Main Bhi Fund Guru
From 0 to 56 crs in only 15 months - and this is just the beginning
Nitin Avasthi and Achin Jain, Client Alley, Dehradun


For the financial advisory profession which is starved of fresh blood, Nitin Avasthi (35) and Achin Jain (33) are a breath of fresh air, and offer a lot of hope for the future of this noble profession. They quit their private banking jobs to set up Client Alley in Dehradun in June 2014. In barely 15 months, they have raced to an AuM of over Rs. 56 crores, serving over 450 clients, with offices in Dehradun, Delhi (NCR), Ludhiana and Mumbai. The 16 member strong Client Alley has also recently set up 8 rep offices in different cities, managed by associates of the firm. The secret of their success is a simple motto that the duo firmly believe in: "we are advisors first, and businessmen next". Nitin and Achin say that firms that manage to sort this conflict out, will not just survive, but thrive, just the way Client Alley is doing.

WF: What were your backgrounds, before you set up Client Alley?

Nitin & Achin: We both have been ex-bankers, being a part of Private Banking and Wealth Management Services having spent more than a decade each with reputed Indian and MNC banks, managing wealth for High Net Worth Clients. Our stints in banking and diverse experience of managing different asset classes helped us understand the investment landscape and the needs of our clients better. Nitin additionally was the founder member for Antara, Senior living project by Max Group.

WF: What prompted you to move out of a bank job and take an entrepreneurial plunge? Take us through your thought process at that time - the opportunity, the fears/doubts and finally what was the one factor that decided it for you.

While working with our clients, we realized that in an organization construct we can only support their endeavours to a limit. We were constrained in terms of consulting advice, we both have been passionate towards our Wealth Management Career and we religiously wanted to fix the status quo while servicing our client within the banking fraternity , so this idea of servicing client independently came up and that's when we decided to take a plunge. Like any other person who was leaving their jobs to get independent, we had worries about our family and their financial security but with support from our patrons and a firm confidence on our service delivery, skills and knowledge we have developed and nurtured through our extensive experience of handling Portfolios of Wealth clients throughout our Private Banking career we decided to move ahead and it's been a great decision.

WF: When you set up Client Alley, you must have had a vision on how the business should pan out. Looking back over the last 15 months, what has worked exactly as planned, what caught you by surprise and what were some of the course corrections you made?

Nitin & Achin: We wanted to focus on the basics - providing insightful value added advice and services to our esteemed clients. We have stuck to that and we have let other things take care of themselves.We have been steadily expanding our presence across North India and are in discussions to expand beyond as well. We have been targeting steady growth and maintained focus on our core competence, hence we should say that not too many surprises for us during the journey but of course going forward as for any other business you need to keep your gears in line with the competition and technological advancement so it holds true for us also and we are setting our roads ahead in accordance.

WF: How has business grown @ Client Alley?

Nitin & Achin: While talking about numbers is always a relative thing, FY 14-15 we managed an AUM of35 cr. and in FY 15-16 we have been able to do 56 Cr till now though the FY is still not over we have set our aspirations big, When we started in June 2014,we started with zero base.


SBI MF presents the Wealth Forum Emerging Advisor Award 2015 to Client Alley

(L-R): Nitin Avasthi, D.P. Singh, Dinesh Khara, Achin Jain, NavneetMunot, Vijay Venkatram

To know more about the Emerging Advisor Awards, click here

WF: The industry often bemoans the fact that there are so few youngsters willing to take the entrepreneurial plunge into the world of financial advice. You represent the few who actually did. What in your view are the key impediments that prevent young blood from entering this profession? What should be done to infuse a lot more young and fresh blood?

Nitin & Achin: Yes, this is quite true. Indian financial sector has no dearth of quality talent, Indian environment has traditionally not been very supportive of entrepreneurship, and we are now seeing a trend of start- ups as in the ecommerce space. Banking and financial services is yet to see that kind of transformation.

Our focus has been the same to keep delivering the servicesovershadowing the constraints that we have faced in Banking construct. Our proposition starts and ends with what client wants, while designing a proposal more than a consultant we work as a partner to our clients and so devise end to end solutions in synergy. We work on solutions than proposals. We work for clients, then for us.

We think for anyone who wishes to enter this profession, the key is that you should have a crystal clear understanding on your subject and firm determination to grow and nurture your passion. Coincidently in our case our Passion is Wealth management so then there is no bar you just have to plan and execute..Rest is karma....

The biggest bottleneck in our industry is that most of the Wealth management outfits are working more as a distributor than Advisors and accidently investor has to compromise. It's a trade off which needs to be balanced first.We need to forgo our short term gains and think more long term. We need to acknowledge the fact that we are advisors first and then a business man. If that thought process gets internalized, there is no turning back.

WF: The industry is witnessing huge change, some led by regulation and others by market forces. RIA regulations, commission rules, Sumit Bose report, robo advisors and now potentially competition from e-comm platforms - there's quite a lot going on. How does Client Alley plan to deal with change? What aspects of your business are likely to change and what will not?

Nitin & Achin: These are exciting times, there are too many changes happening, Introduction of payment banks, payment services by likes of Google, Samsung and Apple. The foray of ecommerce companies into the banking services, mobile wallets to name a few. We do see this increasing the pie of banking market and it would be increasingly tough for banks to focus on selling services to customers. Banks would not have control on the savings of the customers, as with integrated payments it would become multi modal. This does not hold true for us, at Client Alley we help our clients manage their money and investments better. To augment this, we have also invested in class leading Analytics and IT systems to provide the best advice to our clients and its not over as we arenot immune to change, so technological up gradations is an ongoing process for us and we are constantly working for improvement.

WF: What are plans for Client Alley over the next 3 years?

Nitin & Achin: Our Focus is to continue doing what we like doing best - providing quality advice to our clients while helping them grow their investments. While we like to take each day at a time, servicing our client to the best of our ability, we have a future plan to expand both horizontally and vertically and we may work on setting up new partnerships or expanding into new services. We are on an exciting journey and would like to continue that way.

"We religiously believe in Keep it Simple,Do What Works"......wisdom of Warren Buffet

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