imgbd FIFA Annual Conference

For me, Roopa is my "Lakshmi"

Roopa Venkatakrishnan, Mumbai

FIFA's annual conference had many very insightful segments - one of which focused on the need to build truly win-win partnerships that lay strong foundations for business success for IFAs. One of the most important partnerships in this context is the one between the advisor and the investor. There can be no better example of this partnership than the video testimonial that Roopa Venkatakrishnan's client for over 15 years recorded for this event - a testimonial where he calls Roopa his family's Lakshmi. Can there be a better accolade an advisor can receive from his/her client? If you really want to know what goes into building a client relationship to this level, check this out.


One of the key themes discussed at FIFA's 3rd annual conference on 24th March 2017 was partnerships - the need to build truly win-win partnerships that lay the foundations of successful business growth.

A curtain raiser to the theme of partnerships were extraordinary talks by two friends - on how they selflessly helped each other to achieve milestones that otherwise looked hugely challenging. Ashwin suffers from cerebral palsy which immobilized all his four limbs, but nevertheless went on to become the first such person in India to graduate as an engineer, went on to receive multiple honours including one from the President of India, and works today in the IT industry.


All of this was possible because his friend Bharat willingly gave up 4 years of his education to become not only Ashwin's scribe for his exams, but also his constant companion through the huge challenges that Ashwin faced. In turn, Ashwin then helped Bharat - who wasn't always interested in studies - through his engineering graduation over the next 4 years, and both are today successful engineering professionals. Theirs is a partnership that touched everyone's heart and resulted in a standing ovation for them and for Ashwin's mother.

Moving on from such a fine example of forging partnerships, the session sought to focus attention on two aspects in an IFA's business where partnerships play a pivotal role in success:

  1. The partnership between an advisor and the client

  2. Partnerships between two professionals to build something bigger than what they can individually

In this article, we discuss the first partnership - between an advisor and the client, and in the next article of this series, we will discuss one of the finest partnerships between two professionals in the wealth creation business in India.

The advisor - investor jugalbandi

The partnership between advisor and investor is symbiotic: the advisor puts the investor on the growth path in terms of wealth creation. And, the investor's wealth growth brings business growth for the advisor. Both play their part in this jugalbandi - both contribute towards each other's success.

Some of India's most successful advisors have perfected this equation with their clients - and have risen to dizzy heights in the profession as a consequence. One of the finest examples of such an advisor is Roopa Venkatakrishnan.

Pramod, who has been Roopa's client for over 15 years, shares this very enlightening personal experience of his relationship with his financial advisor - whom he fondly refers as his Lakshmi. This video gives IFAs fantastic insights into what it takes to build strong and lasting partnerships with your clients.

Speaking with Roopa after playing this video, Vijay Venkatram, MD, Wealth Forum, who anchored the segment on partnerships at the conference, summarised 6 aspects that come out clearly from the video on what Roopa invested into this partnership to make it so successful:

  1. Knowledge

  2. Conviction and an ability to transmit that conviction onto clients - especially when markets went down

  3. Simplicity - Ability to explain in simple language to boost client confidence

  4. Engagement - Constant communication and hand holding to cut out emotion based decisions

  5. Service - prompt, accurate information, always on top of the situation

  6. Go beyond the portfolio - help in not only creating wealth but also in enjoying the fruits of wealth creation


When asked by Vijay which of these 6 aspects Roopa finds perhaps lacking in many IFAs whom she meets, guides and mentors across the country, Roopa pointed out to the first two - knowledge and conviction. Conviction can come only from superior and not superficial knowledge, she said. She recounted how, despite all the years in this profession, even today, if she is asked a question by a client for which she doesn't have a complete response, she immediately does her research and reverts to the client on the same day. Being on top of the knowledge you need in this profession is what finally drives your conviction, and when your clients see conviction in your eyes, in your tone, in your body language, they get convinced and go ahead with your advice.

Roopa recounted that while her client Pramod mentioned about giving her only Rs. 2 lakhs initially, what he didn't mention is that Roopa met him 16 times to finally get him to begin investing through her - with that small amount of Rs. 2 lakhs. Persistence certainly pays off.

She also mentioned that the reason her clients stayed put with their equity funds through the 2008-09 meltdown, was that she met each of them multiple times through that tough period, reassuring them that market falls are temporary and gains are permanent. A great example of conviction based engagement.

For all young IFAs looking to build their businesses around solid, successful partnerships with their clients, there can be no better real life example than the video testimonial that Pramod shared about Roopa - his family's Lakshmi.

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