Advisor Speak 14th Oct 2012
There's a lot to learn from India's largest IFA Association
K V Kannan, Burgeon Advisory, Bangalore; President - KAMFA


KAMFA started out with just 15 Bangalore based IFAs and has rapidly scaled up to reach a membership base of 312 IFAs spread across the length and breadth of Karnataka - making it the largest IFA Association in the country, in terms of registered members. But that not all that is worth noting about KAMFA - read on as Kannan shares fascinating insights about KAMFA's growth, its governance structure, its learning academy, its focus on delivering value to members and its latest initiative - of encouraging and recognising social awareness within the industry.


WF : What was the genesis of KAMFA?

Kannan : A few of us IFAs in Bangalore have always felt the need to form a forum for ourselves on an informal basis to basically network better and share ideas which could be beneficial to all concerned. This remained as a thought till 2009. August 2009 emphasised the need for us to unite and have an identity as professionals in the financial intermediation/financial planning space. We realized that we need to have an organized representative body which can be the voice of IFAs in forums where decisions with far reaching implications on our practice are taken. Also, there were training needs, need to manage perception in the public domain and need to share best business practices for which we realized that the solution would be the formation of a professional association and hence, KAMFA was formed in August 2009.Further, KAMFA had, right at inception, the grand vision of initiating and facilitating the unification process of IFA association at the zonal level culminating in the formation of a national confederation.

WF : Can you trace the path of KAMFA from its initial start of a handful of Bangalore based IFAs to its current status as the largest IFA association in terms of registered members?

Kannan : The energy, passion and enthusiasm of the few IFAs who spearheaded the formation of KAMFA never ceases to amaze me. That, a few individuals decided to do something tangible for the betterment of their profession and fellow professionals is something, in my opinion, which legends are made of. I say this with immense pride because I was a late entrant myself into KAMFA.

We started KAMFA with 15 like minded IFAs in Bangalore in August 2009, quickly set up the agenda for the organization and started networking to increase the membership base. We began with Bangalore IFAs and within a span of 18 months we spread our wings in terms of geographical reach and rolled out the membership drive in towns like Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli and Dharwad. In 2011, KAMFA had its First Annual Convention which was attended by over 300 IFAs from all corners of Karnataka which gave us a lot of visibility among the fraternity. Membership picked up in Bangalore and upcountry Karnataka as well. This year, in a run up to our Second Annual Convention, we embarked on road shows, showcasing KAMFA to groups of IFAs across the length and breadth of the state which has brought in members from Belgaum, Davangere, Hassan, Tumkur, Harihar, Mulky, Bantwal, Bellary, Chamrajanagar, Sakleashpur, Somwarpet, Gadag and Udupi. As a result of this, today we stand at over 300 members [312 to be precise] on the rolls of KAMFA making it the largest IFA association in the country.

WF : How geographically spread is KAMFA within Karnataka?

Kannan : KAMFA has members from Bangalore, Belgaum, Chamrajanagar, Davangere, Dharwad, Hassan, Harihar,Hubli,Mulky,Mangalore,Mysore,Sakleshpur,Somwarpet,Gadag,Udupi and Tumkur. This is a geographic spread which covers the four corners of the state as well as its centre.

WF : What is KAMFA's structure and how do you ensure that it is inclusive and representative?

Kannan : It is a very thought provoking question you have posed us Vijay, but, I am glad that you asked, because we are very well structured and would be happy to share the same with you.

The apex body of the association is the General Body Of Members which elects the Management Committee and bestows on it the executive powers through the by laws to carry out various functions of the organization. The Management Committee, with four office bearers, organizes itself into various subcommittees based on functions like PR, Web initiative, Finance, Risk Management & Control, Legal&Compliance, Learning&Training and Grievance Redressal to execute its responsibilities. The up country members are organized into chapters based on the membership strength, with their own set of office bearers who drive the organization's initiatives at their respective centres paying appropriate heed to the local needs. To be in sync throughout Karnataka, we have a two pronged strategy;

A nominee each from 3 of the largest up country chapters is inducted into the central Management Committee so that the thought process and actions are uniform statewide and,

A team from Bangalore travels once a quarter to various upcountry locations in order to keep them abreast of goings on as well as to obtain feedback.

All this apart, we have our quarterly magazine KAMFA Quest reaching out to members.

To be truly representative, especially when voicing our opinion on industry related issues we send out questionnaires to all our members. Our point of view and response is then based on the majority opinion of our general body. We also use our recently launched website for this purpose.

WF : What are the key activities of KAMFA?

Kannan : KAMFA was formed for the empowerment of all IFAs in Karnataka and believes that this objective has to be primarily achieved by creating an identity for the IFA as a complete, competent and confident professional who is best suited to serve the needs of his clientele. This is best attained through a process of continuous training and learning. The training modules are varied in nature ranging from market related sessions to sessions on wills and succession planning , reading and understanding balance sheets, behavioural finance etc., These programs are customized to suit the needs of different groups and locations as well. KAMFA Learning academy has been carrying out this essential function in an efficient and effective manner since the inception of KAMFA.

KAMFA also believes that empowerment is really achieved only when the voice of the IFA is heard in industry related forums and the corridors of power where decisions are made which have a telling impact on the way he conducts his practice. Towards this objective, KAMFA has, on behalf of its members, started corresponding to the regulator as well as AMFI on recent game changing regulations.

WF : What are the key benefits that KAMFA members derive from their memberships?

Kannan : Again a very good question Vijay which I am happy to answer. Essentially KAMFA gives the IFA an identity to bond with, a sense of belonging to an organization which cares for his wellbeing.

KAMFA provides him a platform to network with his fellow IFAs in the state and share ideas, concerns and strategies.

KAMFA provides its members with all round training based on their needs rather than on any other compulsions. As explained earlier the training could be on various topics and is essentially driven by request s received from members. For eg., we have received a request from our Belgaum members on the need to have a training session on Fitness and Health which will be organized shortly.

It is KAMFA's endeavour to provide for the welfare of its members wherever possible. As a first step in this direction we have taken an accidental death cover policy, for a sum of Rs.100,000 with an additional medical reimbursement of Rs,20000 subject to policy clauses, for all our members.

KAMFA's grievance redressal cell acts as a third level of escalation for IFAs in solving issues they may be facing with AMCs which have not been resolve d for various reasons.

KAMFA enables its members to be heard in the eco system, it is their voice in the industry.

KAMFA Annual Convention is one mega event which helps our members to meet and interact with leading luminaries from the fund management industry on a broad range of relevant issues and topics.

We have evolved a novel concept, for internal consumption, called Maximising Membership Value, which broadly corresponds to book value of shares, which helps us to keep an eye on the value we deliver to our members.

WF : What is the membership fee structure?

Kannan : Initially, when we started, we had a three tier fee structure which was necessary for building the initial corpus of the association. However, now that the organization has stabilized we have a fee of Rs.1000 per member per annum.

One of the very noble initiatives that you seem to be planning is a CSR initiative under the KAMFA umbrella. Can you take us through the initiative?

KAMFA has initiated, for the first time in India in the MF industry, an award for outstanding contribution towards social welfare. The very first KAMFA award for CSR was conferred on TATA AMC for their tree planting initiative through out Karnataka in which KAMFA participated actively. We, as an associuation, will recognize such outstanding contribution to social welfare by AMCs on an ongoing basis.

KAMFA believes that the business of business extends beyond business and would like to fulfill its responsibilities to society at large. Towards this we would like to organize blood donation and organ donation camps for our members on a regular basis. This is at the drawing board level, but, I am sure we would be rolling it out sooner than later.

WF : What are the plans ahead for KAMFA?

KAMFA plans to;

Increase its membership base; throughout Karnataka

Enhance the regularity of its training and knowledge sessions

Take the training programs to the IFAs at taluk level.

To fulfill its social responsibility through various activities.

To make its website vibrant and dynamic by increasing participation from members.

WF : How do you see KAMFA working with other IFA associations in the country?

Kannan : KAMFA is passionate about the empowerment of the IFA fraternity and hence, welcomes wholeheartedly any initiative for IFA unity and identity. Sister associations anywhere in the country can look forward to cooperation and support from KAMFA for any common cause for the welfare of IFAs.

We would like to initiate and facilitate the formation of a zonal federation of IFA associations, for instance, a south zone federation to begin with, and move on towards the formation of a national level confederation which can be the one unified voice of the Indian IFA. A very grand dream indeed! But a worthy dream never the less which will keep us awake.

I would like to highlight here that KAMFA's motto is "Uniting To Grow And Growing To Unite" by which we abide both in spirit and action.

Thank you very much Vijay for your kindness and interest shown in our organization.