My journey to build a sustainable financial services solution
Updated: May 11
In 2012, a wave of digital advisory had just started to take over US financial markets. Market participants coined the term ‘Robo Advisory’. Betterment, wealth front, etc., were some of the initial Robo advisors in the US.
Inspired by this trend, I decided to quit as a management consultant and create something for the Indian financial markets. Insurance agents, mutual fund agents, and brokers occupied the wealth management industry—questions such as why to save, how much, where remained unanswered.
These agents or brokers were interested in just pushing the products. But on the other hand, the investors, too, were more comfortable buying products than reflecting on why they were doing what they were doing.
Initially, I identified mutual funds as the closest products that could have catered to investors’ asset allocation. However, the backend systems did not allow a smooth information flow. In addition, India lacked a tech framework to enable data sourcing, analysis, execution, and fee collection, unlike the US. We had our small success with Finqa (Financial Questions Answered), but I realized that scalability was an issue.
Unlike the western world, Indians prefer human interactions (touchpoints). As I pointed out in my 2016 article on financial services trends online transaction platforms will take over investing space soon. Although we see a plethora of online transaction platforms, they lack advisory. So far, SEBI compliance for the advisory platforms is also biased toward human interactions. No wonder, in the last two years, a lot of these online transaction platforms have surrendered their advisory licenses.
When it comes to money, we have certain expectations and comfort with a particular person. Interestingly, the person could be associated with any institute/company, but in the end, the relationship is person-dependent (human interaction). In simple terms, Indian investors want a trust-based human relationship to meet their financial needs.
Over the last ten years, I have focused on building my financial advisory practice on high ethical standards and a human interactions-based approach. Instead of dealing with the masses, I dealt with selected few investors.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet
In each passing year since 2012, I have been able to improve client servicing and solutions. Ethical practices and professional conduct continue to be the core values of Plutus Capital.
It’s been almost ten years since I started my journey. Of course, all businesses see their lows; I had my share too. But Charlie Munger has always guided me; it is not about being smart; it is about not being stupid. Fortunately, I avoided stupidities and focused on a pull-based model than a push-based model. This, on its own, has led to tremendous growth in assets in my private advisory.
Howard Marks, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Seth Klarman, and many others have guided me. Therefore, I am not influenced by market fads. Instead, I look at businesses and relationships that are long-lasting and durable. Cash flow makes a business durable, and integrity makes relationships durable.
Investment in securities market are subject to market risks. Read all the related documents carefully before investing.
The securities quoted are for illustration only and are not recommendatory.
Registration granted by SEBI, membership of BASL (in case of IAs) and certification from NISM in no way guarantee performance of the intermediary or provide any assurance of returns to investors.
Details of the advisor
Advisor: Ankur Kapur
SEBI RIA No.: INA100001406
BASL Member ID: BASL1337