Platform Point
Gajendra's 10 commandments on transaction platforms
Gajendra Kothari, Etica Wealth, Mumbai

imgbd One of the biggest dilemmas facing IFAs today is choice of transaction platforms - and it all boils down to MFU vs BSE vs NSE. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and each will have different appeal based on what you want out of a transaction platform.

WF approached the young, tech savvy Gajendra Kothari to give us an independent assessment of all three major platforms and also requested him to give pointers on how IFAs can make a choice based on what they really need. We are grateful to Gajendra for compiling this 4 part article series, where he shares his perspectives on each of the 3 main choices and provides us with a very practical 10 point program on how to get started with using these platforms.

In this, the concluding part, he shares 10 practical insights on how you can get started with leveraging transaction platforms. His rich experience in utilizing platforms comes through clearly in these very wise insights on getting started and gaining comfort with platforms.

Check out Gajendra Kothari's perspectives on:

MF Utility        NSE NMF II        BSE Star MF        Getting started

Below is my conclusion of all the platforms we have analyzed

  1. We cannot afford to by-pass any of these platforms. Continuing usage of AMC forms is not a sustainable proposition and results into high cost, errors, and a sub-par customer experience. Still, many IFA's are not willing to come out of their comfort zone and embrace technology. A better way to start is one should first start using platforms for your own investments and then gradually introduce it for your team members, family, friends and clients who are tech savvy. Once you get the desired confidence, then you can open up for all subsequent clients. Incidentally, all MF online platforms have bulk upload facility to onboard all your existing investors in one go.

  2. Many advisors ask us which is the best amongst all the three platforms. Our experience is no one platform is 360 degree comprehensive. Each platform has its pros and cons. One cannot rely on a single platform. Each platform keeps coming out with unique features and enhancements every month. We don't want to rely on a particular platform and hence we have been using all the three platforms interchangeably. Depending on which platform is suitable for a particular kind of investor we process the transaction accordingly. Signing up with 2 platforms atleast ensures that you are able to enjoy most of the features. Also, for some reason, if a particular platform is facing any issue, then you always have a backup ready. However, if someone wants and has team bandwidth, one can register their clients on all the three platforms. It's a one time paperwork only (remember good old days when you used to fill 5 MF application forms of the same client with the same client data and it was considered completely OK)

  3. Do away with all AMC forms from office - Once you are reasonably comfortable of using the platforms, start removing AMC forms from your office. It will save a lot of space and will reduce errors significantly. Moreover it is good to go green.

  4. Start with Switches/Redemptions first. Today 50% of the transactions happens in these two categories. They are also easier to start with. Once you and your investors get comfort with technology, you can then go ahead with purchases/SIPs etc.

  5. Get 2 set of forms signed. Since we don't rely on a single platform, we always get our investors to signup on 2 platforms whenever the investor is ready to start. This doesn't mean that we are starting with the investments. It just mean that lets get ready with the paperwork and in the future whenever the client want to start, it can be done almost instantly.

  6. Get NACH mandates signed along with the registration forms. Physical NACH mandates takes upto 30 days to register and hence the sooner you register them, the earlier you can start with transactions through One Time Mandate (OTM). Also, we have witnessed that many banks reject mandates owing to signature mismatch, form not filled properly etc. However, this may be history as NPCI is working towards eMandate which will allow investors to register the mandate electronically. This may however take six months to come.

  7. Get all bank accounts of the client registered with both the platforms. So that client can invest/redeem in any bank account in the future.

  8. Ask your clients to register BSE/MFU and NSCCL as beneficiary in their bank accounts for RTGS/NEFT if the clients have net banking and are used to do online transfers. This really helps when the clients want to put higher amount in the same fund to get the same day NAV.

  9. In next 6 months time all platforms will be super convenient to use. Its been 2 years since we have started using online platforms and they have come a long way since then. We are very confident that in next six months time all the platforms will become truly paperless and onboarding of clients will be a cakewalk.

  10. Free or Paid ? - As Milton Friedman once said, there's nothing called free lunch. Presently, all these platforms are free of cost to the advisors as they also want a certain degree of acceptance amongst the advisors. However, I believe that at some point they would like to charge fees. The fees may be borne by the advisor / distributor, mutual funds or even the client. Or it can be a mixed structure. The fee structure will also evolve over a period of time. However, I strongly feel that market place will ensure that fee structures remain reasonable. You need to be ready to pay the fees. Consider this as an investment, as it make great business sense to use technology to reduce costs, time and give a superior client experience.

All I can say is GET STARTED.

Pls note: All these views are the author's personal opinions.

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