I was 17 years old when I did my first trade. In fact about 3 months before my 17th birthday. My broker was just starting out in his professional life too – he was 22 years of age. As expected I started with doing short trades and some long trades too. My dad’s portfolio of MNC was already in place – 1977 thanks to George Fernandes.
Ok when I started my Articles in 1982 I was convinced that I should do CA and life ambition was to become Vee Pee at Larsen&Toubro, Indian Hotels, or Crompton Greaves.
I was impressed by well Qualified – typical CA rank holders, IIT, IIM,…fast talking bankers, doing big deals.
Suddenly when I started meeting them, my respect for them started vanishing (I am so happy that I did not take up a job with some such people). One of the smartest and the brightest of them wanted me to be in his ‘A’ team. Luck or providence I know not, but I was not a part of his ‘Retail’ network. I would have been in jail for sure. No clue why I was not a part of his team. God’s blessings. I almost got into the ‘A’ team with another such IIM …and again luck I was out as fast as I was in. I never had any respect (still do not) and I guess he has a net worth at least 10 times mine, if not more. Maybe 20 times more. However, that does not change my views about the people I met along the journey.
I remember being associated – at a distance with a software company. It got listed and got into ‘A’ group. I missed the CFO post. One promoter went to jail, the other went to the US. His relative was the COO who handled finance too. He too went to the US. I escaped.
As time went by one man wanted me to raise money for him. Had zero conviction in his products and team, luckily did not raise money for him. Luck. Sheer luck. Did not even attempt raising money for his company.
I have far, far more respect for some of the Gujjus I know who do their own business. Yes they cannot speak English the way some of the over educated guys can (but their children do), they cannot write a 4 page note on Corporate Governance or ethics. However, they will never cheat a client.
Let me tell you a story…One man with about Rs. 1 crore invested in shares – advised by this friend of mine. Then the market fell. Portfolio fell to Rs. 65 lakhs, and that man died. His young (54 years old) widow panicked and came to this friend of mine. He said ‘portfolio is great, but I can understand your mindset – I will give you 2 options – give it to me at Rs. 1 crore (your cost) or keep it, it will grow. This was about 9 years ago. She said I have other income…but was scared. He said ‘do not worry’ the Rs. 1 crore offer is a standing offer, exercise it anytime – wholly or partially, but relax. The portfolio is now worth Rs. 4.8 crores. I do not know any of my ’employee’ friends or ‘professionals’ ever doing this.
I was told on day 1 of my doing training for CA that advise should never, ever be given free. I still do give free advice. On phone, on email, on my blog, to people whom I know, to people whom I do not know,….and after giving and looking foolish I make a resolve that I will not do it again. Then I repeat it.
Why am I against giving free advice? simply because when it comes to investing there are no poor people. They have money to invest, they can pay fees. If they cannot, they should not be investing. Recently I heard of a person who has bought completely wrong products after asking me what to do. Even worse, they told somebody that I told them what to buy. Lol.
I do not do work with companies which have hinted ‘gifts’. It is amazing how many such BFSI organisations exist. Thanks to financial freedom, I can choose not to work with such companies. Sickos all – but they do exist.
I have not lost any money to bad debt in training – I have collected all the money that I have raised a bill for. Except one AMC which did not pay 2 of us – the reasons are too specific and any more details and you will know which fund house we are talking about. Sicko.
I only hope people who read my blog stop asking for free advice. Advice regarding anything and everything.
Have I changed? Yes.
In 2016 I said ‘no’ to more clients and ‘yes’ to much lesser potential clients. No, not arrogance – just finding that some clients are just not worth it.
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