7 BIG inspirational winners


Think BIG- a joint initiative of Reliance MF and Wealth Forum - articulates 5 pillars of growth that are essential for you to embrace if you really are serious about building scale.


The 2017 edition of the Think BIG awards recognized champions who have done a remarkable job in each of these 5 pillars - BIG thinkers who we can all do well to learn from. The awards were given away by Reliance MF's sales and marketing leadership team including Sandeep Walunj, SaugataChaterjee and AnamikaMattey, at the awards nite on 7th July 2017, which was an integral part of the 8th annual Wealth Forum Platinum Circle Advisors Conference.

Strategic Vision

Our first category is Strategic Vision, and we have two very different inspirational visionaries, one from a small town in Gujarat and another who is making waves in the private wealth space.

Strategic Vision - 1

Our first winner for Vision comes from the small town of Junagadh in Gujarat, a town with a population of 350,000 people. He began his career in financial intermediation in the IPO segment, travelling to Rajkot to procure IPO forms, distributing them in Junagadh and then travelling back to Rajkot to submit the forms. In 2002, an IFA friend from Rajkot - Sandeep Gandhi - introduced him to the world of mutual funds. That was the beginning of a brand new innings for our champion. Unmindful of the fact that mutual funds as a category was hardly known in Junagadh, he worked with missionary zeal, spreading awareness of mutual funds and helping investors create wealth through equity funds. All that he had going for him was his conviction that he was doing the right thing for his clients - he had to create his own market as he went along. Over time, competition came along, national distributors set up shop in Junagadh, but his strong roots in the market that he helped develop has seen him continue as the undisputed No.1 distributor in Junagadh, with a staggering 20% market share. One out of every 3 mutual fund investors in Junagadh is his client. He is a man who believes a lot in self motivation, and sets annual targets for himself that drive him to scale newer heights - all of them with one central theme - to crack one glass ceiling after another, and prove to himself that the small size of his market cannot come in the way of his larger aspirations. In 2016, he set himself a target to cross the 100 crAuM mark, which he did, entirely with retail money. For 2017, he set himself a target to get into the top tier of all the 4 big fund houses - something which seems like a pipe dream for an IFA from a market so small. He's already made it into the top tier of 2 of these 4, and is well on his way to accomplishing his 2017 aspiration as well.

For creating a market for mutual funds in his town almost single handedly and for consistently shattering glass ceilings that otherwise inhibit players from smaller markets, the Think BIG award for strategic vision goes to Amit Charadva of Junagadh.



Think BIG winner for Strategic Vision : Amit Charadva, Jash Consultancy, Junagadh

Strategic Vision - 2

Our second winner for strategic vision is a multi-family office firm which decided to embrace global best practices from day 1 in an effort to build one of the most respected family offices in the country, and serve clients across the world.

Established in 2010 by a team of seasoned private bankers, the firm aspired to become India's premier true to label full fledged family office outfit. The single vision was and continues to be, to build a family office practice that eliminates the trust deficit, has the trust of a family member and the expertise of an institution, helping families not only preserve and enhance wealth but also be responsible for wealth transfer and management through generations. In a nutshell, be a financial trustee & a consulting firm that combines personal service of a family adviser with expertise of an investment firm. Lot of man hours were put to build the model on these lines and today, the firm boasts of a platform which encompasses a wide array of expertise ranging from wealth management to Indian/Offshore tax advisory, estate planning, document management, Legal/Concierge and a mentorship academy to look at complex issues ranging from induction of next generation in to business, transferring family values, dispute settlements, amongst others. The team has diverse and complimentary skill sets/background ranging from private banking/ real estate advisory/ Tax advisory/ Investment banking, Data analysis and research. With a strong team of ~ 30 full time members, and total assets under advice in excess of Rs.4,000 crores, from 75 client families across 15 cities and 6 countries, the firm is well on its way to realizing its vision of becoming a respected Indian family office firm serving global clients.

Our second award for Strategic Vision, for setting up a global standards multi-family office establishment, goes to Credence Family Office, Bangalore.



Think BIG winner for Strategic Vision: Credence Family Office, Bangalore


Enhancing your team's skills to deliver high quality, consistent advice is critical for any firm to scale up its practice. But what our BIG thinking winner of this year's Upskilling award has done is to take upskilling to the next level.

We know that each client is unique, but we also know that clients from the same profession have a lot in common in terms of needs and circumstances. This leading Mumbai based financial planning powerhouse that caters to affluent investors decided to leverage this understanding and created 4 separate practices within their firm, for four distinct client segments, and worked on upskilling team members to become truly proficient in understanding and serving clients in their area of specialization.

So, the firm today does not have one financial planning team - it has instead a business owners practice, a corporate executives practice, a doctors practice and a celebrities practice. Here is briefly how they understand the common needs of clients in each of these practices, and apply these insights into creating solutions for their clients

We quote from the self nomination entry:

"Business Owners : A large cross section of business owners do not separate personal finance from business capital. As a result they keep churning money back into the business. There is always uncertainty and irregularity of flow of income in a business. In the absence of a written strategy or a plan, personal finances can go haywire. Most business owners need a proper succession plan in place but lack the acumen to go about it. We help our clients follow the 'Pay Yourself First' principle. After understanding their goals and accounting for uncertainties around their business, we put down a written financial plan. The next generation is involved in financial planning process early on to inculcate the right thinking and facilitate the process of succession planning.

Corporate Executives : For corporate executives, job insecurity is a harsh reality. Most corporate executives get lost in the rat race and face burnout. As one progresses in his career it becomes harder and harder to find a job of his caliber. Not all corporate executives make it to the top of the corporate pyramid and at some point their career stagnates. A plan is chalked out to take care of contingencies and a back up is created. Retirement planning is done well in advance. Our financial planning helps our clients lead the life of those at top even if they don't make it to the top.

Celebrities : People in creative profession or sportsmen have a limited shelf life and want to dedicate the maximum of their time to their creative or athletic pursuits. In the absence of time as well as accurate information they tend to depend on others to make their financial decisions. They are often misled into hoarding a lot of pricey financial products. We plan finances for our clients such that it takes care of the uncertainties of their profession. Our focus is to create a backup plan for our clients to fall back on after their stardom fades. We also cover them from the risks that arise due to their profession.

Doctors : A doctor studies till the age of 30-35 years and only then his professional career starts. After about 8-10 years of experience, post 40- 45 years, is when most doctors start peaking. The good part is there is no 'retirement age'. A doctor can work till the time he chooses to. Financial knowledge is an area which is neglected in medical colleges. Considering their working hours, doctors are hard pressed for time and hence managing finance takes a back seat. Many doctors also do not have the luxury of having government benefits like EPF, PF, gratuity etc unless they work as salaried doctors. Their earnings vary from month to month. Doctors like to call themselves glorified wage earners. Doctors need to invest regularly in upgradation of their knowledge and equipments. We bring discipline in the financial planning of doctors. We help doctors to think of their practice as a business. Managing cash flows and facilitating succession planning are among the other services we provide to doctors."

End of quote

Based on this clear understanding, the firm has carved out its team of 65 people into 4 distinct practices, with practice heads for each practice and dedicated client facing RMs, financial planners and implementation staff attached to each practice. Each practice team thus gains expertise in its specialization - from top to bottom, is able to meet and exceed client expectations due to the unique skills they acquire in their area of specialization, and are able to win a lot more new business on the strength of these finely honed skills.

Little wonder that this firm's AuM has shot past 1200 crores and looking good for a whole lot more. Our Think BIG winner for upskilling - MFA Consulting, led by Amar Pandit.



Think BIG winner for Upskilling: MFA Consulting, Mumbai

Team Building

Nurturing and growing a vibrant team that shares your vision is absolutely critical for any firm to Think BIG and achieve BIG. Our winner of the team building award this year just walked up to the dias a short while ago after demonstrating the firm's marketing prowess. This exceptionally talented leader does not just excel in marketing - he is a wiz in team building as well.

The firm's team is divided into two verticals, one client facing and the other acting as the firm's backbone. Here is how this firm nurtures and grows talent in its client facing side:

  1. All planners are qualified CFPs

  2. A Buddy system within the teams so that vibrancy continues even with a member missing temporarily on leave to attend to personal urgencies.

  3. Each team is a Self-help group and the Team leader is actually just a referee!

  4. Alternate day 30-minute knowledge sessions first thing in the morning. Presented by one of the team member to build their competencies, public speaking skills and confidence.

  5. Market commentaries by the Team Leaders every other alternate day, again first thing in the morning.

  6. Liberal monetary incentive for ideas which bring a difference to clients' lives or to the company.

  7. Ownership for one major product per planner - rotation in 6 months to continue learning.

  8. Induction Eight-day training program conducted by older team member to ensure new member feels welcome. Followed by 15 days on-the-job training before they start independently handling their own clients, assignments and financial plans.

  9. Encouraged to write articles for magazines and get them published. Ownership of blog, articles, and mailers to feel the sense of belongingness.

  10. Education scholarship for weaker sections of the society to show to internal clientele that it's a company which cares for all.

  11. An open, knowledge-based, learning environment where mistakes are more welcome than achievements.

Our winner for team building, for showing us the right way to genuinely nurture and grow your team: Colonel Sanjiv Govila of Hum Fauji Initiatives, Delhi



Think BIG winner for Team Building: Col Sanjeev Govila, Hum Fauji Initiatives, Delhi


We have two winners in the processes category - one who has leveraged technology for a unique initiative and one who has built 360 degree client engagement processes that clearly set him apart in his market. Both winners showcase one thing in common - the power of process orientation in achieving excellence.

Leveraging technology

Our winner for leveraging technology had a comfortable 200 crAuM business built up since 2006. He decided to merge with a larger national firm and looked forward to working under a larger umbrella. Unfortunately for him, that umbrella didn't quite work out the way he expected, and he decided to exit and start life again as an independent firm. Taking that decision was the easy part, getting his AuM back was the challenge as it required CoBs from all clients for all folios.

The first thing he decided was that when he went back to these clients, he would not simply ask them to sign CoBs. He would instead offer them a wow factor that gets them to move quickly - because speed is what he needed to get his revenue meter to start ticking again from 0 level.

He created a completely online proposition to sign up clients and take them through a bionic model for risk profiling, asset allocation and goal planning. He launched an initiative called "Join Virtual : Invest Digital". Clients could sign up with his firm within just 5 minutes if they are KYC compliant - which all his erstwhile clients were. Within 5 minutes of entering basic data, clients get a welcome text message in their mobile phones and a welcome pack by email with their account details and an inbuilt FATCA compliance module too. "Reloading" as he puts it was down to just 5 minutes per client. Once the client gets onboarded, there is an algo based profiler that gets to work, followed by a call from his team offering the first goal plan complimentary. That gets new money from the client flowing into his firm quickly enough.

Then there was the challenge of bringing back old AuM from clients who have been re-loaded back into his firm. For this, he initiated Project48 - which meant obtaining Change of Broker mandates within 48 hours from clients. Each week, he and his team selected 10 clients to approach for Project48, approached them, got their CoB mandates, ensured accuracy, and sent them to the R&T agents for processing. That initiated a process driven intensive follow up with R&T agents to get the CoBs processed and AuM reflected in his books - all within 2 weeks of sending each request. Within a span of 3 months, he was back on his feet - all clients reloaded with a wow factor through his Join Virtual : Invest Digital initiative, followed up by Project48 to win back old AuM. In 3 months flat, he was back up from 0 to 225 crores in AuM from over 115 client families, with close to 2000 folios reloaded back into his firm.

For his intelligent use of tech driven processes in a unique business initiative, the Think BIG award for leveraging technology driven processes goes to Madhu Menon, Oxyzen Financial Services, Ahmedabad.



Think BIG winner for Processes - Leveraging Technology

Madhu Menon, Oxyzen Financial Services, Ahmedabad

Client Engagement Processes

Our winner for process orientation in client engagement is a Jaipur based IFA who has institutionalized processes in every aspect of engagement - from advisory to relationship management to client servicing.

He follows a strategic and tactical asset allocation model - but with a difference. He has created an in-house integrated algo based strategic cum tactical allocation model on excel spreadsheets, with the help of which he is able to advice clients even on tactical allocations, very dispassionately, very logically - without bringing either his or his clients' emotions into the picture. This model is his guru mantra for ongoing advice - this is what he takes to every client every quarter and all discussions on the portfolio start with where the client is today vs where his updated model suggests he ought to be. He ensures that clients understand and buy into this concept upfront - which then avoids any issues in ongoing implementation.

He rates all clients on a 6 point rating scale, based on size and complexity of the portfolio. 6 star clients need to be met twice a month, while a 1 star client needs to be met annually. Actual engagement vs plan is what he tracks for all clients, every month, to ensure that his firm is meeting every client exactly at the frequency required. He does not track business done in meetings - he only tracks the fact that interactions have taken place and action points if any on the portfolio have been raised for completion.

Every service related phone call that comes in from a client means a job card is opened for the service request. TATs for each service query are tagged to the job card on the basis of a list of desired TATs for each type of service request. Every day, he tracks all open job cards which are at or beyond TATs and personally dives into each overdue case to ensure speedy resolution.

This kind of sharp process orientation on all aspects of client engagement has enabled him to grow to a robust AuM of Rs. 180 crores in Jaipur. Our winner of the Think BIG award for client engagement processes - M/s Poornima Bhandari , Jaipur (represented by Amit Jain)



Think BIG winner for Client Engagement Processes

Poornima Bhandari, Jaipur (represented by Amit Jain)

Execution excellence

Every building block that you put in place to scale up finally rests on one cornerstone - execution excellence. Our winner of the Think BIG award for execution excellence is a great example of this.

Our winner is a Bangalore headquartered fintech firm which has developed a high quality online wealth management proposition, delivered through a mobile app and web. The product simplifies all aspects of personal investing -completely paperless KYC, goal based investing, personalized recommendations, jargon free tracking, straight through processing of transactions. But that's only part of the reason why they are the most deserving winner for execution excellence. Its what they have done with this proposition that makes them a winner.

The firm scanned the funds distribution space closely and spotted an opportunity where most saw only impediments. PSU banks in India have customer bases that run into crores, but have not really leveraged this well enough in terms of offering wealth management and investment services.

Our winner approached a few PSU banks until it zeroed in on one of the largest in the country - Bank of Baroda. They spent many manhours convincing the bank's management to co-brand their solution and offer it to the bank's 6 crore plus customer base. It took a lot of effort and perseverance - which finally paid off. BoB rolled out their app as a co-branded proposition to their client base, and gave the fintech firm full access to market their proposition to the entire customer base. In one shot, our winner now had a captive client base of over 6 crore investors to upsell their proposition to. An open architecture platform, simplicity and tremendous convenience resulted in very encouraging customer response. The monthly customer acquisition is already running in the thousands, and looking good for a lot more. Spurred by this big breakthrough, the firm sewed up another alliance - this time with Laxmi Vilas Bank - a south based bank with a robust NRI client base. Numbers from this alliance have begun to accelerate - and the ticket sizes - thanks to the NRI base - are very encouraging indeed. These successes are now opening the floodgates for our winner - there are conversations in progress with other leading PSU banks, and one of them is expected to be closed in the coming weeks. What our fintech winner has done is to take a great proposition and find an equally great way to offer it through innovative partnerships to crores of PSU bank customers.

Beyond its PSU relationships, the firm has also tied up with a large and growing number of leading IT and BPO companies, to put their app into the employee portals of these firms, supplemented by extensive on ground educational sessions for their employees.

Here's a fintech company with a difference - it didn't just create a great platform, but it focused equally on creating and executing win-win partnerships to actually deliver this platform to lakhs of Indian savers.

Our winner of the Think BIG award for execution excellence goes to Fisdom - represented by Anand Dalmia.



Think BIG winner for Execution Excellence: Fisdom, Bangalore (represented by Anand Dalmia)

Special commendation from Reliance MF

Our winner of this year's special commendation from Reliance MF is showing us the way to reach out to millions of Indian savers by offering them better alternatives to savings accounts and fixed deposits. Originally from Ujjain, he is fully conversant with the low levels of financial literacy in India's hinterland, and the poor investment choices that savers often make as a result. In Nov 2015, he started working on an online mutual fund platform, but soon realized that there is an important first step that needs to be taken before getting these savers into the full suite of funds - and that first step is onboarding them into liquid funds first, helping them get a good experience that boosts their confidence in funds and only then gradually take them up the curve.

That insight led him to develop an app to onboard savers into liquid funds, for which he partnered with Reliance MF in May 2016. Within just a year of introducing it, the app has seen over 50,000 downloads with more than 11,000 active customers happily using it to park their savings in a more efficient manner. Our entrepreneur from Ujjain is now well on his way to realizing his mission - of enabling and empowering Indian savers, particularly those who don't have access to good financial advice, using a highly scalable platform.

The Reliance MF special commendation this year goes to Varun Gupta of Fin O Zen.



Think BIG special commendation winner: Varun Gupta, Fin O Zen, Gurgaon

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