In an interview with Pooja Chopra Goel of Myiris.com, Jitendra Solanki, JS Financial Advisors says, ``Financial planning is not just for the wealthy. It should be a fundamental part of everyone`s education.``
Can you tell us about `JS Financial Advisors` and its mission & services? What services do you offer?
JS Financial Advisors is a fee based financial planning organization which focuses on comprehensive financial planning and serves clients across the globe. Our main objective is not only to create financial plan for our clients but also make them understand how to utilize their resources in the best way and make prudent strategies for managing their financial well-being. We receive lot of queries on a particular element of financial planning. For such customers we offer investment planning, retirement planning, insurance planning, portfolio management (mutual funds) and consulting.
Who should think about getting a financial advisor? Is it just for the wealthy or can anyone use the services of a financial advisor?
Financial planning is not just for the wealthy. It should be a fundamental part of everyone`s education. How it is delivered, and what it entails, will be determined to a certain extent by cost. Don`t let the notion that financial planning is for the rich persist. Financial planning is for everyone. Any individual who don`t have time, know-how or desire to do create their own financial plan should think of getting a financial advisor. Even if you do most of the work yourself, checking with a planner will make sure your plan will work as you intended.
How does a financial advisor make his living and is there any conflict of interest between him and his customers?
Financial advisors work on different business models now. Initially, everything was centric to product commissions and hence there was a huge conflict of interest between them and their customers. There was lot of mis-selling and clients were offered a single product for all their needs. But now with financial planning services, the advisors are able to offer their customers the unbiased advice and goal based planning. Some advisors offer only fee based financial planning while some have fee plus commission based business model. Thus, some planners simply do the planning and leave the implementation to the customers while others take an active role in implementing the plan.
What is one misconception about financial advisors you would want to refute?
There has been a lot of confusion in the mind of investors on services offered by financial advisors. One misconception which has been very prolonged is that financial advisors offering financial planning services are restricted to investment advice. The reason for this misconception is lack of education on financial planning and misuse of ``financial planner`` by different categories of agents. Due to this, individuals relate all financial planning decisions to investments and so we also receive lot of queries asking for advice on only investment products. To remove these misconceptions we focus on educating all our clients. This we achieve by comprehensive financial planning. a comprehensive financial plan gives you a blueprint or a detailed analysis of your current financial situation which helps you in designing strategies to strengthen it and implement it in align with all your future goals. Without a proper financial plan, we always make adhoc decisions regarding all our future goals and fall short of meeting them.
With the internet and 24-hour business channels, is the average investor being overloaded with information?
Internet has certainly changed the way an average investor looks at personal finance decisions. Today before making any decisions investor does lot of research. Now customers are buying financial products online. But certain decisions should be left to the professionals. There are online portals which have started offering financial plan creation to customers online. This way they propose customers to design their financial plan themselves. I personally believe creating a financial plan is not a technology but a decision regarding meeting your goals of life. To create a financial plan you need to know certain elements of financial markets and should have the expertise to calculate and monitor all complex elements of financial planning. This is where a professional like certified financial planner plays an important role in helping you in making your financial decisions. Thus, internet should be used as a source of gathering information on personal finance and doing transactions. Complex decisions should be taken only after consulting a certified financial planner.
Has the no-load regime affected your business?
No load regime has affected our business positively. Our business model has been fee based right from the start and focus has been towards achieving client`s goals and objectives. The no load decision was a good step taken by the SEBI and has made investors think of paying a fee to their advisors. Once an investor decides to pay for advisor, the next step for them is to search for quality advisors. This search has increased contribution to our business.
How many fund houses do you deal with? In which fund house do you have the maximum AUM ((in terms of percentage)? Tell us your favorite all-time MF schemes and fund managers.
Our business is not AUM based. We deal with all fund houses and our focus has been client needs. We have a proper research based selection criteria. If any particular scheme fits in our criteria we recommend to our clients. But if any scheme, which might be the top performing in a particular year, does not fulfill our criteria, we do not recommend. Thus, there is no favorite MF scheme for us.
What`s been the most common reaction from your clients as the stock market has gone on a wild ride? Is there one particular type of investment you recommend that can weather these conditions?
Our clients have been taking their investment decisions only after considering their future goals and so the stock market volatility hasn`t affected them. We have been receiving queries from people who have been making adhoc decisions and are not sure what to do. There is no single investment which can be recommended to investors in any market scenario. Any investments you do have to align with your needs and goals in life and have to be reviewed regularly. Thus, if you do an SIP in equity MF, the goal should be long term and have to be reviewed regularly. If you do a long term investments in equities you will be least bothered about stock market volatility.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Education is most important for making all your financial decisions. If you are not aware about your financial goals you are bound to be misled. I am a member of the Financial Planners` Guild, India (FPGI), an association of practicing financial planners to promote professional excellence and ensure high quality practice standards. Our sole objective is financial literacy. Through workshops, seminars, group gatherings we spread awareness on financial planning.