment time horizon for which they want to invest or their risk The rapid spread of do-it-yourself or DIY investing is profile,” she laments. something that Agarwal is cognizant of. She believes it will present a very good opportunity to MFDs as they are She aims to help the investors take well-informed used to doing a lot of research-backed work. decisions for their long-term financial planning. “I follow a client-centric, goal-based planning Investment approach “I believe that you cannot leave out the human touch. I am and ensure that risk-profiling is carried out for the clients not scared of people doing direct investments. After a and all their future financial needs are also taken into point of time, these DIY investors would require hand account,” she said. holding and that will be good for MFDs. An MFD does extensive risk profiling, is with the investor beginning to One of the key areas of work that Agarwal wants to focus end. So, the growth of fintech services is like a blessing in on in the future is on making more and more women disguise for MFDs,” she said. become financially independent. Over the years, she has realized how men in most of the households are the ones Agarwal considers this business as something that will taking all the important financial decisions. give her an opportunity to have a work-life balance while also getting the satisfaction of helping people take “When I meet women investors, they are absolutely financial decisions wisely. Going forward, Agarwal aims unaware and lack knowledge. They would know terms to focus on expanding her SIP book. She is confident that her perseverance and hard-work will pay off.

Striving Success Stories Piyali Roy Burman family members, close relatives and friends,\" she adds. However, soon she realised that awareness about mutual Kolkata funds was still poor. \"Most of the people were into property investments and did not have the understanding Piyali Burman, 45, is a Kolkata-based mutual fund about mutual funds and the benefits involved,\" explains distributor who caters to a handful of HNI investors with Piyali. focus mainly on lump sum investment. She commands an AUM size of ` 40 crore and is serving about 10 clients. So, she started with making her investors aware about Piyali believes that there is no alternative to mutual funds mutual funds. Many were skeptical as they had the past as wealth creating tools which are relatively safer bitter experience, she adds. \"Even though they had the investment instruments compared with direct stocks. money, they did not invest in mutual funds. I sensed that educating them is the first step before getting them Coming from a business family background, Piyali joined invested. That was indeed a challenge to start with,\" says an insurance company as her first job soon after Piyali. completion of her college in 1998. In 2006, she shifted to a mutual fund company and got a hang of mutual funds. For her, mutual funds are the best financial instruments She looked after the HNIs and corporate clients and which not only help assets appreciate but create long- experienced the 2008 crisis - a big learning for her. Later term wealth to address any financial goals. \"I personally on, she joined a foreign bank which turned out to be her believe that for most people mutual funds are probably last job. In 2013, she got married and was a mother of a the best available option. Rather, I have a conviction that daughter in 2014. there is no alternative existing currently to mutual funds. They have well researched and analysed portfolios with She quit the banking profession in the same year and had focus on risk-adjusted returns. This is not the case with to go to London as her husband, a medical practitioner, direct stocks which can't be a cup of tea for everybody,\" was shifted for a few years. Since the new-born she puts her thought process. demanded time and care, Piyali spent these years as a housewife looking after the baby and got busy with the Being from a financial background and having witnessed household chores. the various market cycles and crises in the last two decades, Piyali understands that product offerings by In 2019, she returned to her hometown and took some mutual funds over these years have grown tremendously. time to settle down. \"During the 2020 lockdown, I got \"Several investors do not know about new products plenty of time to think about what I should do next. My which have been introduced in recent years. It is here that child also had grown so I started planning about my my role comes in. Educating clients is my duty.\" she says. venture,\" she says. Since her husband has a busy schedule, Piyali had to look after the house and the kid, According to her, a continuous client-centric approach she thought of not joining any jobs and doing something with impetus on educating them helps build the on her own. But she always wanted to be financially self relationship - an integral part of this business. \"You can't independent. grow in a service-oriented industry if you don't build trust and confidence between you and your investors,\" pin Having had nearly two decades of experience in the points Piyali. financial services, Piyali had her personal investments too in the mutual funds. \"I knew the sector and had the know- Mis-selling and business malpractices are not in her how of how it worked,\" she says. This helped her have an blood. She gives little attention to commission payout inclination towards mutual funds as she was at ease with and focuses on her hard work with an aim to have these financial products. satisfied customers. Outlining her success mantra, Piyali says, \"Be honest with customers, be in their shoes while \"During the lockdown, I got my ARN and started fund offering them schemes, manage the time and distribution by looking after managing investments of my recommend products which are aligned with investors' goals and needs.\"

Striving Success Stories Pooja Bither time. “I convinced her to invest. I had to manage her insecurities, make her aware and being my first client, it Sirhind-Fetegarh was important for me to retain her as well in the long-run,” Bither said. Pooja Bither, 42, from Sirhind-Fetegarh in Punjab has set an example for many future mutual fund distributors. Over time, through the domestic help doesn't work for Despite not having any financial background in education, Bither anymore, the ` 1000 SIP started in 2008 has now she has established herself as a successful MFD. Over become a ` 6000 SIP and still going strong. “On the basis the past 15 years, she has gathered assets under of the returns, she has married two of her children. I management of over ` 3.5 crore and an active monthly SIP consider myself really fortunate that I have been a driver book of over ` 13 lakh, all through persistence and hard of change in the society and I wish to do so in the future as work. well,” she proudly said. Being a Political Science graduate and then a teacher, she Over time, Bither has also noticed in her job that the was completely unaware about this profession. Her clients' mindset changes according to their age which she introduction to this profession came right before her has to manage in order to retain them. The younger marriage. generation in the age span of 25 and above who have just started working are quite aggressive in their approach. “When I was asked to marry a 'financial advisor' by my They wish for short-term returns and lack the patience family, I did not know anything about his profession. I was that is absolutely necessary for a Mutual fund investment. myself confused about what exactly he does professionally,” she now remembers fondly. Little did she For this age group, we strictly tell them to invest for know that she herself would become a financial advisor in minimum five years. If they think that they will not be able the years to come. to wait for this much period, then this is not the right time for them to invest. On the other hand, she said, those who She started having these conversations about are around 40 years of age have acquired the required investments and personal finance with her husband and maturity and target for long-term returns. the subject began to get interesting. “We used to be aware about only common terms like life insurance, FDs With these practical lessons and insights, Bither now has and PPF. Mutual Funds was a completely alien concept to over 150 clients, including retail investors and HNIs. me. In fact, I considered shares to be the same thing as Mutual Funds. Gradually, I came to understand the Going forward, Bither wants to inspire more and more difference between different kinds of investments.” women and people with weaker financial backgrounds to get into investing. She now encourages all of her clients Her husband, Shekhar Bither, had been an MFD since to bring their spouse and house helps or anyone less- 2001. In 2008, encouraged by her husband, she began privileged that they know of, along in their meetings or the her journey too as an MFD. It was difficult in the events that they organize. beginning, as she was new to the field and also had to take care of her kids, who were very young at the time. She consistently emphasizes on the importance of women being financially literate. “Even today in Indian “It was difficult to understand the clients' requirements at society, we see that women are dependent upon men in that time as I, myself, was in a learning stage. My husband their household for finance-related decisions and that is guided me to first understand the clients' goal, the not healthy in itself. This is because in case of any mishap amount and the time period for which they wish to in the family, if the male member is no more, women have invest,” she said. no idea as to how to go about their finances in the future. Also, women need to start investing in small amounts Her first client experience has been very special and close from their savings on their own so that in case of any to her heart. Her first client was her domestic help at the financial emergency, they will, in turn, be able to help their family and be self-sufficient.”

Striving Success Stories Preeti Ravinand experience of the 2008 crisis, she always believed Kalburgi informed investors help the business sustain for the long- term. \"If investors are aware and know the nuances of Belgaum markets, they do not tend to panic in tough times. Preeti Kalburgi, 41, a Belgaum-based mutual fund For Preeti, asset allocation is an important aspect of distributor, manages investors' assets worth ` 200 crore. investment. \"Depending on clients' age, risk appetite, She caters to nearly 1000 clients with a belief that mutual their financial goals, I endeavour to offer a suitable fund is a flexible financial tool which gets set in any allocation in their portfolio,\" she says. Preeti ensures investors' portfolio for wealth creation. investors have an emergency fund so that in tough times their investments remain untouched and help reach their A commerce graduate, Preeti got married in 2002. She goals. had her first child in 2004 and was settling into married life while looking after her family. In the meantime, she took As years passed and her investors gained experience of time out for financial related courses. Her first job was in a investments, referral business started flowing in. \"When broking firm in 2007 as the market was reaching the fag- you work for your client and they are satisfied, they bring end of the bull run. She remained with the broking firm till in more investors. This is a reference-based and service- 2012. oriented business,\" adds Preeti. In 2017, her younger brother, Yogesh Ladhwa, also joined her in the fund \"My journey in the broking sector was of immense distribution and since then the duo has been working learning. I got to know about several financial products together. including mutual funds, did the client handling and continuously educated myself,\" says Preeti. She The presence of direct plans did not make a difference to witnessed one of the biggest crises of 2008. This added Preeti given her strong services to clients. \"Investors to her overall experience and helped when she ventured understood our relevance as we kept their investments on her own later. disciplined with focus on their goals. Client is first for us, we grow if they grow,\" points out Preeti. According to her, It was increasingly getting difficult for Preeti to keep a if she had looked at her interest first, she would have been balance between work and family. \"I wished to start my very limited in her business. venture. But being at my job, it was not possible to strategise my next move,\" adds Preeti. It was finally in By the start of 2020, Preeti and her brother were already 2013, that she took a conscious call to quit. handling clients' portfolios worth ` 110 crore. As the pandemic hit the market resulting in nearly 35% erosion \"For one year after leaving my job, I acquired knowledge of value, the duo immediately came into action as they about mutual funds. Detailed knowledge about the treated the deep correction as a big opportunity to buy. product was important before starting fund distribution,\" says Preeti. Since she was good at building relationships “We did not panic at all. We connected with clients and and understood clients' needs, Preeti was confident of recommended them to buy as it was a discount sale,\" doing the distribution effectively. In 2014, she entered the recalls Preeti. Majority of her clients had put trust and fund business. confidence in her. They acted as she suggested and are now happy as the market bounced back up lifting up their She was clear that she would not bring existing clients investment valuations. Preeti says that her main job is to from her employer. \"I had to put in a lot of effort as I started navigate her clients during crises. \"I am now so confident from scratch. Initially, I had one-on-one meetings with five that I can handle any crisis,\" she says with conviction. clients every day, which I increased further,\" she recalls her initial days. Preeti focused on SIP with retail clients Preeti, who feels good when her clients reach goals, and started getting small ticket size investments. She coins her success mantra as ,\"Disciplined approach with grew confident as this worked out well. Right from day goal-based investments along with long-lasting one, clients' education was a priority for Preeti. Given her relationships is my key to success.\"

Striving Success Stories Prema Dominic When her nearly 17 years stint with the broking firm came to an end, Dominic had almost given up on job and Bangalore thought to take a break and fulfill her homely responsibilities. However, by then her son was in his late Prema Dominic, a Bangalore-based mutual fund teens and she had plenty of time at hand. Her husband distributor, manages ` 20 crore of investors' assets. encouraged her to start on her own. Catering to 170 clients - mostly retail, she has a monthly SIP book of ` 15 lakh. She believes that mutual funds are In July, 2021, Dominic decided to give it a try and entered long-term wealth creation vehicles capable of meeting mutual fund distribution. Since she had got the trust and any financial goals. confidence of her earlier clients it proved helpful. \"I got a lot of practical experience and my clients trusted me. This An electronics graduate, Dominic was the youngest of all gave me the much needed initial push,\" she says. the siblings and belonged to a lower middle class family. \"Being the youngest member of the family, I was a Dominic, an avid reader, understands the importance of pampered child,\" she quips. Soon after her graduation in continuous education for clients and that this business 2003, she worked in the electronic industry for less than a demands a lot of patience. \"I never entertain clients who year as she did not find it interesting. Meanwhile, she got come with a short-term approach. I straightforwardly tell married and became a mother in 2005 which brought a them they need to have goal-based investment,\" she break in her career. outlines her strategy. Being a young mother, looking after home and work was Already, references have started pouring in from her quite a task for Dominic. She could not think much about clients and she is looking forward to bringing more her career and took up a tele-caller job with a leading investors in her fold. \"I plan to slowly build up my AUM financial company. while taking care of the risks involved in investments so that my clients are taken on the right path with their Later, she was shifted to the sales and marketing division investment plans aligned to their goals,\" she adds. as the market was amid a great rally. It was here that Dominic started developing an inclination towards She firmly believes that each and every suggestion to financial products. \"It was good going for me as I was clients must be well studied and researched upon. \"I need enhancing my knowledge about various products,\" she to continuously probe into what recommendations I am recalls. offering to my clients. If I do good, good will happen to me,\" she says with a confident smile. While appreciating her growth, Dominic was shifted to a branch where she began handling clients' portfolios while Dominic has an aim to reach an AUM of ` 50 crore by 2023 looking after Demat accounts, stock trading, share and is focusing on building a strong SIP book to achieve certificate queries and mutual funds. \"I was almost that. \"I want to make informed investors who need to be everywhere and learnt the practicality involved in these nurtured going forward,\" she pin points. Having seen the products. Slowly, I got specialised in mutual funds,\" says various market cycles - be it the 2003-2007 rally, the 2008 a knowledgeable and confident Dominic. crisis, the stagnating market thereon till 2013 and the deep and quick plunge during 2020, Dominic Her rising interest and continuous learning did not let her understands that mature and educated clients make the move out of the financial firm till 2021 when the company crisis-navigation relatively easier. she was working with shut down its operations. According to her, there is no alternative to hard work to “It was quite a learning for me and I was so motivated in succeed in the financial distribution business. \"Passion the field as I was meeting new people and understanding and patience along with relationship building on the their financial condition and accordingly was foundation of trust and ethics are something one can not recommending them products,\" explains Dominic. do away with to grow in this profession,\" she signs off with conviction.

Striving Success Stories Priyanka Vijayvargiya real journey in mutual fund began. \"I could realise that challenges will keep coming but we need to stay put in Jodhpur the game,\" says adds. Priyanka Vijayvargiya, 40, a Jodhpur-based mutual fund Her hard work paid off. She understood that a client- distributor, manages investors' assets worth ` 125 crore. centric approach is a must to have longevity in this She serves nearly 2000 retail clients and has a monthly business. She along with her husband, now a partner in SIP book of ` 1.2 crore. With a strong belief that investors' the business, formed a company Universal MF in 2013. interest is supreme, Priyanka considers mutual funds as the best way to create long-term wealth. But then the launch of direct schemes came into existence. \"At first, we thought this would pose a From the city of Tonk, Priyanka was a primary school challenge to us. But we had the realisation that our clients teacher. After her marriage in 2006, she got the first taste are mostly salaried and busy in their work, they would of the financial world as her husband was employed in an always need a helping hand for their investments. We insurance company. She developed an inclination stressed upon improving services to our clients with towards financial products and started learning about impetus on continuous education,\" explains Priyanka. mutual funds. Soon, she entered the fund distribution Such a strategy helped her eschew any probable impact business under her husband's guidance. of direct plans. However, in 2007, after becoming the mother, she could By now, she had reached a sizeable asset. She could not concentrate much on the mutual fund business. accept the fact that trail-based model was the way ahead. Though it was quite a slow start she never gave up and By 2016-17, she shifted to complete trail. \"Had I gone on focused on SIPs. trail earlier I could not get stability in the business as AUM was small in size,\" she says. Thus a complete upfront ban Markets were in the fag-end of the rally before the 2008 in 2018 did not give her knee jerk reaction. By now, her crisis then. \"I was new and had very few clients. So, I business was completely digital - right from on boarding could not feel the pinch of the crisis as other distributors clients to service them which helped during the lockdown faced,\" says Priyanka. But it was a great learning period. experience for her as she witnessed the unfolding crisis in the market. When the 2020 pandemic hit the market, her AUM nose dived from ` 80 crore to ` 55 crore. \"Initially, I was worried The 2009 entry load abolition did make her think whether about the impact on my revenue. Further, my clients were she could continue this business. \"At one point of time, I in a panic mode and wanted to withdraw,\" says Priyanka. thought we may have to pull down the shutters. My husband too had left his job to assist me in the mutual Since she had witnessed the 2008 crisis, she knew these fund distribution in the same year making it quite are opportunities to grow business. \"I am a believer in stressful, financially,\" she recalls. India's growth story. During the crisis, we doubled our efforts and made clients understand that this phase will It was a big setback for her as on the one hand her soon get over. Not only we recommended investors to husband was out of job and on the other the business stay put but managed to convince them for more dynamics of mutual fund distribution changed investments,\" she says confidently. Her suggestions dramatically. worked and neither clients left or redeemed. And when markets bounced back, her clients' trust and confidence Guidance from the fund industry helped restore in Priyanka further strengthened. confidence in Priyanka. \"We understood that we had no option but to increase our volume. We made a conscious Summing up her journey so far, Priyanka says, \"Take care call that we need to push SIP and build a sizeable monthly of your clients and they will take care of you. This book,\" says Priyanka. It was here in 2010 that she says her business demands extreme patience, long-lasting relationships and immense trust.\"

Striving Success Stories Rekha Maurya experience for me,\" she says. Seeing her good work, Rekha's acquaintance suggested her to start on her own Ajmer and encouraged her to get her own ARN code. Rekha Maurya, 49, an Ajmer-based mutual fund Finally, in 2009 Rekha got her code and joined a national distributor, manages investments worth ` 50 crore of distributor. \"It was here that I sharpened my skills and nearly 1300 clients - mostly retail. She has a monthly SIP developed confidence. I realised that this business has a book of ` 45 lakh and believes there is no financial product tremendous growth potential,\" she says with confidence. better than mutual funds. The entry load ban in the same year demotivated her but the executives at the national distributor restored her After getting married in 1994, Rekha got busy with the confidence and Rekha stayed put. household chores and looked after her two children. As they grew, she thought to restart and make her own \"I am always full of positivity and I compete with myself. I career in 2007 as she had plenty of time. Despite being in want to better myself on a daily basis. Challenges will her mid-30s, Rekha was quite energetic and ready to take come but there are solutions also,\" she puts forth her up any challenge. thought process. This attitude helped Rekha propel her career further. As her children got into mid-teens, Rekha decided to try her hands at starting a venture. \"I boosted my energy and In 2014, Rekha left the national distributor and started came back on track after a very long break,\" she says with independently. Though she was now well experienced, a smile. She always had a dream to make a yoga club as she needed the cash flow, so she remained on the upfront she was a yoga therapist. \"There was a lot of demand for model till the complete ban came in 2018. \"For a few yoga therapists and I thought to cater to this burgeoning months, we had to settle with a low income but later on need. But somehow this plan did not fructify,\" she the situation improved as trail increased with rising AUM,\" explains. she says acknowledging the fact that trail is the way ahead. One fine day she happened to visit one of her teachers where she met a distributor from the insurance sector. The 2020 pandemic was an opportunity for her. Though \"My teacher suggested that I could look at this and start. I her AUM had fallen, she was not disappointed and asked the insurance person for the details and how to go focused more on bringing in clients and new investments about it,\" she recalls. as the market cracked. It was all casual but Rekha, who was not afraid of failures, “I did not panic during 2008, so there was no question that got into the insurance distribution. Once she entered the I would lose my nerves during 2020. I hand held the financial distribution, other doors too opened. She got to clients, kept them informed and showed previous know about mutual funds in the course of time and she examples of market crashes and the subsequent rise. I cleared the required examination in her third trial. stood firmly with them in this hour,\" adds Rekha. However, before she could clear the examinations, she Her continuous focus on investors' education helped her had already started working with an acquaintance and get more investments and none of her clients quit or learned the basics of mutual fund distribution back in redeemed investments. \"I knew that the lost AUM would 2007. She witnessed the 2008 financial meltdown and the be recovered but the opportunity should be used to bring panic situation among investors. But during her initial more business,\" says Rekha with conviction. learning, she was taught not to avoid investors when they need you the most during a crisis. Summing up her journey, Rekha says that this business is of trust, nothing else. \"If you think of your clients, you will \"I never ran away and made myself available to clients grow. If one tries to mis-sell, it will potentially ruin the during those tough times. It was a great practical learning entire business. It is a long-term story which can last if one is patient and ready to take up challenges.\"

Striving Success Stories Reshu Gupta That is also the time when Gupta started understanding and taking more interest in the practical aspects of client Haridwar onboarding. “Though I am more comfortable handling the behind-the-scenes work and my husband is the For 37-year-old Reshu Gupta, Mutual Fund distribution forerunner in meeting and guiding the clients, I have to was a completely alien field until she got the invaluable take care of the backend responsibility like risk profiling guidance from her husband, Naveen Gupta, who was and research to suggest the right investment products to already in the business since 2000. Based in Haridwar, the clients,” Gupta explained. Uttarakhand, Gupta now has assets worth ` 25 crore under management and a monthly SIP book of ` 10 lakh. Gupta also shared how they have faced difficult situations together as MFDs when the clients used to withdraw “My husband is the one who encouraged me to get into their investments whenever markets went down. The this business along with him and I obtained my ARN in most recent examples are from the past two years when 2013. He has always guided me to understand the work clients withdrew their investments as if “the world was required to be done for the clients at the time of coming to an end.” It becomes very difficult to retain the investment. Now, mostly, I work at the back office if clients at such times. clients require services or paperwork while investing and my husband does all the field work required in this However, Gupta tried to make the clients realize their business.” mistake whenever the markets again recovered. “We had to guide the clients that world has not come to an end and Gupta emphasizes that though initially it was difficult for that if you do not require money, do not redeem your her to get into the business, she tried to understand the investments.” nuances of the business and gained the required expertise “through study and by attending the multiple According to Gupta, it is important to explain the training sessions, workshops and client meetings.” importance of patience to the clients when it comes to Working in the same business, Gupta has been able to mutual fund investments, even in regular situations. “I achieve the work-life balance that she always aimed for. have seen many clients are not ready to wait if the markets are volatile. They decide to withdraw at such a With her husband's background in the insurance time and then lament when the markets recover. I guide distribution field, Gupta shared that they felt it to be such clients even if they have withdrawn their necessary in the early 2000s to expand the business to investments at the right time that they could have gained include more investment options for their existing clients. if they waited a little longer.” “That is when as per the clients' requirements, we expanded to include mutual funds, corporate deposits Gupta also highlights the gender bias that she has often and general insurance in our business.” However, despite faced when she approaches clients. “Clients do avoid me the business going quite well till 2000, the inclusion of when it comes to giving the cheques and do not readily these new investment options was difficult, given the trust when I approach them as compared to my husband. client's apprehensions about it and their lack of This is a problem that I have faced when I try to onboard knowledge, understanding and importance of a product new clients.” That being said, Gupta is hopeful that with like mutual funds. her dedicated efforts, she will be able to bring about a change in the mindset of the people and become an “Back then, as a new MFD, my husband was also not example for other women. initially sure whether we will be able establish ourselves in this business. Gradually, he also improved his For this MFD couple, the key to success has been to knowledge by trainings and meetings to gain experience provide the right guidance to their clients honestly and and knowledge about how Mutual Funds work and how make them aware about how mutual fund investments to recommend the right product to retain clients in the work. With over 1000 clients now in and around Haridwar long-run.” who are mostly retail, they aim to increase their AUM by 10 to 15% in the coming years.

Striving Success Stories Sangita Sameer Colleagues advised her not to lose hope and continue Thakkar with a positive mindset. \"In 2011, I restarted fund distribution and focused prominently on SIPs. I was one Mumbai of the top performers in sourcing business and was awarded for the same,\" she reminisces happily. Sangita Thakkar, 50, is a Mumbai-based mutual fund distributor. She manages investors' portfolios worth ` 60 It was then that Sangita happened to meet a successful crore and caters to about 50 families. Sangita firmly distributor who suggested her to do fund distribution on believes that if one has patience and is goal-oriented, her own and opt for the trail model. \"I readily accepted her there is no need to go anywhere for investments but advice and in 2015, I left the national distributor to start on mutual funds. my own,\" says Sangita. She started with insurance and postal instruments as part She started from scratch. Her existing clients at her of her financial distribution journey in 1999. She was good previous employer helped her get the initial push. \"I did at relationship building and conscious of the fact that not touch their previous investments with the national suitable products should be offered to clients. \"I knew distributor but got their SIPs switched to my code so that that clients' growth would result in my growth, so I never fresh investments through SIP come as my business. My thought about my own benefits first,\" says Sangita. clients did not have a problem with it as they knew me,\" explains Sangita. For her knowledge about a financial product is a must before she offers the same to investors. Her clients And the journey continued. She kept on adding referrals trusted her and knew she would not do any wrong to and focused on relationships based on trust. \"I am now them knowingly. In 2006, one of her clients asked her to catering to the third generation of investors,\" she says add mutual funds into her product basket. \"Since I did not proudly. All these years of experience made Sangita know about how mutual funds work, I first focused on mature to select clients with whom she can go long. \"All learning about it. Unless I am convinced, I can't sell any investors are not for me. I may not be able to handle it all. I product to my investors,\" she says honestly. am very selective and make sure my clients are well educated and informed about the product before I on Sangita joined a national distributor and learnt the board them,\" she says with confidence. concept of SIP and started pushing it to the clients. \"However, when the markets crashed in 2008, no one The 2020 crisis amid lockdown was quite a stressful time guided us how to handle clients in a panic situation,\" she for her new clients. \"Clients who were since 2007 did not recalls. She contacted some of the fellow distributors, panic as they had seen the past cycles. Expecting such who advised her to tell clients to stay put at least for five problems from my new clients, I had told them upfront years. that they needed to be long-term and have an emergency fund for 6-8 months,\" she says. Sangita stood with her \"I was a beginner and the crisis was huge. Since I was the clients during such crisis times and was available for their face for those clients at the national distributor, it was help all round. stressful for me. But I am glad that I managed to convince most of them to continue their SIP for five years. Though Sangita believes that she needs to take care of her clients some stopped their investments, I did not let them for the first 6-8 years and impart continuous education. redeem,\" narrates Sangita. \"Once they get used to the market cycles and turn mature, you don't face much of an issue when there are volatile After the 2009 entry load abolition, Santia turned less markets,\" she adds. active and joined CFP which she could not complete due to her health related issues. However, she could learn Summing up her journey, she says, \"Trust and confidence about inflation adjusted returns, clients' goal planning and of clients are indispensable for growth in this business. various other things which helped her sharpen her Strong and long lasting relationship with a client-oriented distribution skills. approach helped me grow.\"

Striving Success Stories Sellvi Sugumaran her clients also narrates how the market has developed over time. “I used to ask them to start a ` 100 or ` 500 SIP Chennai for about one or two years. Then, people became aware about how mutual funds work. One of my clients started For 58-year-old Sellvi Sugumaran from Chennai, the by investing ` 500 through SIP every month. Now the experience of witnessing first-hand the lack of knowledge same person has active SIPs of over ` 5 lakh a month,” and understanding among retail investors was a she said. motivating force to become a mutual fund distributor. That also highlights a lesson Sugumaran likes to share Despite no formal training or higher education, it was with aspiring MFDs. “I do not have any corporate clients. pure dedication and hard work that has taken Sugumaran All are retail clients but since I have been doing this for to newer heights. While working as an LIC agent before close to 20 years now, those clients who started their the dawn of the 21st century and then while working as a career that time are now on higher professional positions post office agent in early 2000s, she observed how like directors, CFOs or CEOs. Over time, her clients have common the lack of knowledge was, especially with spread across the globe,” she said. So, some of the once respect to financial planning. retail clients are now HNIs and given their trust in their professional association, they have stuck around with “It was during that phase that I witnessed the lack of her. knowledge on the part of people who used to put money in any product calling itself an investment product. Most The massive experience also means that Sugumaran has people wanted money back in 2 years and were not even successfully hand-held her clients through multiple aware about aspects like high charges,” she said. market cycles, including the 2008 crises as well as the latest Covid-fueled market crash. “The jitters all around She recalls how even some basic concepts like inflation were obvious in those situations. However, I always told were unheard of in the context of investments for most the clients to not withdraw their investments in panic. If people. “That time, even many distributors were not they were too scared, I tried to convince them to stop aware about inflation-adjusted returns or planning newer investments for some time, but selling in that according to it,” she remembers. situation was discouraged,” she said. She then started her journey as an MFD in 2003 and has She is also cognizant about the changes taking place in since then worked in this field, gathering assets under the investment ecosystem. For instance, she said, the management of over ` 20 crore and an active monthly SIP children of many of her clients want to do the investments book of over ` 16 lakh. Remarkably now, Sugumaran is a on their own. “They do require guidance. So, what they do qualified Associate Financial Planner (AFP) in Retirement, is consult me for knowledge and pay a fee for that. But Investment and Insurance planning. they want to keep the execution in their control,” she said. Over the two decades of her experience, she has With the changing landscape, she believes an MFD gathered immense insight in to the psyche of the Indian needs to offer value to the clients to retain them. “I am investors. “Most of my clients are quite aware. strong in tax areas and that helped me a lot. I advise my Nowadays, they can even do the investments and the HNI clients about taxes. Auditor tells them same thing at related research and work on their own. In fact, if you tell the time of submission of papers and not at the time of them anything wrong or misguide them, they are able to investment. I used to guide them beforehand. When this spot that,” she highlighted, in contrast to the awareness investment matures, you will have to face these tax levels in the market in early 2000s. problems. So, invest according to that. Because of that most of my clients stick with me,” she said. Back then, anything to do with share market investments was considered as gambling by most people she tried to Accordingly, the mantra for growth for herself as well as persuade towards mutual funds. The journey of some of for newcomers is gaining trust, having sufficient knowledge and adding value for the clients.

Striving Success Stories Shilpi Bansal referral based. I tried to bring in a lot of processes, so that it works better. With the collective expertise of all our Jaipur partners, we could grow faster,\" she says happily. Shilpi acknowledges now that leaving the banking job was a Shilpi Bansal, 43, is a Jaipur-based asset manager and a good decision as she is now able to restore the much partner in the firm N K Kothari Finserve Private Ltd. She, needed balance between her home and professional along with her two partners - N K Kothari and Prashant career. Rathi, manages investors' assets worth ` 375 crore. Catering to nearly 1400 clients - mostly HNIs, she has a \"I am a passionate person and believe in empowering monthly SIP book of ` 3.25 crore. more females. I want working women to have a better work life balance. Almost half of our teammates are An MBA from NMIMS, Mumbai, and a Certified Financial women,\" says Shilpi. Planner (CFPCM), Shilpi, a mother of two doting children, has nearly two decades of experience in the banking Mutual Funds for Shilpi are strong financial investment sector. Her last job was at a foreign bank which she quit in vehicles which enable investors to have exposure to October, 2017. \"Though leaving the banking sector was several asset classes while reaching their financial goals. not an easy decision, I wanted to manage my own time \"It is quite a regulated solution-oriented product, flexible rather than my work managing my time,\" she says. in nature and fits in any individuals' wealth creation journey depending on the goals and risk profile. Frankly She joined N K Kothari Finserve, a decade old firm in speaking, in all these years, I could not find any other Jaipur as a director in the fag-end of 2017 which gave her alternative to mutual funds,\" she says confidently. a good platform. Shilpi strongly believed in business ethics and never wanted to bring any clients from her The trio were already on the trail-based model. \"My firm previous employers. \"There were a lot of synergies in my never opted for upfront as we knew trail was a more client thought processes and the existing partners. And it centric option. We firmly believe that as the economy clicked. All three of us were sure that we could take this grows, penetration of mutual funds will also increase and organisation to a different level as each of us had that will give us scale which is crucial for success\" Shilpi complementary strengths and understood the outlines her thought process. compounding impact of our efforts,\" she points out. Sudden fall in the market during the 2020 pandemic Leaving an MNC and doing business on your own has its pulled their assets down from ` 230 crore to ` 165 crore. challenges which Shilpi could feel. \"Here it was we three But since all the three partners were experienced and had who had to put all the things and processes, set our own witnessed various crashes of the past, they were not targets and strategies and effective measures to grow perturbed. \"We established contacts with a lot of clients business,\" she explains. The trio made sure that the firm on calls and made them understand the situation. We had a strong value system with well established made sure that we are available to our clients during such processes in place. times and kept assuring them to keep them confident about their investments,\" recalls Shilpi. Her two other partners were good at strategising, products and processes while Shilpi focused more on Majority of her investors listened to the client acquisition and retention. \"I tried to bring to the recommendations and acted as suggested. \"We did see table a wider bandwidth in strategic decisions and quite a good inflow during that time which really helped training the existing team members,\" she adds. Since she us not only reclaim the level we fell from but nearly had banking experience and worked in various divisions doubled our asset,\" she adds. of the sector, she did not face any initial hiccups in the new role. Summing up her journey, Shilpi says, \"To be successful in this business, I believe that truthfulness, treating clients' When she joined the firm, the total mutual fund asset money as you would take care of your own money and stood a little over ` 100 crore. \"Most of our business is maintaining ethics and integrity are essential ingredients.\"

Striving Success Stories Sonal J Kotak was they who called me for their investments. I got the initial push and the ball started rolling,\" she smilingly says. Baroda Soon referrals flowed in and she capitalised on it. Sonal Kotak, a Baroda-based mutual fund distributor, \"Leaving the job was my life's best decision. Being manages investors' portfolios worth ` 150 crore across completely on my own sharpened my intuitions. I was asset classes. Mutual funds alone contribute ` 105 crore. able to beautifully manage my work and family,\" says a Catering to nearly 100 families - mostly HNIs, she has a happy Sonal. The 2008 market crash, within a year of her monthly SIP book of ` 40 lakh. With a belief to do the right starting venture, was a blessing in disguise for her. \"It was things for clients with honesty, Sonal says her long-lasting an opportunity. Since I did not have many clients and my relationships with people has helped her grow. equity AUM was not large, the crash did not impact much. I was more into SIP and STP mode of investments, so I An MBA in Finance, Sonal developed an inclination could wriggle out with ease,\" she explains. towards financial matters from her childhood days and was a keen observer. Her father would send her to banks Though it was a slow start, Sonal was steady in her to fill up cheques, deposit slips and passbook updates growth. \"Had I wanted, I would have grown faster but my when she was in school. \"That's how financial literacy was priority was work life balance. I did not do any marketing ingrained in me,\" she says. I liked people and was and it was all referrals,\" she says with conviction. fascinated by numbers,\" she adds. Meanwhile, she started building on trail model and focused on asset allocation investment strategy from the After completion of her management studies in 2000, she very beginning. This strategy made entry load abolition, joined a private bank and soon switched to a foreign bank. and later, upfront ban as non-events in her growth Sonal got married in 2003 and her first child was born next trajectory. year. She built on her debt side of the business and kept Being a working mother, it was not an easy way for her helping clients as per their goals, age and risk appetite. given her long work schedule. “I was living with guilt as I This helped her sail through the 2009-13 phase which was had a small kid but my working hours were late. Thanks to marked with lacklustre and range bound market my supportive in-laws who took care of the family,\" she movements. In 2017, Sonal went completely digital - reminisces. launched her mobile application and got on a cloud based platform. Sonal made up her mind that this can't go on. \"I wanted to have a better work life balance. As the job was not giving Sonal believes in educating clients on a regular basis so me fulfillment any more, I decided to quit,\" she says. that they become informed and mature as their Another factor which propelled her to call it a day was investments grow. This aided her when the 2020 pressure to meet targets by selling unsuitable products to pandemic crisis hit. She turned proactive and called her clients. \"This did not go down well with me, I can't do mis- clients to put money in equity. \"No client was in panic. As selling,\" she highlights her client-centric approach. there was a high margin of safety, I used the crash to invest my clients' money,\" she says. In May, 2007, a seasoned Sonal got her ARN and entered mutual fund distribution. \"I wanted to work on behalf of Such an approach increased her credibility among clients my clients and not on behalf of products,\" she clearly as markets bounced back with hefty gains. \"I understand states her thought process. From day one, she invested in that such volatile times should be utilised to capitalise on technology - the way forward to grow business. the opportunities thrown, which I did,\" she says emphatically. With an inherent nature to nurture and take care of clients' money, Sonal was confident. Though she did not have the Briefly summing up her success mantra of over two database of her previous clients, they had her details. \"It decades of journey in the investment sector, Sonal firmly says, \"Respond to the market and do not predict it.\"

Striving Success Stories Sonal Tushar Mehta In 2009 when the entry load abolition came, Sonal was quite easy with it as her focus had remained on clients' Mumbai benefits and the linked payout was secondary to her. \"I had no problem with the trail. Since the responsibility of Sonal Mehta, 50, a Mumbai-based mutual fund running the house was not completely on me, I did not get distributor, caters nearly 450 families and manages distracted due to the fall in my income,\" she explains. assets worth ` 56 crore. She has a monthly SIP book of ` 32 lakh with mostly retail clients. A passionate Sonal, a Sonal knew the potential in the distribution as several mother of two daughters, loves her work so much that other distributors were shutting their shops post entry she never thinks to retire from this business. load ban. \"I thought it was good as competition would lessen,\" says a confident Sonal. Post her graduation in 1993, Sonal got married two years later. The first few years passed in looking after the family The lacklustre phase from 2009 till 2013 was a great and raising her young kids. Since she was from a middle learning for her. She knew if her clients stayed put, they class family and did understand the value of money, she would have handsome wealth generation whenever the managed her pocket money post her 12th grade. market breaks out. \"I told clients that a minimum 7-10 years is needed to reap the benefits of equity,\" adds She proudly says that from a very young age she was Sonal. And this navigation strategy worked well, taking care of her expenses - be it buying books or taking reinforcing her clients' trust in her. care of some of the family's expenses. As service was her stronghold, she did not face the brunt While she was settling down in a married life, Sonal of direct plans in 2013. \"If investors are savvy, they should always wanted to be financially independent. Her go for it. I maintained that transparency. Since I offered supportive husband, who had a joint family, encouraged good services and I was already on the digital platform, her in 2003 to join one of his friends who was into financial my clients stayed with me,\" she opines. product distribution. Sonal already had shifted on the trail model and was This helped her understand the basic nuances of how focusing on increasing her volume to sustain her income. financial investments work. It was in 2007 that she \"One can't do much about the regulatory changes, so with entered into the fund distribution on her own as Sonal, an a positive mindset I concentrated on my work and moved avid reader, had quite an understanding about mutual ahead with trail much ahead of the actual ban on upfront,\" funds by then. she says. \"I had to start from scratch as I maintained my ethics that I In 2020, as uncertainty hovered due to the pandemic, her would not take away a single client from the person who AUM fell to ` 28 crore from ` 40 crore. Having seen the taught me,\" she says with integrity. It took her time to earlier market crashes, Sonal remained unperturbed as build her client base. \"Once a client develops trust in me, she is a firm believer in India's growth story. references follow which so far I have been able to convert as my investors,\" she smilingly says. \"The pandemic time was an opportunity to build on my business. I recommended clients to buy more in a However, within a year of her entry into fund distribution, staggered manner. Majority of my investors did lump sum the 2008 financial meltdown unfolded resulting in a investments as the markets cracked,\" she says while market crash. \"Since I did not have many clients then, the acknowledging the benefits of educating clients on a crash did not impact me. From day one, I spent adequate regular basis. time with my clients during the boarding period to educate them about markets and investment,\" explains Outlining her success mantra, Sonal says, \"I treat my Sonal. This greatly helped her during the crisis as being clients as my family and focus on goal-based planning informed, her clients did not panic. with a long-term approach. If I think good for my investors, I am bound to grow.\"

Striving Success Stories Suman Jain job to handhold clients, and initially, whenever markets were not performing well, I helped my clients to Saharanpur understand that this is actually the right time to invest and not withdraw their investments. Now, gradually most of Suman Jain, 45, from Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh has now my present clients are more patient, and themselves been a mutual fund distributor forover a decade. Getting come forward to invest in case of markets dropping.” into the business dedicatedly in 2010 was clearly a necessity for her and her husband when they were in dire The building of trust with the clients forms the key to need of financial security in order to survive. Jain's successful career as an MFD. She firmly believes that if a distributor is loyal to the clients, it will “Having got my ARN in 2007, I seriously started this automatically lead to their own goodwill or reputation and business only in 2010. The reason being the financial help the attain more clients through reference. crisis that we were going through at that point of time,” recalls Jain. Now, both Jain and her husband are Jain has also been a driver of change in an otherwise successful MFDs with a combined monthly SIP book of gender-biased Indian society in which women do not get ` 16 lakh and 300 clients spread in and around much say in the financial matters of the family. She has Saharanpur. noticed that being a woman MFD, it is easier to encourage other women to take interest in the financial Jain emphasizes the fact that “the only inspiration to get investments by their family members. into the mutual fund distribution business was that there was no seed money required to start this particular “If my husband and I both go together to a client meeting, business as opposed to most of the other businesses. the clients' wife also comes along because I am present. We did not have anything to lose. We could only put In turn, it becomes easier to encourage them to invest. As sincere efforts in the business.”Jain is now a successful per my experience, I feel decisions about financial MFD with the assets under her management worth over investment is readily accepted by the women if they are ` 25 crore. aware about it. They help convince their family members as well.” However, the road to success was not quite easy. She recalls how during the early years of her business, Jain has a valuable advice for the new MFDs who she onboarding clients was “like climbing a mountain.” She thinks “are quite impatient and if they do not achieve their had to convince clients to invest in Mutual Funds by goal in the early years, they start panicking.” She showing her own personal investments and ensuring emphasized on the importance of “unwavering patience them that their money will not be lost. and utmost dedication” in this business. “At that time, people did not trust Mutual Fund “Along with patience, it is also important to keep on investments. Convincing them initially to start investing working to improve your own knowledge through with amounts as small as ` 100 or ` 500 in SIP was very attending seminars and training sessions.” Jain still tries difficult, especially in a town like Saharanpur. People were to upgrade her skills and knowledge by attending most of only aware about bank FDs and insurance schemes. I the training sessions held in Ludhiana and Dehradun. literally had to show our own SIP investments to people in order to make them trust the mutual fund investments,” Jain is positive that this is a growing business which has a she said. lot of untapped potential. She always guides women who wish to enter into this business and helps them Jain also talks about the importance of providing the right understand all its nuances and how everything works. kind of guidance to the clients when the markets are not favorable for those who have invested. “It takes a lot of Talking about her future aim for the business, Jain effort to educate the clients about nuances of investment ambitiously signs off saying, “I wish to achieve ` 100 and when is it right for them to invest. As MFDs, it is our crore as assets under management combined along with my husband in the coming years.”

Striving Success Stories Surbhi Mirajkar Her coming of age was accompanied by a new journey where she started to gain more knowledge about Jalandhar people's finances. Surbhi Mirajkar, 24, is a Jalandhar-based Mutual Fund The thirst for reaching a certain level of financial literacy Distributor who is currently single handedly steering her kept her moving in her business. She is a Commerce father's business which she believes was destined to graduate. Now at 24 she is into her final years of Masters happen to her “naturally”. Her journey in the mutual funds of Business Administration (MBA) which she hopes is industry was not a coincidence. Neither she had a prior- going to end in three four months time. plan in her mind to profess it. Her story began in 2015 when she was just 17. She thinks that being a commerce graduate helps her a lot in mutual funds distribution industry. Besides, she is At such a young age, she started to assist her father in his pursuing an year-long Certified Financial Planner's course. business. She would do such basic works as keeping the office intact, donning the role of office boy and filling up Nowadays she handles her own clients who she gets client's forms. She was a girl of many hats even at that from Pathankot, Katra, Jammu, New Delhi , Bengaluru, time. Mumbai and Goa. She says she started working when she was in 12th standard. Mirajkar believes unlike other In 2003, his father started as a small-time mutual fund professionals she has been lucky as while she was advisor. Back then her father would tell people how studying she had a chance to get a live working mutual funds were beneficial for keeping one's financial experience over these years. health intact. He would tell them how they can reap an good returns of they invest in mutual funds. The company that started with a humble Assets Under Management (AUM) in its kitty now bosts off handling an To make them familiar with financial world, he would tell AUM worth 167 crore annually. With the rise in AUM, them about fixed deposits, time deposits, Recurring Mirajkar says, the SIP book has also seen an upward deposits and other saving instruments. They would journey. Today, the Company is doing a monthly SIP of organise awareness camps with the various locations ` 1.67 crore which amounts to around ` 20 crore annually. where they would educate people about financial planning, setting retirement goals, the value of saving Mirajkar says for them their clients are everything and for money and investing it as well. them they are always on their toe to answer there queries. Such is their dedication towards their clients that, she By the year 2006, the new entrant in the mutual fund says, even if they are at a family function, at the dining distribution segment was at a new crossroads. Her father table or watching a movie together they just rush to the entered into another collaboration. This time he started a client's calls. For them the client is the “Boss”, he is the partnership with the SMC Global. “CEO” as she says Surbhi Investments is not so much involved into number game as the client are their top Around this time they were handling an AUM of most priority. approximately ` 25-30 crore, which was not an insignificant number in terms of growth as they had As part of her biggest advice to her clients, she asks them started barely three years back. when they are working to earn money then why they are not letting the money to work for them? She thinks the Surbhi was born to be a financial advisor. When she was only way to make money work for you is through 17, she was very curious about the “money matters”. She investments should also work to save money. For her, would happen to listen to her father talk on phone, at saving money is important but investing it in mutual funds home or at office about financial planning, retirement, or other instruments that beat inflation is important. She savings and investments. advises people to make money work for you as you have already worked to earn money.

Striving Success Stories Swati Joshi she smilingly narrates. Swati had now the professional touch in the distribution with client-centric, goal-based Thane strategy. She conducted awareness programmes while restoring investors' confidence on equities after the 2008 Swati Joshi, 47, a Thane-based mutual fund distributor, crash. \"It is clients' hard earned money, they must know manages investors' assets worth ` 340 crore. She caters where they are investing. We spent more time educating to 750 families and has a monthly SIP book of ` 2.75 crore. them as informed clients remain for the long-term,\" she Swati, founder of Moneybolism Financial Services, has a stresses. strong conviction and believes no other financial product is as effective as mutual funds - capable of making any The 2009 entry load ban was not a hurdle for her as she investor a crorepati. She has a mission to touch 10000 never focused on commission payout. \"Since we had the families in this business. long-term vision, we accepted the change,\" she adds. During the period of range bound market movement of A qualified architect, Swati always had interest in finance. 2009-13, a learning for her investors, Swati kept adding Her uncle, an avid investor, is her mentor who helped values and built on the referral business. Swati get introduced to the financial world. She started investing in mutual funds as soon as she got her first pay \"By now we already had so much trust and strong cheque back in 1995. \"Since I had my personal relationship and we made sure we maintain complete investments in mutual funds, I learned about the market transparency,\" she says. So the launch of direct plans in cycles and developed the understanding that to create 2013 did not impact her. \"Some clients did go only to wealth one needs to stay invested despite the market come back as they realised our relevance,\" points out volatility,\" she says. After a few months of her marriage in Swati. By 2016, she was completely digital in her 2000, she got to know that her husband, a computer operations. engineer, was into financial distribution. Fully understanding the growth prospects of the fund \"We had a common interest, so I started assisting him,\" distribution in the long term, Swati adopted the trail she recalls. Swati got her ARN in 2003, the year she model. She easily eschewed any knee jerk impact when became a mother of her first child. This did not let her fully the upfront was abolished in 2018. \"My growth is in my focus on her new venture. In 2005, she got back and clients' growth which I was clear from the very beginning started looking after both her businesses - architecture so opting for trail was a no-brainer,\" she says with practice and fund distribution. conviction. She focused on SIP and started building her client base Now, with over two decades of experience, Swati knew slowly. \"From the very beginning, I never believed in being how to live with volatility. When the 2020 pandemic crisis a transactional distributor. I was more into relationship hit, her AUM dropped to ` 210 crore from ` 270 crore. building with trust and confidence while imparting \"Unperturbed with the crash, I suggested investors to education among my clients,\" she suggests. stay invested. For a short period, I shifted assets to debt but as the cracks went deeper, I got clients back to equity,\" In 2007, Swati developed some health related issues as says Swati. Majority of her clients stayed put and did not her second child was born. \"I decided to focus on one discontinue SIPs. business. I left my architecture practice and got into a full- fledged mutual fund distribution,\" she adds. It was here Summing up her journey, Swati says, \"One needs to be that her real distribution journey began as the market was true to oneself and clients. Never mis-sell, have patience in its fag-end of the rally. and be knowledgeable with the products.\" According to her, she can't find any better option than mutual funds for \"I, along with my husband, did aggressive marketing and long-term wealth creation. She aims to reach an AUM of kept on pushing SIPs. My husband mentored and ` 1000 crore in the next five years and targets to touch encouraged me to do the CFP which I cracked in 2009,\" 4000 families. \"Till my last breath, I will preach and practice mutual funds,\" Swati signs off with a confident smile.

Striving Success Stories Vanita Ojha and steadily she built upon references. \"It's all a referral business. If your clients trust you and have long Udaipur relationships, they help bring in new clients,\" she says. Vanita Ojha, 45, an Udaipur-based mutual fund distributor, Further, what helped her was yet another start of a rally in manages portfolios worth ` 60 crore of nearly 500 clients. the market in 2014. \"Learning from past mistakes, I made Along with this, she also looks after a family office. sure I don't repeat them,\" says Vanita with confidence. A commerce post graduate and an MBA, Vanita started Since she was starting from scratch, she opted for with insurance distribution in 2003. Upon realising that upfront to sustain her expenses. It was like a second her clients won't make much money in such products coming for Vanita in the business. However, this time given the fees and other charges involved, she wanted to around, she was more learned, mature, confident and offer some such products which could make a difference knowledgeable with an aim for long-term business. in her clients' financials. The compulsory trail model in 2018 did hit her for a few One of her husband's friends suggested mutual fund months. But she settled soon as her AUM had turned distribution. After clearing the required exams she considerable in size. \"I understood trail was a better entered fund distribution in 2005. Markets were also in a option because it is all about clients' benefits. As long as bull phase then. Within two years of her entry in the fund clients stay and grow with us, our income will be taken business, Vanita reached an AUM size of ` 15 crore by care of,\" she says. 2007. Having seen so many ups and downs in the market and But then things went for a toss. \"When worse has to her own life, a seasoned Vanita was ready to take up any happen our rational does not work. It happened to me as I challenge with sincerity. That's why when the 2020 got into stock broking given the euphoria in the market,\" pandemic hit the market, she did not lose her calm. she recalls. With mutual understanding with clients she \"Though my clients were in panic mode, I strongly hand invested some of clients' money into direct stocks only to held them and suggested they stay put. This was an see the market crash in a year. \"It was quite stressful,\" she opportunity,\" she pinpoints. adds. She went aggressive on equities and made her clients not The entry load abolition of 2009 made matters worse and only continue with their investments but invest more as she sidelined her mutual fund business. \"By mid 2013, my the market cracked. The strategy worked and her clients clients booked huge losses due to volatility in the market,\" did quite well when there was a robust bounce back after she reminisces with a heavy voice. a year. As she was undergoing the painful phase, her husband Vanita aims to reach an AUM size of ` 100 crore in the next was diagnosed with the first stage of cancer. \"It was a 6 months. She happily says that she is also now catering medical emergency, I had to make sure he recovers fast,\" to the new generations of her old clients. adds Vanita. Her husband was out of danger in a few months time, which relaxed her. Having had a roller coaster ride in her distribution business, Vanita says that her journey would not have Vanita took some time to reorganise herself and re- been possible had there been no support from her family. focused on mutual funds. She had an AUM size of ` 50 \"My family supported me unconditionally. That's why I lakh when she restarted in the end of 2013. could reach from ` 50 lakh to ` 60 crore. Credit goes to my husband who always stood by me,\" she says with a smile. As Vanita was always in touch with her clients, she convinced her clients to invest in mutual funds. She \"This business is of trust, relationships, honesty. It is started pushing SIP to build an investment base. Slowly possible if you know the product and remain ethical while keeping client first strategy,\" Vanita sums up her journey.

Striving Success Stories Vinita Baraya of investments. \"As the market declined, I made clients understand that this is yet another market cycle. Not only Jaipur they stayed put, but those who could, invested more,\" narrates Vinita. Vinita Baraya, 52, a Jaipur-based mutual fund distributor, manages investors' assets worth about ` 130 crore. Commercials for Vinita were never a focus area. \"I paid Catering to 400 families, she has a monthly SIP book of more attention to my work. I know whatever changes ` 49 lakh. Considering mutual funds as earning partners happen, it's good for the industry. Just we need to stay for investors, Vinita believes that it not only helps them put and focus on our work,\" she tells emphatically. When reach their financial goals but ensures long-term wealth the entry load abolition took away the 2.25% upfront, she creation. was not concerned. \"As time passed, I could see my income rise with AUM. I do not see trail model a problem,\" A science graduate and a qualified Certified Management she says. According to her, outgo of entry load made sure Accountant, Vinita got married in 1991. She became a the prevailing malpractices by few were capped. mother of two by 1993. She got her first job with a merchant banker in 1994. As the country was opening up Vinita maintained transparency with her clients. Direct post the economic reforms, Vinita took this as an plans did not pose a challenge to her. She told clients opportunity to shape up her career. Soon, she was offered upfront about the benefits and disadvantages of direct another financial firm which was into financial schemes. \"I was strong on the service front and clients investments. It was learning for her to serve and develop had confidence in me that I would always offer suitable relationships with clients. products to them. They stayed put with me,\" she says with conviction. In 2002, she called it a day and thought of starting as a freelancer in the mutual fund profession. Her existing As the debate about trail versus upfront surged, Vinita clients were very supportive and she started working with slowly switched to a mix of trail and upfront. She could full enthusiasm. The market was entering the bull run realise the benefits of trail. And when the complete ban then. Vinita worked hard and focused on clients' on upfront came, it was a smooth transformation for her. investments management with full consciousness so \"Trail is a win-win situation for all stakeholders,\" she says that she can maintain her client trust. happily. Markets were in the upswing and so were the returns of When the 2020 pandemic hit and the market tanked amid Vinita's investors. \"They were happy and as their lockdowns, Vinita took this as an opportunity to shift portfolios gained size, their confidence and knowledge several clients on her digital platform. \"Despite being also grew,\" she recalls the phase of the rally. digital, nearly 30-40 % of my clients preferred offline transactions. With a lockdown imposed, they have no A seasoned financial expert by then, Vinita already had options but to go online,\" she explains. As the market witnessed several cycles of the market. With her cracked further, some of her HNI clients panicked. She enhanced knowledge and experience she imparted immediately connected with them and hand held them education among her clients. \"Right from day one, I make strongly. \"Though very few of them redeemed the clients aware about the risks involved in investments. I amount, the majority of the clients stayed put,\" adds always tell clients to understand the difference between Vinita for whom market dip during the pandemic was yet savings and investments so that they can go for long-term another cycle in her over two decades of experience. investment to fulfil their goals,\" Vinita adds. Summing up her success mantra, she says, \"Keep This greatly helped her during the 2008 financial crisis. \"By working hard with focus on clients' benefit first. Never be then my clients were almost like shock absorbers,\" she dishonest and don't look only at your returns.\" Vinita, who smiles. She had continuously taught them about the is now handling the 3rd and 4th generation of her clients, market cycles, and her investors understood the nuances signs off by saying, \"When my clients reach their financial goals, it fills me with immense satisfaction.\"

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