Mr. Dependable : Advisor Insights 23rd Sep 2014
What makes Vinod Jain "Mr.Dependable"?
Vinod Jain, Jain Investment Planner Pvt Ltd, Mumbai

imgbd What makes an investor choose an advisor or a money manager and stick with him through the rollercoaster ride that markets take him on? What begets trust in the eyes of an investor? A simple one word answer : dependability. Mr.Dependable - a joint initiative between Religare Invesco and Wealth Forum - aims to help you explore all the dimensions of what it takes to be seen by investors as Mr.Dependable, and thus build your financial advisory practice on a robust foundation of trust. After all, dependability is finally what money management is all about.

In the Advisor Insights series of Mr.Dependable, we profile advisors who embody the spirit of Mr.Dependable. Advisors who are sharply focused on the 4 pillars of dependability - consistency, integrity, responsiveness and diligence - and who have built their practices based on trust earned through being dependable.

Vinod Jain of Jain Investment heads one of Mumbai's most successful advisory firms, serving 4800 retail clients, through a team of 27 advisors, and a total staff strength of 42 who collectively manage over Rs. 350 crores of client assets. His SIP book - at Rs. 3 crores per month - is larger than the Mumbai SIP book of many mid-sized AMCs and larger than the all-India SIP book of many smaller AMCs.

What makes Vinod Jain "Mr. Dependable"? Why do clients stay with his firm through market cycles, in the most competitive market place in the country, where investors have the widest choice of advisors? Vinod talks to us about what the four pillars of dependability mean to him and how he has actually put these into practice, to earn the position he and his firm now enjoy with his clients.

To know more about the 4 pillars of dependability, Click Here

Consistency : We identified the salaried segment as our core client base and we focused on delivering core financial planning to them. It was a good fit - and it still is, a decade down the road. Salaried people need to save up regularly to realize their aspirations - whether it is education for children or providing for a comfortable retirement. SIPs in mutual funds were a neat solution for these needs, and still are. We began this journey over a decade ago, and have remained absolutely consistent in our customer proposition and our solutions ever since then. We make it a point to stay away from froth and are sharply focused on keeping things simple. In the 2005-07 phase when so many NFOs came in and so many themes were being tossed around, we made it a point to cut out all the noise and stick to the same core business that we have always believed in. Ours is a very simple practice and we make no attempts to needlessly complicate it.

What has consistency delivered? Many of our clients who started their goal based SIPs over 10 years ago are now very close to meeting their goals, and still have a lot of time on their hands. Knowing that the journey has been successful for our clients, is a huge satisfying feeling for us. Staying with one philosophy, staying with a simple approach and remaining disciplined is delivering results for our clients. That's the biggest benefit of consistency. For our firm, consistency has enabled us to build a sustainable business. It pays to identify your path and just stick to it, no matter what.

Integrity : Putting client interests first is a core philosophy for us. So often we see clients wanting to put money into debt funds and when we discuss deeper and realize that they have housing loans @ 11% still outstanding, we tell them to first pre-pay their loans and only then consider debt funds. We lose business with such advice, but we gain a relationship, we gain trust.

One question I ask every advisor I meet is this : how willing are you to do some work knowing fully well that you won't earn anything for it? In other words, can we cultivate a habit of looking beyond a transactional relationship and develop a genuine trust based relationship with our clients? I have often gone with my clients to help them select a car. It means a lot to them, it earns me nothing - but I build lasting relationships. I keep telling my team that we are not in the business of financial advisory - we are in the business of relationships. Today, those relationships help me offer investment advice, tomorrow, I could sell furniture or offer interior designing services. Relationships matter, products don't.

I know that it does get challenging to always keep client interest above your own, especially when there are so many opportunities to earn quick bucks. One thing we try to do to stay away from this temptation is to focus on our own productivity. Its simple - if you are doing well, if you are productive, the urge to go for that quick buck is a lot less. If you are not very productive, if you are working below potential, the urge for a quick buck is a lot larger. By focusing on our own productivity, we are perhaps able to avoid temptations and are able to always do the right thing for our clients.

Responsiveness : What do clients want? Somebody who can make investing simple and convenient for them, someone who takes away all the hassles and headaches of the operational matters of investing, and delivers a seamless investing experience to them. Advice and service go hand in hand. Client satisfaction comes first from good service and only later from the results of sensible advice. Being responsive is the first aspect of delivering good service. We have a culture in our firm - all calls will be answered within 3 rings. No exceptions. I practice this even for calls than come in at 2 am. This itself is a huge source of comfort for our clients. Next, nobody in our firm changes their mobile numbers. My mobile number is the same for the last 17 years. Clients know they can always get in touch with us, anytime. Being responsive is not just about delivering good service - its actually a good business builder. I have seen in my firm referrals coming in from clients who were happy with our responsiveness and our attitude - long before they could see whether our advice was delivering value or no.

Diligence : We fully understand the fiduciary nature of our responsibilities towards our clients. We don't invest their money only "as if" we would have done with our own money - but we always invest their money in a fund only after we have invested first. Walk the talk is a principle we believe in. We keep things simple. We have stayed away from closed ended funds, from complicated products. We are acutely aware that markets are prone to excesses on both sides - bubbles and crashes - and that our job is to try and smoothen the journey to the extent possible for our clients. The products we recommend and the investing principles we adopt keep this perspective very sharply in focus.

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

Share this article