Platform Point
Why do IFAs personalize everything else but this?
Shri Harsha K, Head - Digital Platforms, Axis MF

IFAs don't accept model portfolios, but strive to add their personal insights when building client portfolios. IFAs strive to personalize the customer experience when they meet clients. Why then do IFAs so readily accept standard templates when it comes to online engagement, asks Harsha, a techie at heart, who started his career in the tech space before moving into fund sales and now donning the role of a tech enabler for IFAs and investors. As you increase your engagement with your clients in the online mode, Harsha shares useful food for thought on how you can personalize it, and thus create a lasting differentiation, just as you try to do in other aspects of client engagement.

Is UI (user i nterface) and UX (user e x perience) relevant to IFAs? What's in it for IFAs? How IFAs can increase financial service usability and business by adopting UI & UX? My take on this - it's highly relevant subject, however most often ignored.

Would IFAs always prefer a "model portfolio" to suggest to their clients? Or they prefer to choose MF schemes as per their client needs? Why is it that IFAs prefer to have an independent choice to recommend schemes? IFAs understand that needs, characteristics and goals are varied among their clients. IFAs strive to "personalize" their MF advice to their clients.

Now let's shift our focus to the digital world: The consumer expectations are rapidly evolving, seamless experience across multiple devices is the need of the hour. Developers are working hard to give a personalized experience to web and mobile users. But if we are to analyze the IFAs website or Mobile Apps they conveniently accept an "institutionalized" digital offering. In other words, IFAs choose a design of a website from an archaic template.

Our experience says IFAs consider digital enablement as a "checklist" exercise. In the real world, IFAs strive to "personalise" their offering however in virtual world they seem to be "impersonal". IFAs tend to choose an institutionalized digital offering instead of personalized offering. It's akin to choosing a model investment portfolio instead of a customized one. Today, Digital experts have identified UX as not only one of the most important drivers towards success, but as the most important driver. Bad UI and UX design, on the other hand, means offering a dumb tool without empathy or understanding.

How IFAs can adopt UI & UX elements in the context of their client's Digital touch points


Let's look from an investor perspective - while the landscape of Digital experience is changing. In other words, the way customers consume the data and browse are made very simpler. But the same investor has to spend more time to decode to view investment portfolio/our account statements. Why not present a customized investor dashboard which helps track their investment. Does the investor prefer a MS Excel format or minimum data points? Can this report be viewed across all devices' viz., desktop, mobile, multiple browsers? An investor invests in MF for wealth creation, the digital touch points should facilitate this. IFAs should display only two or three points on their Website/App -

a) Clients total investment amount and their total current value.

b) Breakup of their assets in different asset classes

c) Transaction summary.


IFAs ought to track their website usage analytics and re-design the navigation. For instance, if their existing investors visit predominantly for viewing their portfolio then why not make it easily accessible? Why to use Flash graphics, animations and scheme brochures? In the offline world, IFAs "understand" their customers and pitch relevant MF schemes. Why is it they ignore to "customize" in the digital world. For instance, based on their client persona, redirect and position the website content as their needs. Assuming IFAs are positioning about STP, the website should talk about the benefits of STP rather than multip le things and display AMC's NFO banner. In fact IFAs should use to website to elaborate their recommendations by using data points. This will help them to make a strong case of their recommendations. Familiarity in both offline and online world will help. IFAs should not shy away posting their pictures on their websites.


The client should be able to complete the routine task for which he/she visits the website/app. unfortunately, in our enthusiasm we offer many features which may have gaps. Ensure the routine task used by their client works seamlessly. The check in and check out of this routine process should be frictionless. Maybe it is a good idea to hide/uninstall features which are not used. Being minimalist will immensely help. In other words, offer few which works 100%. For instance, most of the IFAs keep a "download" section on their website - where in the users can fetch KYC, NFO, transaction forms etc., invariably, these are not updated as these forms are getting changed very frequently. How many IFA websites have uploaded the new CKYC form? I am questioning why not keep it minimal in Download section? Why to confuse the investor by giving all the forms? The reason I am putting up these questions to force the IFA to offer less on website which enhances the UX. IFAs should focus only on few highly relevant functions on their website. These should work 100%. Based on my experience - investment portfolio and topical investment content will reinforce IFAs effort. This results in great efficiency.

It's time IFAs realise this is not a checklist activity but spend time tracking UI & UX of their digital offering to their clients. IFAs who are reading may be thinking about the price to be paid to apply these UI & UX principles. Based on their budget, IFAs can have a minimalistic website which offers few efficient features and links to their respective MF portals. Assuming they don't intend to own their website but depend on a software service provider - its time they question the service provider about UI & UX. If IFAs choose to ignore UI & UX - it means the way they serve their client, carry out their business will be described/perceived differently by "new" users in the digital world.


The content of the article are generic in nature and does not represents views of Axis Asset Management Company Ltd. (Axis AMC). Reference to platforms or applications are just to explain the concepts of systems and are for illustration purpose only. No representation or warranty is made as to the accuracy, completeness or fairness of the information and opinions contained herein.

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