Very rarely would a client ask this question, but it is a very important and a tough question. Imagine a prospect asks you this question:
“Why should I hire a financial adviser at all, and why you?”
Do not think of the current period when you are investing. Think 5, 10 or 20 years into the future. Are you sure you will be able to look after your investing? Rules will change, processes will change and I am not convinced that it will change to make things easier. Let me tell you about an aunt’s account in one of the top fund houses in India. Her first account did not have her PAN number. It was then not necessary. So when CAMS or the fund house would issue a statement, her first investment NEVER showed up. However as soon as SEBI introduced a compulsory statement at the end of the year…she got a statement. Her second investment did not have her correct Kyc. The fund house had created multiple folios (completely unnecessary I thought, but who knows). She could not invest in this account as it said “Kyc not updated”. Her latest investment had everything updated. The fund house had created 5 folios for her. Same name, same address, same nominee. After a lot of form filling, threatening, cajoling, etc. now she has a consolidated statement. I think.
Case of another person with direct equity in physical form – what a mess.
So in 20 years your portfolio should look fine, electronically accessible, not lose out any corporate benefit,….and just make sure that you can do all this and YOU are willing to do all this. I AM NOT. It is too damn painful to do and much easier to outsource. I am not sure that many people consider all this. Selecting a scheme for investing is perhaps 20% of an IFAs job.
So now we come to the question of why YOU.
“Because I am updated about all mutual fund schemes, I care about your portfolio, ….” sounds so cliched!
Do all IFAs not give this answer?
So what really sets you apart from the others?
Have you tried this?
I help you learn about investing and in a little time you could talk to me like an equal. Rather, I could lead you to so much of learning that you may start wondering whether you need me. No I will not be rendered useless, but I will help you realize the potential emotional mistakes that you are making. If you do realise quickly it will be my pleasure to tell you that investing is about 80% emotion and 20% logic. If I can even tweak it a little towards 50% each, I would have done a great job.
If I can make you understand why you need an Investment Philosophy Statement and an Investment Diary I would have done my job.
If I can get you to write a 200 word note on every investment that you make, I would have done my job.
If I can convince you that trying hard does not improve returns, I would have done my job.
If I can convince you that you need not jump from branch to branch because you saw a tiger, hey monkey I would have saved your life.
If I can convince you that FnO is not a game, I would have done my job..
Then one day you will want to invest your mother’s money. Your mother’s brother’s money. People you love, but are unable to guide. I will teach you how. Not to make you an adviser but to talk to your family in a far more caring and sensible way.
Or guide your children through the investing process. Not that YOU cannot, but they may listen to me better. It helps.
Then you will want to consolidate all your investment. My trained office assistant could take away the drudgery. I can assure you it is painful. Remember the capital gains calculation on your short term bond fund from which you were doing a STP?
Hey because you get me. I am an individual with 33 years experience in the field of investing. Of this many all years as an investor. A few years as an accountant, some as an investment manager, some as a taxation adviser, as an assistant in a law firm helping people make their will, as a broker, as a journalist, as a venture capital adviser, as an angel investor, as a salesman, as a trainer, as a …..phew.
No. I cannot be replaced by an algorithm. Not by a website. Not by an investor group.
No I am not fungible.
I can assure you, at the end of the journey you would have found me worth every penny. No I cannot really offer you a Moneyback guarantee, but I can make a solid attempt to keep the relationship on till the end of life. My life of course kiddo, you are way to young.
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