Mr. Dependable : Advisor Insights
What makes Ramanan "Mr.Dependable"?
B. Ramanan, Wealth Creators, Coimbatore

imgbd Mr. Dependable - a joint initiative between Religare Invesco MF and Wealth Forum, has been consistently advocating 4 pillars of dependability - 4 key character traits that make an advisor trust-worthy and dependable in the eyes of his clients. These 4 pillars are : Consistency, Integrity, Responsiveness and Diligence. We firmly believe that the foundation to building a successful advisory practice is being seen by your clients as "Mr.Dependable" - after all, that's what money management is all about, that's what fiduciary responsibility is all about.

In our Advisor Insights series, we profile advisors who embody these 4 pillars, who have built their practice on these 4 pillars and who have become "Mr.Dependable" to their clients. One such advisor is one who wins hearts with his sincerity and humility - B. Ramanan of Wealth Creators, Coimbatore. Ramanan shares with us how these 4 pillars have helped him build a business that serves 200 families, with AuM in excess of Rs.60 crores.

Ask him what he is most satisfied about, and you will get blown by his response: he has taken up a social commitment to educate those who will never have anybody teach them about savings and investments - milkmen, vegetable vendors, barbers - people who serve us, but about whom we rarely think about. Every Sunday, he teaches them about saving and investing, he coaxes and cajoles them to invest in mutual funds. It sometimes takes upto a year to get them to start a SIP of Rs.500, but when he finally gets them to do it, there's a huge smile of satisfaction that spreads across his face - he knows he has succeeded in making a difference in the financial life of one more person, who nobody would otherwise have cared about.


Consistency for me means stability at all times. In the best of times or the worst of times, I ensure that my service to my clients never changes, and that I always remain in touch with them. In fact, in tough times, I make it a point to engage more with my clients. What clients really want is stability - the confidence that you will always be around, that you will be even more accessible when the going gets tough. When markets bounce back and anxieties ease, clients remember the fact that you didn't disappear or didn't duck their calls - that you were there for them, addressing their anxieties. It is when markets bounce back that they realise who is dependable and who is not.

Consistency for me is also about conviction in our own advice. Only when you have conviction will you be able to stand by your recommendations, through choppy markets. Only when you show that consistency in your views and recommendations, will clients build confidence in you. For this, one needs to do a lot of homework before making any recommendations. Having a simple process by which you prepare your recommendations, and following that process consistently, allows you to have conviction in what you recommend.

Consistency is also about demonstrating to clients the results of your recommendations. I always prepare a dummy portfolio, which contains recommendations that I made for a client. Even if he didn't accept all my recommendations, I keep updating the dummy portfolio and showing him at regular intervals. When clients see this over a period of time, next time around they are more willing to accept all recommendations.


Integrity to me is about being client centric. I believe trust is built over time, never overnight, and is built by actions, not words. Integrity is at the core of building relationships and this business is all about building and maintaining relationships. Money will come and go, but relationships will last forever. Do your business from your heart - that's integrity for me.

Eat what you cook is a motto I believe in. I never recommend a product that I don't believe is good for me. I readily show my clients my own portfolio statement - this builds tremendous confidence. A key aspect of integrity for me is to be absolutely honest in managing client expectations. I never try to over-promise in an effort to win business. This only destroys trust and damages relationships. I believe one must under commit and over deliver - that's how you build trust and confidence.


I would rather term this 3rd pillar as proactivity. In these times of heightened media coverage and sensationalism in reporting, clients naturally get more nervous about news and events - its their hard earned money at stake. We need to be proactive in communicating with clients, rather than reacting to media coverage and opinions that get formed from them.

While I am a firm believer in proactive communication, I am an equally firm believer in not-so-active portfolio review. I always keep my clients briefed about markets and events, but at the same time steer portfolio action in line with goals that we have agreed. There is need to inform, but much less need to act. Action should always be linked to goals, never to markets.


I stick to two principles: one is that I recommend solutions for goals and not products. Second is that the solutions will never have products that are difficult to understand or are not really necessary. I stay away from Cap Pro products, by and large I stay away from NFOs unless the concept is novel and required - I stay away from unnecessary products and keep things simple. Eat what you cook - I like eating simple, I cook simple.

Beyond the 4 pillars

Apart from serving the 200 families who are my clients, I have taken up for several years now, a social objective that is very close to my heart. We come across so many people who serve us in their own small ways - milkmen, vegetable vendors, barbers - petty businessmen who we know don't make too much money and are not financially literate. Nobody reaches out to them to teach them about savings and investment, there is no Government initiative that will ever reach them, and yet, all the things we tell our clients about saving prudently and investing wisely, are equally relevant for them - although the amounts may be much smaller. Because the amounts are too small, they are of interest to nobody. I have taken it upon myself to guide them exactly the way I guide my clients.

I dedicate time every Sunday to teaching this segment of our people the basics of saving and investment. I introduce them to mutual funds and explain as simply as I can, how mutual funds can be beneficial to them, even if they can save only Rs.100 or Rs.500 per month. Many of them are reluctant initially, but I persevere with them. It often takes me over a year to convince them to start a SIP of Rs.500 per month. But, I never give up - because I believe this one decision will help them secure their future better than what they realise today. It is only after seeing my perseverance that they start SIPs. When I see a SIP - however small - being set up by these people - believe me, it gives much more satisfaction than winning a large new business from an affluent client. The knowledge that I am using my skills to make a difference in the lives of people who will never otherwise have access to such advice, is a huge motivation for me.

All content in Mr.Dependable is created by Wealth Forum and should not be construed as views of Religare Invesco MF.

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