500 families, 500 crAuM. Eyes now set on 1000 cr.


Mukesh Gupta, Wealthcare Securities, Delhi

A Chartered Accountant by education, Mukesh Gupta left behind a successful career with leading NDs like Aditya Birla Money (BSDL in those days) and RR Financial, to set up independent practice as an IFA in 2003. The timing then was seen as rotten, in hindsight, as perfect. Over the last 14 years, Mukesh has built a very successful practice, serving over 500 families with a total AuMin excess ofRs. 500 crores (175 cr in mutual funds, over 100 cr in real estate and the rest spread across PMS, alternate investments, structured products,direct equity and tax free bonds). His client retention rate is over 95% - he builds lifelong relationships with his HNI clients. There are many facets to him that make him Mr.Dependable - but one fact above all stayed with us as a cornerstone of his success. On day 1, he had no clients, but he anyway invested in a CRM solution. Every client interaction - mail or phone - has been documented since inception. Building processes ahead of garnering business is a rare quality indeed. It is this professional approach that his clients like most, its what gives him the confidence to eye a 1000 crAuM in 3 years, with MFs accounting for 50% of it. Read on as Mukesh Gupta shares rich insights on how becoming a dependable and trustworthy ally for your clients can propel your business growth, like it has for him.

Collected enough money to last 2 years before setting out independently

I qualified as a chartered accountant in 1993 and came straight into this line of financial advisory, with a job in RR Financial Consultants. In those days, the focus was on IPOs and FDs at RR. I moved to BSDL (now Aditya Birla Money) in 1999 and handled their channel network until 2002. I always wanted to be my own boss, but financial constraints kept me in a job till 2002. In 2003, armed with enough money to last me for 2 years, I set up my own firm. We were a 3 member team when we commenced business.

Day 1, I had no clients, but I invested in a CRM solution

My focus has always been on the HNI segment. My educational background and training as a CA and my work experience in a professional environment moulded my thinking on how I wanted to set up my advisory practice. In CA firms, when a new client is signed up, a file is created instantly. Files keep getting added every year, clients rarely leave a CA firm. I have followed a similar approach. On day 1, I had no clients, but I invested in a CRM solution anyway. Every client I signed up would get added automatically into the CRM system. Every client interaction - whether verbal, on phone or email - gets recorded in the CRM solution. We have data since inception - almost 15 year old data for all our early clients. Our professional approach appeals to our HNI clients, it builds trust and confidence in us.

Always hungry for knowledge

I am a keen learner and always look for ways to enhance my knowledge. I completed my CFP in 2004 - I was in the first batch of CFP certificants. I remember in one of the Wealth Forum conferences, we discussed CPFA - the day I came back, I registered for it and secured it. I continue to attend CA study circle knowledge sessions, even if some have only a peripheral connection with our business. There is always something to learn. The last one was on bitcoins - I attended it and picked up some interesting insights.

Checklists for everything

The other aspect I have imbibed is to create and document processes for every aspect of our business - whether on client engagement or servicing or operations or research. In one of the Wealth Forum conferences, there was a discussion on Atul Gawande's book "The Checklist Manifesto". The book left a deep impression in me - and I have embraced its insights fully, by developing checklists for every task in our firm.

Wide variety of products

Products are pivotal to success in the HNI space. While mutual funds continue to be the core proposition for us, we have never allowed ourselves to be restricted in scope by the product category. We are active across all products that can logically find a place in HNI portfolios including real estate, PMS, alternate assets, direct equity, derivatives (largely for hedging), tax free bonds and overseas investments. We ensure that we do sufficient research across all product categories to find the best solutions for our clients.

5 aspects that build trust - that make you Mr.Dependable

So, if you ask me what builds trust in the HNI space, my experience is that it is a function of a few key factors. To start with is your body language, your approach. Trust and confidence is built when you come across as a knowledgeable, experienced, diligent, meticulous and client-centric professional.

Your knowledge across a range of topics - well beyond just mutual funds - is what will inspire confidence. In my experience in interacting with HNI clients, I find that in a typical 1 hour meeting, the first 45 minutes are spent on matters unrelated to the portfolio and only the last 15 minutes are devoted to the portfolio. You need to constantly work on those 45 minutes just as you work on perfecting the last 15 minutes.

Diligence and meticulousness can be seen by your clients in the way you manage their portfolios, the way you communicate your recommendations, your reviews. We write constantly to our clients on our perspectives on markets, on products, on interesting investment opportunities. When we are concerned about markets or when we sense significant opportunities, we don't just write, we go on overdrive meeting them and convincing them about the proposed line of action. Two weeks ago, we sent out a clear communication to all our clients to cut back on equity allocations. We met many of them and actioned this promptly. Even when clients don't agree - which does happen - our meticulous documentation of every interaction comes handy when we do our ongoing portfolio reviews. Clients are able to see clearly later on, what we recommended, when and why and are able to better appreciate the need for a prudent approach, at least for the future. This documentation not only serves as an audit trail but also builds trust and confidence in our advice - which often goes against what is the popular mood of the moment, and is therefore understandably difficult to digest easily.

Client centric has two dimensions in my view - one is to never do anything that is not in the client's interests - which is essentially all about integrity. The other is about ensuring clients never lose out, even if for no fault of ours. When for example, an application could not be lodged in time due to rains etc and is lodged the next day, we proactively compensate the client for any loss as a result of the delay. I find that when we pay out cheques of 5000 or 10,000, though the amount is small for them, clients appreciate the customer-centric approach immensely. It builds a lot of goodwill for the firm.


Road ahead for Wealthcare Securities

Today, we are a 10 member firm serving over 500 families with total AuM in excess of Rs. 500 crores, of which around Rs. 175 crs is in mutual funds and the rest is across other assets. In the next 3 years, we would like to double our total AuM. We are also keen on increasing the proportion of mutual funds in our AuM from 35% to 50% in the next 3 years. We will be applying for an RIA license as soon as the new proposals get finalized - as we will know then whether to set up a division or a subsidiary. Our processes are already RIA compliant, so it's not really a challenge for us. We continue to look for ways to enhance our proposition. Tax advise helps a lot in this respect, as it significantly deepens your client engagement. We are also actively advising clients increasingly on estate planning and allied aspects. As long as we stay hungry for knowledge and find ways of translating this knowledge into client centric propositions, we see enough potential to grow in the years ahead.

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