In an interview with Yogita Khatri of Myiris.com, Satinder Sikri, Founder & Chief Financial Planner, Your Money Your Way, says, ``Be more smart and intelligent when dealing with your money. After all, it`s Your Money. So make sure it`s Your Way as well.``
Satinder Sikri is the founder of and the chief financial planner at Your Money Your Way. He has over 10 years of experience of providing tailor-made personalized solutions designed to meet their individual needs and goals in travel industry. He strongly believes that if it`s your money it has to be your way. Satinder believes in providing `simple solutions` to his clients which are `easy to understand` and `easy to follow` and are `result oriented` for their complicated and difficult financial challenges and needs. Satinder is particularly passionate helping private sector/corporate employees and young businessmen and entrepreneurs. And as he always says: ``Do not delay your financial destiny. Always remember, the saddest words in life are `I could have`.``
> Could you tell us about `Your Money Your Way`? What services do you offer?
`Your Money your Way` is primarily a fee based financial planning and coaching firm. So our advice and investment recommendations are based on our clients` needs, goals and suitability rather than motivated by the purpose of earning higher commissions. Our core belief is that if it is your money then it has to be your way. And that`s why the name `Your Money Your Way`.
We offer tailor made solutions to our clients which include `comprehensive financial planning` services as well as single need or goal based solutions like `self-managed retirement plans`, protection & insurance planning, investment planning and advise, mutual fund investments, and `workplace financial planning` services especially for private sector employees in corporate sector.
> What led you to choose a career in financial planning? How long have you been in this profession? Tell us about your experience.
I was a travel professional for over ten years before getting into financial planning field this year itself. But personal finance subject always interested me and so I used to read books, magazines, articles in newspaper and on the internet. It helped me a lot to get the knowledge and made it easy for me to clear CFP certification in one go within six months after I joined and understand the issues and challenges with regard to personal finance. The most important reason that motivated me to become independent financial planner was I saw people being mis-sold wrong financial products for ulterior motives of higher commissions. Also I saw people mismanaging their hard earned money as they did not know what to do with it when it came to investing for meeting their futures needs. So I felt there is a need for the personalized tailor-made financial solutions and objective advice which is not based on commissions but as per the needs and requirements of an individual.
My experience has been very very encouraging and motivating. When you talk to people and make them understand the cost of wrong investments as well as the importance of financial planning, they take it quite positively and I often hear remarks like ``that`s what I have been looking for``. People appreciate the objectivity of the advice as they understand it is highly personalized meant to serve their purpose and not motivated by commissions.
> Coaching, training & advising people on money & personal finance are primary thrust areas within your firm. In what way do you make investors more aware of the need to prudently manage their personal finances?
We tell our clients that most of the things that happen in one`s life they have financial implication. Also we know that life is full of surprises sometime nasty ones. So are you ready to handle these. So that makes them understand the importance of financial planning and doing something today to make their financial tomorrow secure.
And first and foremost advice that we give to our clients is `Protect what you have`. That is very very important. We advise them to have emergency fund in place, have proper health insurance cover and then life insurance only if it is required. Then we advise them not to invest in anything without understanding the associated risk like in stocks. We also advise them to cut any frivolous expenses and save more and invest wisely. Our value addition is the simplicity to their complicated financial challenges. For example we chart out a very simple and easy to follow `money management system` for them which provide them a clear cut road map for their expenses and savings.
> How did you build your client base? What is the profile of clients that you mange today?
To start with, I have my personal contacts and friends as my clients. When these people saw the value of my financial planning and its long lasting impact on their financial life, they readily recommend our services within their circle. So `word-of-mouth` marketing is very very important in our business. Beside we approach corporates and show them how our financial planning services can help their employees become better employees and more productive as financial stress in today`s world is one of the most important challenges in everybody`s life and it takes toll in our other areas of life both personal as well as professional.
> What`s that one quality most essential to succeed?
If you ask me one single most quality to succeed in this business or any other, I will say you have to be client centric. Your sole purpose must be to serve your client`s needs with utmost integrity and transparency. Unless and until your client does not trust you and you do not maintain that trust, you will not go very far.
> Please share with us your view on the several changes that advisors are facing in recent times.
They say the only thing that is constant is change. So changes that are happening here in India in financial service industry most are, in fact, in favor of personal financial planning industry and practitioners like ban on entry loads on mutual funds, changes in ULIP structures and so on. This will help in the growth of fee based advisory and weed out the unscrupulous elements from the industry who work only with intention of earning higher commissions without having any regard for the client`s well being and his/her hard earned money. Other positive change that I see is the change in the attitude of people. They appreciate the value of having a personal financial advisor as the services are becoming quite affordable even for small investors. As we have clients who have surplus money of only in the range of 1 lac only.
> For equity inclined clients who wish to make an incremental allocation to equities now, what would you advice them to do - hold on or go into large caps or small and mid caps?
First and foremost, we do not advise direct exposure to equities to most of our clients unless and until it suits their risk profile and their knowledge, experience and comfort level with equities. However, if somebody still wants to take exposure to equities I will suggest to go for quality large-cap stocks first and then as and when you become more experienced and have certain set of skills, then they may go for mid an small cap companies. And if we have to make the portfolio then it is mostly a mix bag of large and mid caps.
> Any regulatory changes you would want to suggest?
As far as regulations are concerned, I will definitely prefer to see more stringent rules for anybody wanted to become financial advisor so that only serious, sincere and qualified people get into this industry that care about their clients and their hard earned money. One specific change I will like to see, may be, a CFP practitioner should be allowed to sell insurance products of any of the insurance company rather than being restricted to only one company as is the case now.
> Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I will like to say to your esteemed readers to be more cautious and smart when they make any financial decision or investment as chances are it will have a long lasting impact on your financial health. Understand thoroughly the pros and cons of the investment. Whether it suits your risk profile, whether it will be able to meet your future financial needs and goals and so on. Choose the right investments. Be more smart and intelligent when dealing with your money. After all, it`s Your Money. So make sure it`s Your Way as well.