The future of any business is more clearly visible to the people who are not in it already. When I meet people who are in the advisory practice – fee only or even the distribution model, all I hear is angst. However, when I meet doctors (fee only, always) and talk to them you realize that the huge, untapped potential is far, far bigger than what has been tapped.
How big is the size of the market? Remember there are more than a Million people paying more than Rs. Ten Million as Income tax. Then look at the number of professionals who are not necessarily good in managing their money – Chartered Accountants, doctors, Architects, – the list is endless. Now imagine how many have been tapped. Less than one percent, if you ask me. Even assuming some of them are investing, have they got the benefit of a financial planner? I have my doubt.
With banks no longer wanting to sell mutual funds you can be sure that a huge number of clients who were earlier buying mutual funds and endowment plans will suddenly be under -served.
This is on the potential clients. Now let us see if we have enough certified planers who are capable of doing personal financial planning. The answer is no. Maybe Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi may have enough planners, but on a whole this country just does not have enough supply of planners. That means that the existing planners will be stretched. The question to ask is “will we have enough planners to service them”. The more successful planners and distributors are saying “no” more often than “yes” to potential clients. So why even wonder whether there is enough “work”. Is there enough work for a particular fee that I wish to charge – that is the only question to be answered. The answer is a resounding yes.
A lot of work has to be done by the industry bodies like COFP and the media in awakening people to the need for financial planners. Imagine running a campaign saying “do you realize you are losing Rs. 8000 per week as your Rs. 73,00,000 sleeps in the savings account”? Or “If you died tonight what will your family do”. Just creating awareness of what is missing in people’s life – like “Mutual fund sahi hai” campaign – can dramatically increase the size of the pie. Surely, the practising FP has to do a lot of micro managing on his own – but trying to run a campaign (with some mutual fund?) could really help the industry go places. Whenever you think of demand remember that we have a population of 100 crores which can afford to use a financial planner. Now compare it to how many financial planners are willing to stretch to increase the size of the pie. You have an answer clearly. The numerator, my dear friend is far too huge for you to even ask “what is the future of the advisory business”. It is huge. If you are not doubling your clientele every year, it is because either you are not investing enough in your back office, or you do not wish to grow. There is enough demand, just not enough supply at the right time, right place. Go, create it.
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