OUR PARTNER’S JOURNEY OF DETERMINATION AND PERSEVERANCE
Aniruddha Chaudhuri Head - Retail Sales ICICI Prudential AMC 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 11 success stories of individuals 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. In this Series we are sharing the stories of Amit Gadoya, Anita Dutta, Arjun Rebello & Suraj Betkikar, Bimlesh Kumar Sinha, Chetan Kumar Tulsyan, Hrushikesh Swain, Manasi Mahesh Soman, Mudit Khanna, Prasad Heramb Fadnavis, Prasenjit Sarkar and Rajesh Ramgopal Chitlange. In the quarters ahead, we will be sharing more of such inspirational stories. We hope these experiences shared become a beacon of light for all the members of the distributor fraternity. At ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund, we firmly believe the journey thus far has been enriching thanks to the active participation of the distributor, investor community. Over the years, based on the feedback received, we could bring forth investment products, solutions across asset classes which could resonate with the needs of the masses. Along with this, thanks to your perseverance, mutual fund today has created an edge for itself in the personal finance space. Finally, if you have any feedback or suggestion, feel free to reach me at [email protected]
Striving Success Stories Amit Gadoya up quite well. “As our tagline goes, I feel that building trust and giving proper advice to the clients is very important. Gondal During the first meeting itself, a client will try to judge if Amit Gadoya, 44 is the founder of Heet Investment, a you are providing proper advice. If he is able to trust you in financial services company which was started in 2007. the first meeting, then the client will definitely come Based in the city of Gondal, Gujarat, Gadoya entered the again,” he said. When dealing with new clients, Gadoya business of mutual fund distribution in 2005. makes sure to meet them at least for an hour and explain how investments in various financial instruments work. Initially, he used to invest for personal gain or recommend mutual fund schemes to family or friends, running a He also shared a specific story of a client who wanted to cutlery shop at the time. Gradually, he began invest ` 60 lakh and had a personal loan of ` 10 lakh yet to recommending mutual fund schemes to his customers be repaid. Gadoya recommended him to invest only ` 50 as well. This is how he first started building a client base lakh and to first repay the loan amount so that it can be from his cutlery shop. Today, his company has assets beneficial to the client in both ways. under management worth ` 90 crore and a monthly SIP book of ` 75 lakh. “I believe that giving proper advice without thinking about the commission to be earned will lead to sustained When asked about his inspiration to enter the mutual fund growth in the business,” he said. distribution business in 2005, Gadoya has a unique family history and experience to share. “My mother, Kalaben Talking about the importance of SIP, Gadoya shared that Gadoya, 73, was actively associated with the stock investing in SIP is the most reliable way to ensure benefit markets in 1980s. Also, from a very early age, I used to to the customers. “Last year on Diwali, we held a accompany my father or uncle when they used to meet campaign of 'yeh Diwali SIP wali' and successfully the clients for any share market dealings in Gondal,” he completed 112 SIPs in a single day,” he shared. said. According the Gadoya, the best thing that has happened Thus, having familial roots in financial business over his whole career span is the development of online encouraged Gadoya to think of starting a similar line of means to invest. “When I started, even though I tried my business. Today, his company deals in a variety of best, I could not meet more than four clients in a day but financial products including mutual funds and general today, we can do everything online and that helps us to insurance. connect with more people from different places. I feel this is why there is so much scope in this business at However, the road to success was not so easy. Gadoya present,” he said. shares how initially when he used to meet any clients and tell them that he was a mutual fund distributor, they used One of the achievements that Gadoya considers to be a to think that he was an insurance agent. milestone of his career is having built a corporate house in the town of Gondal around a year and a half back. “Financial awareness was extremely low and mutual funds were also not so popular,” he said. This did not “I never aimed for a small office space. Having started my deter Gadoya as he believed that as an MFD, it is his duty business from my cutlery shop, I always wanted to build a to build awareness among the people of his town and proper office building with all facilities required for beyond. businesses and I realized my dream in 2020,” he shared rejoicingly. Gadoya now provides services to over 2,000 clients spread across Gujarat and has a 5-member team to His future goals for his business are to set up more efficiently manage all the workload. When talking about commercial office buildings in Rajkot and Jetpur in the keys to becoming successful in the business, he said Gujarat. “As the saying goes, 'to become rich, make that his company's tagline 'Trust is our trademark' sums it others rich', I want my family, my team and my clients to benefit from my growth as well,” Gadoya said.
Striving Success Stories Anita Dutta challenge still exists, but I don't get distracted and focus on my work,\" she says with a smile. Gaya The entry load abolition in 2009 hit her remunerations. Anita Dutta, 46, is a Gaya-based mutual fund distributor in \"Initially, I thought it would be a big hit to us. Then we the state of Bihar. A mother of two, she manages considered charging fees from clients which did not work investors' assets worth ` 50 crore and caters to over 3000 out in Gaya as investors resisted,\" she explains the retail clients. Passionate about creating financial situation. The only factor which propelled her was Anita's awareness among the masses, Anita strongly believes trust and long-term vision in the growth of the industry. that financial management should be a priority for people to achieve their goals. Mutual funds, being flexible products suitable to all kinds of investors, are probably the best solution for investors, I A science graduate, Anita always wanted to do had a positive perspective of its growth and remained in something on her own. However, being the eldest the business\" she says emphatically. daughter she got married in 1998 and shifted to Mumbai with her husband who is in defence. The launch of direct plans posed challenges but Anita says that one needs to keep adding values to client It was there that she came across several people who servicing. This ensures clients stay with you. Meanwhile, were involved in the financial market which attracted her. she gradually shifted to the all-trail model as she could In 2005, registered herself as a mutual fund distributor figure out that trail is more remunerative in the long run. and the journey began. The fall in the market during the 2020 pandemic hit her \"There was very little awareness about mutual funds. My AUM which fell from ` 35 crore to ` 25 crore. There was major task was to first make them aware about mutual panic among her clients. funds and why they are important. It was a slow take off,\" recalls Anita the initial hiccups. She focused on SIPs as \"I knew that ups and downs were part of the market. she catered largely to service class investors. Markets Staying invested in tough times is the key to generate were in a rally and the going was good for her as well as wealth. More than 90% of my investors stayed put. her clients. Rather, those who had surplus did additional purchases during the fall,\" she says with confidence. The 2008 global meltdown was a learning phase for Anita. It was her first major crack in her distribution career. \"Today I am proud to say that those clients who had faith \"Since I was new and did not have a large client base and in me emerged a lot wealthier. It is the task of majority of them were investing through SIP route with a intermediaries like me to handhold clients during tough tenure of 8-10 years, I did not face a major problem. But I times so that their discipline in investments remain took clients into confidence to continue with their intact,\" pinpoints Anita. investments while aiming for their goals,\" she narrates. She encourages newcomers into the distribution sector Since she believed in trust-based long-term relationships and suggests that they should be patient and with regular updates to clients, her investors stayed knowledgeable and give their best in the first 4-5 years to invested. And as the market bounced back in 2009, attain stability. Anita aims to reach an AUM of ` 100 crore investors' faith in Anita only increased and relationships in the next five years and believes that growth of the grew stronger. Meanwhile, in 2008, Anita shifted to Gaya mutual fund industry is unstoppable. as she lost her mother. It was a major change for her professionally. Over the last several years I have groomed myself a lot and am ready to face any situations and queries from Gaya, being a small city, threw challenges for her being a investors, she proudly sums up her journey. According to woman. \"Society was uncomfortable with a woman doing her, the success mantra is to keep doing good work with a financial job which has no scheduled timings. That honesty without worrying about the results. \"If you do that, nothing will pull you back,\" she logs off.
Striving Success Stories Arjun Rebello & Suraj with less than 10 years tenure. According to them, return- Betkikar based clients are short-term in nature as they don't understand the value of risk-adjustment and asset Goa allocation. Suraj (43) and Arjun (41) are Goa-based mutual fund Though the market recovered in 2009, another setback distributors and founders of Milestone Financial Services. was abolition of entry load. \"Initially it came as a shock to Catering over 500 clients and managing investors' assets us but we never thought of pulling down the shutters as worth ` 230 crore, they command a monthly SIP book we were long-term players. We never looked at our of over ` 1 crore. A strong belief in long-term wealth business in earning terms,\" they add. generation with focus on risk-management and client- first strategy, the duo considers their success is in-built in The long lull period during 2009 - 2013 did pose a their clients' growth. Being batchmates during the challenge as portfolios did not perform. \"However, we had management studies, both had plans to set up a financial the luxury of having clients in their 40s who were not in services business. \"However, we thought of gaining some the stage of harvesting their wealth. They had 15 years experience in the sector while working before starting our ahead. So we navigated them to use the phase for shop,\" they say. After passing out MBA in 2003, Suraj accumulating units,\" narrates Arjun. joined a job in Kolkata while Arjun moved to Mumbai. Post the entry load ban, the duo immediately shifted to As the economic cycle was looking up, both decided not trail model given their long-term business horizon and a to waste too much time and shifted back in 2005 and set win-win situation because of trail for all stakeholders. up their business in Goa. \"Since neither of us was from a Further, the launch of direct plans in 2013 was a non-event business family background, we started from scratch for them. using whatever savings we had. Majority in Goa were in traditional investment avenues,\" recalls Arjun. They \"It was not a threat at all. Most of our clients realised the realised they had to create a market by spreading value addition we did to them. We sold concepts and education. \"Most of our clients never invested in Mutual solutions and not merely products,\" emphasises Suraj. Funds. So, for the first 4-5 years we were mainly into They adopted technology way before Covid in 2016 and creating awareness about financial planning,\" says Suraj. thus remained unharmed during the 2020 lockdown. Though their AUM did dip 15-20%, the duo did not panic. Right from the beginning they had a long-term approach and slowly shifted clients' focus from returns to financial Arjun and Suraj enjoy great integrity and ethics when it planning. What really worked in their favour was their comes to their business. Having different skill sets, they clarity about what they wanted to do. Slowly as the complement each other. \"Had we been doing our business took off, investors gained confidence, markets business separately, it was absolutely not possible to also supported and referral business started picking up. reach where we are today,\" pinpoints Arjun. Going \"We see it as an outcome of our good work,\" says Arjun forward they plan to have better monitoring processes confidently. and add on more execution capabilities as risk management is a priority. \"If you run your business with The 2008 crisis was their first market crash during their the strategy of clients' interest first, the rest falls in place entrepreneurship. \"It was a difficult period for us. Thanks automatically,\" adds Suraj. to our hand holding and regular updates to ensure clients' SIP is not stopped, it did work. Further, our asset With a belief that the mutual fund industry has large allocation strategy with prime focus on risk-management scope to grow from here on, they suggest newcomers did come to our rescue. We faced no redemptions,\" says into distribution to come with a 20 years focus with Suraj with pride. integrity. \"This job is purely long-term and it is a full time job. Short-term approaches could be counter-productive,\" Since they have no control on markets' volatility, they the duo says. Talking about their success mantra, Arjun focused on clients' thinking on what they have control on. and Suraj sign off while saying in unison, \"Absolute client Meanwhile, they stayed away boarding clients to equity focus and integrity.\"
Striving Success Stories Bimlesh Kumar Sinha When faced with the 2008 crisis, Sinha, who knew that his prime focus was servicing clients, stood by his Arrah investors and reminded them about their goals and tenure. \"I hand held my clients and told them it was time Bimlesh Sinha, 44, is a mutual fund distributor based out to average out the cost of investments as crash was an of Arrah city in Bhojpur district of Bihar. Catering to over opportunity to invest more,\" explains Sinha. 300 clients, he manages investors' assets worth ` 51 crore while his monthly SIP book stands at ` 40 lakh. From His clients had developed faith in him and stayed a farmer's family, Sinha had a struggling childhood. His invested. The bounce back in the market after a year belief in hard work and honesty helped him reach where strengthened their confidence in Sinha. The entry load he is today. ban did make Sinha's fraternity close down their shutters. It was tough for him too. An arts graduate and a law student, Sinha was not inclined to do a 9 to 5 job. \"I knew that to grow, doing \"Since the financial market was my passion and I was a business is the only way and I was interested in making long-term player, I stayed put. I realised that I need to cut my career in the financial market,\" says Sinha. He faced down my costs and strengthen my services,\" says Sinha criticism from his family and community which was with conviction. mainly into jobs. \"My father stopped talking to me upon knowing that I wanted to do business,\" he recalls with a As the markets entered the long range-bound phase post low voice. bouncing back in 2009, Sinha geared up to boost SIP so that clients accumulate units at lower prices. The direct Sinha says that his mother was his source of inspiration. scheme launch appeared a threat to him. But thanks to \"She would tell me that though I was born poor, I must not the trust-based relationships he had built over the years, die poor,\" he narrates. After his matriculation, Sinha did he saw no impact of direct. not take money from his family and took door-to-door tuition classes. \"I always valued every penny. There is no Amid rising debate over trail and upfront, Sinha gradually easy way to earn it,\" he pinpoints. shifted to all trail and understood the importance and relevance of trail commissions. His wife helped Sinha In 2003, Sinha got into insurance distribution and within take his business online which boosted his distribution two years he added mutual funds in his product basket in and added convenience and efficiency. \"I specially thank 2005. He gives credit to his friends, Krishna Kumar Beria, my wife, without whose support, it would be impossible in particular, for encouraging and supporting him. \"He for me to grow,\" he emphasises. helped me gain confidence and guided me,\" he adds. Online presence did help him during the 2020 pandemic Lack of awareness and absence of any mutual fund lockdown. He proudly says that during the crisis times he offices posed the initial challenge to Sinha who started could grow 70% as his investors were mature enough to his business riding a bicycle. \"Nobody was ready to give understand the importance of corrections for long-term money for mutual funds. I would put road-side canopies wealth generation. and distribute mutual funds. Door-to-door meeting clients and then travelling 60km by passenger train to Sinha firmly believes that the mutual fund industry is set Patna to submit forms was my schedule,\" recollects to grow manifold from here on. He aims to reach an AUM Sinha. of ` 200 crore and an SIP book of ` 2 crore in the next five years. He encourages newcomers in the distribution It was a time-consuming affair for him. \"My only passion business to think long-term and do hard work while was to learn about financial markets and help people keeping customers at the centre. create wealth which would take care of my growth,\" he adds. Sinha focused more on lump sums and told Summing up his journey, Sinha talks about his success investors to come with a minimum tenure of 5 years. Ball mantra as 'Hard and continuous work with honesty'. kept on rolling and gained momentum. \"There is no other business as good as mutual fund distribution,\" he signs off.
Striving Success Stories Chetan Kumar 2009-13 when markets remained range-bound and Tulsyan returns were almost flat, Chetan and his brother ensured they were standing with clients. Dhanbad \"When the market corrects or remains under performing, Chetan Tulsyan, 38, is a Dhanbad-based mutual fund we engage more with our clients. We hand hold our distributor who manages investors' assets worth ` 180 customers and keep on regularly updating them while crore. Catering to nearly 3000 retail clients, he has a ensuring they remain goal-focused. We focus on having strong monthly SIP book of ` 1.5 crore. Transparency and happy and satisfied investors. Bad experiences will make ethics are his core values without which, he believes, one it difficult for investors to come back,\" says Chetan. can't think long-term success. He gradually shifted to trail-based model as and when the A commerce graduate, Chetan along with his elder option was available. \"Trail is a much better business brother Vikas joined a financial firm to understand the proposition and a win-win situation for all as we view our nuances of financial products. In 2007, the brothers business from a long-term perspective,\" he pinpoints. The started the mutual fund distribution on their own. Chetan launch of direct plans in 2013 continues to be a challenge in his early 20s then was naive and was in the process of for Chetan. \"Though we endeavour to offer the best gaining knowledge and confidence. service to our clients, some of the investors do shift to direct platforms,\" he explains. \"Initially we faced the challenge of lack of awareness. Most investors were into post office and banking Most of Chetan's business was through offline mode till instruments. They considered mutual funds as some kind Covid hit India in 2020. As the market corrected over 35% of chit funds and avoided them. It was a time taking in a short span of time, Chetan's AUM dipped to ` 110 process to convince investors,\" recalls Chetan. crore from ` 150 crore. Amid the nationwide lockdown, he was quick to adopt technology to offer services to Slowly, he started adding clients and the journey took off. clients. \"The lockdown period was, indeed, tough. But the Investors could see growth in their portfolios as markets good part was investors called to invest this time around,\" were good. However, barely a year into the business, he says with a smile. This was a clear departure from the Chetan faced the 2008 global financial meltdown. \"We 2008 crisis when investors would redeem. were new players and did not have much understanding. What we did was just to tell clients that this phase would \"Educating clients on a regular basis is one of our get over, they need to be patiently invested,\" Chetan priorities. If an investor understands the market nuances, narrates. his confidence and trust grow which make him mature during the course of investment,\" emphasises Chetan. He The crisis was a great learning exercise for him. Within a exhibits strong conviction in the growth of the mutual year when the market bounced back, those investors who fund industry going forward and aims to reach ` 500 crore stayed put could see their portfolios coming back on track of AUM by 2025. \"Technology has greatly helped making and their trust in Chetan and mutual funds did improve. the business far more convenient and efficient. I have a target to take my SIP book to ` 5 crore by 2025,\" he says. The entry load abolition was yet another shocking experience for Chetan in 2009. However, by then his He encourages newcomers to join the mutual fund understanding about the potential growth in the mutual distribution but advises them to be a long-term player fund industry had increased. Some of the industry with patience and integrity. \"This business is all based on officials advised him to stay put in the business with trust, relationship, transparency and demands a lot of patience, which Chetan did. patience,\" Chetan adds. \"We have always been long-term players with focus on \"There must not be any compromise with ethics and to clients' interest with ethics and transparency. Entry load succeed in the long-term, your focus has to be clients' had its impact but we never thought to stop the interest. That's the key to success,\" he concludes while business,\" he says with confidence. During the period of summing up his journey.
Striving Success Stories Hrushikesh Swain to the launch of direct schemes in 2013. \"It was like a non- event for me as none of my clients moved to direct. Kolkata Rather, given my service and regular updates, they had no problems with my earnings,\" he says with confidence. Hrushikesh Swain, 53, is a Kolkata-based mutual fund distributor managing investors' assets worth ` 53 crore. He shifted to trail-based commission model as and when Catering to over 200 clients, his monthly SIP book stands it was available. \"Since I believed in the long-term growth at ` 11 lakh. With a firm belief that mutual funds are the story, trail was a much better business proposition,\" he investment vehicles which can effectively help people narrates. This outlines his understanding about the long- attain financial freedom, Hrushikesh focuses more on term benefits of trail and how it would turn into a win-win adding value to customers than being a mere situation for all stakeholders. transactional distributor. Being into the IT sector, Hrushikesh adopted technology A computer science engineer, a young Hrushikesh began much before the pandemic in 2020. This greatly helped his career in the IT industry in early 90s and gradually him service his clients on a real-time basis and made started on his own as a software developer. After nearly a him more efficient. That is why during the Covid-19 decade in 2002, he came across a broker and started restrictions, he did not face issues of reaching out to investing primarily in mutual funds. The market was clients and serving them while facilitating financial entering the 2008 bull run and Hrushikesh's investments transactions. were doing quite well. Since Hrushikesh kept updating and educating his clients, \"Then I started reading a lot about personal finance and they were mature enough not to panic during steep developed a passion for it. I turned into a savvy investor,\" market corrections. The pandemic was one such he reminisces. His software business was doing fine and moment. \"Though my AUM did fall as portfolios were hit, at the same time he was enjoying being an investor as there was no panic among my clients,\" he says happily. \"I well. He started helping his friends, relatives and other spent a lot of time in making them understand the investors while encouraging them to do long-term importance of investments and about the market cycles, I investments. actually ended up with more investments during that period,\" explains Hrushikesh. In 2011, one of the mutual fund officials advised Hrushikesh to start financial distribution as a business. In his communication to investors, he pinpointed that the Initially, he hesitated but then realised it was good to redemption button should not be pressed unless one diversify his businesses. \"Since I already had my primary needs money. Hrushikesh's suggestions were taken well business of developing software, I did not mind by his clients and they invested more during the crisis to getting into fund distribution. Though I was not very accumulate more units. serious about it in the initial years,\" he chuckles. Less remunerations in the initial days did not bother him as he Over the next five years, he sees his business to grow was largely banking on his software business. \"Moreover, manifolds and is confident about the growth of the commission never drove me to do financial distribution. I mutual fund industry going forward. In his piece of advice believe in offering quality service to my clients with focus to newcomers in the distribution sector, Hrushikesh says, on long-term goals,\" adds Hrushikesh. \"Invest seriously before becoming a distributor. If you have skin in the game, you won't do anything which is not As years passed and the number of clients increased, aligned with investors' interest. Build business on trust, Hrushikesh started turning serious about the business as ethics and maintain integrity.\" he could see a rise in traction. In his software business office, he made sure there is a dedicated space for mutual According to him, trust-based relationships are the fund distribution so that both businesses are under the foundation of this business. Outlining his success same roof. His continuous impetus on educating clients mantra, Hrushikesh signs off by saying, \"If you have a on a regular basis did not give him any goose bumps due long-term vision, you don't compromise with investors' interest. My growth is aligned with my clients' growth.\"
Striving Success Stories Manasi Mahesh that I am thinking for their benefits while keeping their Soman interests first above all, they will stay put with you,\" she narrates. Nashik Meanwhile, many industry challenges rose which were Manasi Soman, 50, is a Nashik-based mutual fund huge changes for her as a distributor like change distributor and founder of Soman's Magnum Investment. in commission structures, change in schemes With a SIP monthly book of ` 65 lakh, she caters nearly categorization to large number of promotion of index 1100 clients, mostly retail, while managing investors' funds via social media. Social media influence and too assets worth ` 151 crore. Manasi has a firm view that for much information and miss-selling hampers new meeting financial goals, mutual funds should be the investors, she adds. preferred way of investment. She entered mutual fund distribution a few months before the 2008 market crash The direct plans did not pose any challenges initially to unfolded. At a time when mutual funds were relatively her. Since investors were happy with the services offered newer financial products, Manasi faced the initial by Manasi, none left her for direct investments. challenges of convincing clients to invest through mutual According to her, distributors are relevant to make funds amid an uncertain market. investors successful as we are more into behaviour finance than simply managing money. She offers regular Slowly as the journey began, she focused primarily on education to clients about investments. \"An informed SIPs and investors started gaining confidence as the client does not panic in troublesome times and remains market improved after the 2008 meltdown. \"From the focused on goals,\" she says categorically. beginning, I ensured a client-centric approach with focus on investors' long-term goals. Unless I understand the Manasi adopted technology quite early and it helped her clients' needs and risk appetite, I don't get them invested,\" on her growth trajectory. In particular, when the pandemic she says with a clear thought process. hit in 2020 with strict lockdowns, the technology came quite handy in servicing clients and facilitating Barely she could move out from the market crash, the transactions. Amid a steep crack in markets during the entry load abolition in 2009 was a tough period. But her lockdown, her AUM slipped from ` 110 crore to ` 86 faith in the growth of the sector did not divert her from crore. Since it was more on the back of market focusing on building her business. Though the markets corrections, she was not too bothered as hardly 2% of her had bounced back by then, the range-bound movement clients called her as there was widespread panic. in the market during 2009-2013 was a tougher phase as investors could make negligible returns. \"I made sure my clients remain invested and continue with their SIPs. This helped them create substantial \"I told my clients that this is the opportune time to wealth as the market strongly bounced back in 2021,\" she accumulate more units and get benefited whenever the says happily. markets do well,\" says Manasi. Several of her clients questioned about the low returns as compared to the In the next 5 years she foresees her AUM to touch nearly fixed income and other traditional investment avenues, ` 500 crore. Having a firm conviction in the growth of the mutual funds could not perform well. She managed to mutual fund industry from here on, she says given the convince clients that markets do not behave in a linear poor penetration and rising awareness, the sector is fashion. \"There are years when markets do not perform at bound to grow. She suggests newcomers to join the all, that does not mean they would not in the future,\" she distribution profession as it is a noble job to make families emphasises. Majority of her clients gave heed to her and stronger financially. \"There could be difficulties in the remained invested without stopping their SIPs. initial few years, but if one stays put, there is phenomenal growth,\" explains Manasi. And in 2013-14, with a strong bounce back in the markets, investors' wealth gained and thus was the trust they had Summing up her journey, she says, \"Be honest with your in Manasi. \"The financial distribution is all about trust- clients. Trust and ethics should never be diluted to building and relationships with your clients. If they feel taste success.\"
Striving Success Stories Mudit Khanna rolling. Moreover, since they were into other financial products as well, it was not much of a monetary pain for Kolkata them. They immediately shifted to all trail model as when the option was available as they had a clear thought Mudit Khanna, 48, is a Kolkata-based mutual fund process about the advantages of trail commission. \"It distributor managing investors' assets worth ` 172 crore. made sure that several malpractices prevalent in the He serves over 500 families and commands a monthly SIP distribution sector got capped creating a win-win book of ` 75 lakh. Mutual Funds, for him, are one of the situation for all stakeholders,\" Khanna says categorically. best available tools to build long-term wealth with ease if invested patiently. The elongated range-bound market during 2009-13 with almost flat returns made investors wary a bit. \"However, A science graduate, Khanna completed his business since investments are goal-based and equity allocation management studies in 1997 and entered the financial has a minimum tenure of 5 years, we could navigate my services industry and founded the company Insoft clients,\" he adds. According to him, creating long-term Financial Services. His childhood school friend Sandip wealth needs a longer accumulation phase which this Singhal joined him in the following year. In 2003, they period offered. added mutual funds in his product basket. \"Initially, acceptability of mutual funds as a product was less Launch of the direct schemes in 2013, at a time when among masses. Since we started from scratch, client markets were coming off their consolidation phase, acquisition was a major challenge. But I had the feeling prima facie appeared a bigger threat to Khanna. \"Initially, that mutual funds were the future,\" says Khanna. we took it as a big challenge. But, since we had a retail client base whom I was continuously offering timely They began making people understand about mutual services, there was no impact as such. So far, only two of funds and slowly scaled up the business. As the client our clients have shifted to direct schemes,\" he says with a base improved and the market rally supported, their sense of pride. investors could see the value creation. After a few years, referral business picked up which helped. The duo adopted technology in 2016 which proved a big booster. During the 2020 pandemic amid lockdown, The going was quite good as the markets were in the bull Khanna's digital presence came to his immediate rescue run. However, the 2008 market crash put an end to the and he could service clients without hiccups. \"Though the party and eroded nearly two-third of investors' wealth. AUM had dipped 30-35% to ` 85 crore, investors did not \"Naturally, it was a panic situation for investors. Even for lose nerves as they have turned mature over the years. us, it was something new, though we had seen the 2000 Existing investments continued but there were not fresh crisis. We geared up to hand hold the clients and tried to investments. Some of the SIPs were cancelled as convince them to stay invested. Some investors moved people's salaries were stopped,\" explains Khanna. out while others stayed put,\" he recollects. According to him, the mutual fund sector has bright Those who listened to them found their investment value prospects and will grow big time. He has set a target to bouncing back within a year. This restored their trust and cross an AUM of ` 500 crore and increase SIP book to confidence in Khanna and Singhal. Being the first taste of nearly 4-5 crore in the next five years. Khanna advocates a strong rally followed by deep corrections and a quick that newcomers should join the distribution and focus on bounce back, it was a learning experience for them as usage of technology, should have knowledge and have a well as their investors. long-term approach. Barely things looked stabilised, the entry load abolition Summing up their journey, Khanna, who has started made the duo worried. \"First, we thought the business catering to the third generation of investors, says he would be shut. Post little bit of research and analysis, we never offers a wrong recommendation intentionally. decided to stick to it as my focus was on financial services \"Honesty and ethics can't be compromised with. We need only,\" he narrates. Within a few months the ball kept to offer the right product to investors as per the needs and regularly educate them,\" he logs off.
Striving Success Stories Prasad Heramb time of onboarding the clients, I make it very clear to them Fadnavis that long-term investments would bear better results and one need not fear volatility of the markets,” he said. Due Nagpur to this transparency in his operations, clients are also patient with their investments and this helps him in Prasad Heramb Fadnavis, 47, is a mutual fund distributor building better client relationships. Fadnavis now has a and Director of Ved Advisory Services Private Limited in 12-member team to look after his varied business Nagpur. Founded by him in 2017, his company has assets requirements. “My wife, who was a banker also left her under management worth ` 145 crore and a monthly SIP job in 2016 and joined the company. Today, we both work book of ` 80 lakh. together towards the growth of our business,” he said. Fadnavis gained expertise in the financial services Talking about many young investors adopting direct industry while working as a journalist for over a decade. means to invest through the various do-it-yourself This came in handy when he decided to start as an MFD in platforms, Fadnavis believes that it will not affect the 2013. “While working closely with many people industry as ultimately the role of MFDs is important. belonging to the financial services field, I used to write Emphasizing on the same, he said, “I think that those who articles in reputed newspapers which included a number invest directly do not have any clear vision as per their of Marathi and English Daily newspapers. I also published future goals. They ultimately become confused as the a book named 'Wealth Creation' in 2009. This resulted in markets fluctuate and the scheme in which they have valuable connections and profound knowledge about invested does not perform well in the next quarter. various financial instruments,” he said. Ultimately, they would require some guidance and expertise which only an MFD can provide.” While still in his full-time journalism job, Fadnavis started recommending mutual fund schemes to his close friends Fadnavis's advice to those who have just started as and family members in 2011. “After experiencing the mutual fund distributors is to concentrate on the growth fruitful results of my advice, my friends encouraged me to of the business and building trust among clients. “I think become a full-time MFD,” he said. This is when Fadnavis that instead of focusing on any issues or hurdles, one quit his job and started as a mutual fund distributor in needs to focus only on sincerely working towards April, 2013. upgrading their knowledge constantly and build confidence among the clients. These are the only keys for Onboarding clients was not much of an issue for him in becoming successful in this business,” he said. the beginning as he was a popular name in his area, being a journalist. “From the very beginning, I got references Moreover, Fadnavis added that the business of mutual from my friends and whenever new clients used to do any fund distribution is not something that can be done as a research on me, I was already having articles published part-time job. “The MFD business is all about providing on the financial subjects. These proved my credibility for the best service to the clients. More than AUM, I think it is the clients and they were able to trust me easily. I also about building your client base and that is only possible if used to give lectures which helped me connect with more an MFD provides good service to the clients. They will, in prospective clients,” he said. turn, bring more references to them,” he said. With more than 1,600 clients today, Fadnavis follows a When talking about the state of financial awareness in goal-based approach while recommending any mutual Nagpur, Fadnavis said, “Even though the awareness fund scheme to his clients. “I adopt a simple approach among masses is improving here, it is still less in when dealing with my clients. I ask them about their comparison to any metropolitan or bigger cities. People previous investments, current family income and their here still prefer to invest in fixed deposits, gold or real future goals. Accordingly, I recommend suitable schemes estate rather than mutual funds.” and help them with proper asset allocation,” he said. Fadnavis aims to expand his team and also focus on During times when markets crash, Fadnavis said he never expanding the number of clients to at least 5000 investors experiences any problems in handling his clients. “At the in the next three years.
Striving Success Stories Prasenjit Sarkar work years which were marked with various market related events - be it the Tech Bust, 2008 GFC or the latest Kolkata 2020 pandemic - helped Prasenjit maintain a client-centric approach. \"It is extremely important because you grow Prasenjit Sarkar, 45, is a Kolkata-based mutual fund with clients. During the course of the investment, my distributor manages investors' assets worth ` 50 crore. attempt is to make the investor & their family accept me Catering to over 35 clients, he is also the Managing as one of their own,\" he emphasises. Partner in the city-based financial firm Saibal Biswas & Associates. Prasenjit believes that mutual funds are the Prasenjit firmly believes that financial distribution is a only investment tool which helps an investor fulfil all kinds service-oriented sector. \"In today's world, the client is of financial goals, if invested with discipline and patience. never without an option. One needs to keep adding value to clients and at the same time updating oneself,\" he says. An MBA in sales and marketing, Prasenjit started his career with a tech firm back in 2002. However, soon he One needs to keep nurturing existing relationships as switched to the financial world and worked at various much as acquiring new clients since acquisition without institutions till mid of 2021. Relationship building and retention holds no meaning, adds Prasenjit. nurturing is in Prasenjit's blood. He gets jittery if he does not meet clients on a regular basis. For him AUM is an essential factor but essentially it is nothing but an offshoot of two components - hard work During his career spanning nearly two decades, Prasenjit and knowledge. \"Not only do I give adequate time to my worked in different divisions and in different roles. clients but also to myself to gain knowledge. Only hard However, the job profile he liked the most was the work will not give value if you are not updating yourself\" investment advisory in which he could readily connect he pinpoints. with clients. Prasenjit shows great conviction in the growth of the Hence even when promoted to senior management role, mutual fund industry going forward. According to him, it would perturb him to lose connection with clients. And the mutual fund industry size is just the tip of the iceberg. possibly, this was a major reason that he quit his \"Given the under penetration of mutual funds and ever corporate job to join his former senior colleague Saibal rising awareness, the sector looks set for an exponential Biswas who started his financial services venture back growth in the coming years\" he says. in 2006. He suggests newcomers in the distribution sector to be \"I always wanted to manage my client's money on my passionate and look at mutual funds distribution as a full own. I endeavour to do the right things for my clients so time job with a long-term approach. \"One must introspect they grow their wealth and turn financially independent\" and decide that this is what he wants to do. They should narrates Prasenjit. Given the focus of financial firms be determined and use knowledge as a weapon while purely on sales and less client centricity, it did not go well being technologically savvy and also making investors with Prasenjit. comfortable with digital presence. Educate yourself as well as your clients on a regular basis\" advises Prasenjit. Since he and Saibal were in discussions, Prasenjit chose to join the latter's firm so that he has the freedom to cater Five years down the line, Prasenjit sees himself to clients in his own way. \"I believe that being a mutual managing an AUM of ` 150 crore, touching the lives of fund distributor is the only platform which allows you that more clients while not losing a single client. \"It's my flexibility\" he adds. passion and I enjoy it,\" he says happily. His passion and interest in personally interacting with Summing up his journey, Prasenjit says that the secret to clients and building long-term relationships keeps emerge successful in financial distribution is long-term Prasenjit going. He ensures at least two client meetings vision with focus on clients' benefits. \"My success mantra on a daily basis. The experiences he gained during his is - be passionate, think long-term and do right things for clients\" he concludes.
Striving Success Stories Rajesh Ramgopal condition/goals with Chitlange. This in turn, helps him to Chitlange recommend suitable financial products to the clients. Akola Talking about the fact that many new investors directly investing using new-age do-it-yourself or DIY platforms, Rajesh Ramgopal Chitlange, 53, is a Certified Financial Chitlange feels that it is just a temporary phase as they Planner (CFP) based in the city of Akola, Maharashtra. have not yet experienced any heavy losses. With assets under management worth ` 115 crore and a monthly SIP book of approximately ` 85 lakh, Chitlange \"The economic crisis in 2008, demonetisation in 2016 and has been in the mutual fund distribution business since the fall during the times of COVID-19 are some of the 2005. important phases that the new investors, especially young generation – that started their investment journey A graduate in Biology, Chitlange started working for a after Covid struck - have not yet experienced. Once financial services company in 1989 due to the poor people incur losses, they are bound to come for personal financial condition of his family. guidance,\" he said. In his job, he gained deep knowledge about how the His approach of educating his clients in times of crises system of Income tax and returns works in India. With an has paid off as well. “When the market is turbulent and aim to do something on his own as well, initially, he some client panics and asks me to withdraw their worked as a part-time insurance agent along with his full- investments, I explain to them how this is a temporary time job, which he quit in September 2000. phase and they should not worry. I even share examples of other clients from the past who took a decision to stay In the same year, he set up his own financial services invested, and how it benefitted them in the long run,” he business and started working hard on building a good added. client base in Akola. Chitlange believes in always remaining updated and \"In 2005, I started dealing in mutual funds as I felt that I develop himself professionally by attending conferences need to diversify and provide a variety of financial and seminars. He believes that if he doesn't do that, a products to my clients apart from insurance,\" he said. saturation point will come and he will not be able to grow in this business. Today, Chitlange has around 500 families spread across India as his clients. For him, the key to being successful as His advice to new MFDs is also on similar lines. \"One a mutual fund distributor is to work hard and build one's needs to work hard continuously and stay up to date in SIP book which is robust. \"I feel that in the MFD business, order to be successful in this business,\" he said. SIP is the most important and reliable option. I feel it provides relative stability to the clients. You can never Talking about the city of Akola where he is based, really predict the markets.\" he said. Chitlange shares that MFDs have a lot of scope to grow in general, but it can also be a struggle initially when His approach to his clients is very unique. Based on his working in smaller towns and cities. strong base and knowledge about income tax laws, he starts with the same point. \"For example, in Akola, about 80-85% people still prefer to invest in traditional form, in products like fixed deposits or \"Whenever a new client approaches, details about their gold. There is a long way to go as far as financial awareness Income tax returns and current tax slab are among the is concerned, especially in smaller cities\" he said. very first things that I ask them about. After that, I ask them about their future goals for themselves and their Sharing the future goals for his business, Chitlange said families,\" he said. that he aims to reach an AUM of 1000 crore in the next 10 years. \"I aim to be in the business till atleast 80 years of my These basic questions enable the client to immediately age and achieve the target. After me, my nephew and my become more open towards sharing their financial son will be running my business,\" he signs off.
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OUR PARTNER’S JOURNEY OF DETERMINATION AND PERSEVERANCE