I was once sitting in a big bank and talking to a Training executive. This was about 8/9 years ago at least I think. Even then, I had 25 years experience at least…and this executive must have had about 2, ok to make it poetic make it 2.5 years. He was telling me what the bank wants to do in the training and what topics had to be covered.
Just then a senior executive of the bank passed by and saw our body language. He realized that the executive was speaking and I was perhaps disinterested with a “what new can you tell me” kinda look (I am not sure, I have not yet spoken to him about it!!).
He suddenly stopped – after going past – and came back. He was this executive’s super boss. He then called the training head and asked for somebody senior to be sent. When she came he told the 2 of them “Subra has been training for a pretty long time..I should know I did my Amfi training under him…for Franklin Templeton..blah blah..”. He then said “When you call for a meeting with Subra please bring your note books and ASK him…what should be the topics covered”.
I am not saying this for my ego – this is too old an incident anyway. When clients use my services it makes more sense for them to give me the background and then ask me “what is to be done” rather than a “we want to do this”. That is the use of experience.
Now come to individuals seeking advice. I met a senior executive last month (very very heavy request from an existing banker, or the meeting would not have happened). He and his brother – amazing that one had 90% of his net worth in his ESOP and the other brother had 70% of his net worth in Real Estate. Both the wives had given up their job, so there was no seperate portfolio for them.
I got into my spiel on asset allocation, but I am not sure whether it had any impact. My views on asset allocation are very different from what one reads in text books, so they may have found it odd, but these people were too strait jacketed and had no clue on asset allocation. I suggested equity funds, and sip from the sale of ESOP and some RE from each of their portfolios. I expected a push back, but what i got was a shove back!
The elder brother felt that his bank was about to become the greatest in the world, and I was denying him the pleasure of becoming the richest man in the world. Well, the younger brother felt that this was a bad time to be selling in Hinjewadi, Ahmedabad and Noida because the RE boom was just round the corner.
At some stage you give up. When there is no money involved, and it is just a casual meeting, it is even more difficult to concentrate on people you can’t really help. So a perfectly timed phone from a friend interrupted the meeting and I had to leave. I then realized that I had seen people from Satyam, and a couple of other equally disastarous companies being wiped out. I even had a friend who had listened to me and sold his ESOP on the 7th of every month to do a SIP. His company is doing well, but his portfolio of SIP in 3 funds has done just as well. He has no regrets, and he is thrilled. This happened in 2004…now go guess!! He used to get say 90,000 shares a year…and he would be selling 300 shares a month – literally NOTHING, but his net worth other than his ESOP is now Rs. 25 crores – and that is MORE than enough for him to retire even if his huge ESOP were to go to zero.
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