Sharadd C. Mohan, Chief Executive, Calibre Investments in an exclusive interview with Yogita Khatri of Myiris.com explores the business of financial planning and how investors can use it to their advantage.
Mr. Sharadd C. Mohan is an Independent Financial Advisor, with around 7 years` experience in the Mutual Funds industry. Before establishing his own practice over two years ago, he was the National Sales Manager at PNB Principal Financial Planners Pvt. Ltd. He has over 15 years` experience in the Financial Services industry, in both the Assets and the Liabilities segments of the business. Mr. Mohan is a Certified Financial PlannerCM, and holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Management.
> What led you to choose financial planning as a career?
Honestly, it was not a planned move. When I took up my first job in this industry, I was not too sure of what I was getting into. However, once I got into it, I found I really liked my role and the fact that I was responsible for someone`s financial future. That was nearly 8 years ago, and I`ve enjoyed every moment since then.
> What is your take on current market situation? How do you see the market going forward?
I have always considered the stock markets the world over to be somewhat melodramatic -they tend to over-react to events (and sometimes to non-events!). However, the long-term direction of the markets is governed by fundamental factors like corporate and economic growth. Therefore, I am confident that the Indian stock markets will show healthy growth over the next 2-3 years.
> What services do you offer? How long have you been advising clients?
My services include Financial Planning and Wealth Management. While I have been practicing independently for a little over 2 years now, I have spent around 8 years in this industry.
> Briefly explain the investment / selling scenario of the financial products you offer in current market?
I do not believe in selling anything to anyone; I am an advisor, and my job is to advise my clients. I believe the sale is a by-product of the advice given, and at times is not directly correlated to any particular advice. A sale happens when a client realizes the need for a particular product or service. My advice is based on various parameters like each investor`s current financial situation, financial goals, risk appetite, etc., and covers most contemporary financial products like mutual funds, insurance, deposits and equity, among others. My services can be categorized into advisory, implementation and monitoring the portfolio.
> How important is an independent financial advisor (IFA) in the total sales process?
I believe an IFA`s role is far more than merely being a link between the investor and the manufacturer. He functions as the investor`s financial guide, in terms of both the current investments as well as the long-term financial future. I say this not because I am an IFA myself; rather, I am an independent advisor because I believe in this. And I am pleased to say that most investors today also understand and acknowledge this fact.
> In today`s fluctuating market conditions, what`s been the most common reaction from your clients?
Over the years that I have spent in this industry, I have noticed the investors` approach to the stock markets change for the better. In my initial days, when the markets would become weak or volatile, they would mostly panic and want to pull out their investments. Today, however, the response, by and large, is quite positive, as most investors see volatility as both an opportunity and an integral part of investing. Also, most investors have genuinely learned to see their portfolio from a longer-term perspective, which augurs well for them and the markets.
> How many clients do you currently manage?
My client base is quite healthy, diverse and growing. Honestly, I have never really got down to counting the exact number of investors I manage. I believe more in the quality of the relationship, than the quantity. This is why I believe that every investor out there is not my prospective client.
> What do you think influences investor confidence most? Do you think investor confidence is improving?
I think the single most important factor has been the strong performance of the markets since early 2003, during which period a lot of investors saw returns which were beyond their expectations, and for a prolonged period of time. This factor, combined with investor education and awareness measures undertaken by the AMCs and advisors, have gone a long way in changing the investors` mindset and therefore boosting investor confidence over the years.