imgbd Futurist Edge: Technology Perspectives

A day in an IFA's life in 2020

Gajendra Kothari, Etica Wealth, Mumbai

In a nutshell

Technology is clearly the buzzword now, and there is a keen desire amongst many IFAs to find ways to leverage technology to transform their business. But just how do you go about doing this? One good way is to do some crystal ball gazing to see how a typical day in your life might be in 2020 - and then contrast it with where you are today. We turned to Gajendra Kothari, an avid tech buff and a leading Mumbai based advisor to do just this for us. Here's how Gajendra sees a typical day in the life of an IFA in 2020 - contrast it with where you are today and you have a roadmap of exactly what you need to do, to get future ready.


Imagine a scenario when you are attending the 11th annual Wealth Forum Platinum Circle Advisors Conference in July 2020. What will be the discussion points when you meet fellow advisors from all over the country? You will certainly not be discussing which software to use for doing online transactions, which is a good portfolio reporting software, how to do client relationship management (CRM), how to go about doing financial planning for our clients, how to calculate and track your brokerage, how to handle compliance etc.

The financial advisory landscape is changing at a much rapid pace. The consumers are becoming far more demanding and that too at a fraction of a cost of what was charged to them earlier. Today we already have the emergence of robo-advisory in India wherein virtually everything can be done online right from making a financial plan, aligning and rebalancing asset-allocation to tracking the entire portfolio. However this is restricted to a very few set of players. There is still an army of approx 50,000 individual advisors who are doing the business in the brick and mortar model. Lets see presently how it works.

Where we are today

Basically in our profession, there are 3 stages of a client relationship viz. prospective stage, execution of the plan / investments and finally after sales service. In my experience, an advisor spends 70% of his / her time in unproductive things in all the three areas viz. data gathering of the client information, collating all the existing financial documents of the client, filling up the Mutual Fund KYC form and individual AMC application forms, submitting the forms to each AMC / registrar, checking with AMCs on SOA's, data correction, data modification, processing of non- financial transactions etc. If I look at my own company, presently we are a 15 member team out of which only 3 are in full-fledged advisory role or relationship management (profit centre). Rest of the team is either back office operations or sales support (cost centre).

Come 2020, all these 12 people can be either upgraded to or dispensed with and replaced by 12 relationship managers / financial advisors. Thanks to the technology almost all routine work can be automated. The whole office will become e-office with no papers floating around. Each Relationship Manager will have a set of 50-100 accounts to look after. They will be responsible for all the affairs of their clients right from sourcing the client, closing a deal, managing back office chores and maintaining relationship. They will basically have one dashboard / software to look into. Lets give our dashboard a fancy name "Ms Moneypenny" (borrowed from the popular James Bond film series)

A typical day with Ms. Moneypenny

With Ms Moneypenny at the centre of our activity, our day in 2020 will look something like this.

When you wake up in the morning, Ms Moneypenny will alert you with the list of meetings that day, greetings (happy birthday / anniversary) to be sent to your clients, important reminders / events for that day. As the head of the company, you can see the meeting schedule of all your relationship managers, agenda of each meetings, minutes of tasks pending in the system etc. Different levels of admin control can be set based on user hierarchy.


If we are meeting a new prospective investor, based on few key details like email id / mobile no, She will give us the complete profile of the investor (fetching from various social media platforms). She can also tell us whether any of our existing clients are part of the prospects network. When we are meeting the investor first time, we can compile complete information in seconds thanks to ever evolving technology. Though the help of Digilocker (, the client can share all his key documents like PAN Card, Aadhar Card, Passport, Driving Licence, details of educational qualifications, property documents, copy of will etc. As far as his existing investments are concerned, everything will be available in one consolidated demat format thanks to the initiative of NSDL and CDSL. We will be able to see list of all his fixed deposits (hopefully regulators will allow sharing of information to one common identity), life and general insurance policies, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, post office schemes, NPS, etc all on the same page. We don't have to spend any time in collating this information. The risk profiling can also be done instantly and so is the exercise of goal setting. Based on the information provided a detailed financial plan can be generated in no time. The client / advisor can tweak the numbers at the click of a button to suit their requirement.

Once the client agrees to go ahead with the plan, the RM can work on different mutual funds or any other investment product to be allocated for various goals. The software will have in-depth analysis of all the investment products and individual schemes. One can also set model portfolios depending on the client's risk profile. When the client is good to go ahead with the investments, the KYC can be done online thanks to Aadhar and the client will be able to open his account instantly on any online platforms for investments (NSE, BSE, MFUtility, I-Fast, FundsIndia - The list can be endless). Also thanks to technology like IMPS (Immediate Payment Service), funds can be transferred instantly to the designated funds account making the investment to happen real-time.

Post the processing of transactions, the portfolio details will be automatically fed into the software and then Ms Moneypenny starts tracking the goals for the client and give him / her timely updates on the goals. Also thanks to the software all future after sales service like change in bank account details, change of nominees, mobile no, email id etc be done almost instantly.

Not only this, the dashboard will also be able to keep track of all the conversations though email / messages / social media so that the trail can be established easily for compliance purposes. One can send relevant articles, newsletters to different segment of investors thanks to the wonderful CRM feature of the software.

What more, Ms Moneypenny will also have the capability to present amazing analytics using our data. This will include break-up of client by geographic locations, income profiles, professions, demographics, client longevity, revenue per client etc. This MIS can also be used to see which RM is working more efficient and hence rewarded suitably. The software will also be able to calculate and charge fees to the client automatically based on the scope of the work.

The dashboard can also be used as a great hub for team activity like sharing of important information or articles, communication between team members, delegation of tasks, sharing of calendars.

Finally, thanks to Ms Moneypenny each RM will be able to meet 4-5 investors / prospects per day. We don't need to be present physically with the client. Most of the meetings will be done over Skype, Google Hangout and the screen can be easily shared with the investor online. This will not only increase efficiency but saves huge time and cost. There is no alternative given the traffic condition in most cities in India.

The future belongs to platforms

To conclude, the future belongs to platforms (Ms Moneypenny being just one of them). We will have no choice but to leverage technology to make our clients as well as our lives easier. Advisors who will be able to embrace technology much ahead will not only see a sharp surge in terms of top-line but will also see a healthy bottom-line. And no wonder they will be quite ahead of the pack winning more and more prestigious WealthForum Advisor awards while the fence sitters applaud for them.


Content is created by Wealth Forum and must not be construed as an opinion by DSP Blackrock MF.

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