In an interview with Pooja Chopra Goel of Myiris.com, Soubhagya Kumar Patra, Director & Co-Founder, Succinct FinTech Services (P) says, ``Be aware when meeting a commission-based advisor as his/her advice may be slanted towards selling in-house products.``
Can you tell us about `Succinct FinTech Services (P)` and its mission & services? What services do you offer?
We at Succinct firmly believe that financial planning is the simple way of giving comprehensive, unbiased advice and should be free from any conflict of interest to help clients meet their financial goals in every stage of life. Succinct`s mission is to provide highest level of personalized service with integrity, help clients achieve their financial goals and realize their dreams for themselves, their families, and their businesses or professions. Succinct aims at delivering services with superior quality and without any biases. We provide fee-based personal financial planning services.
What do you envision for your financial planning services firm future?
The awareness among Indian investors about financial planning is very low as compared to developed countries. But I have no doubts about the fact that Indian financial planning industry is going to experience substantial growth in future; thanks to media, individuals and institutions dedicated to making people understand the value of personal finance. Succinct is committed to provide financial planning services free from any conflict of interest at any time. We believe the best way to fulfill the fiduciary responsibility as a financial advisor is to provide fee-based financial planning services. The growth of our firm is directly proportionate to our clients` growth; (in terms of wealth & financial freedom) which eventually will result in the company`s growth.
When someone approaches a financial advisor for the first time, what are the questions that they should ask?
You can ask following questions before hiring a financial advisor:
> How are you compensated?
> How much experience do you have?
> What are your educational and professional certification qualifications?
> Will you provide me with some client references?
> What services do you offer?
How would you suggest a common investor ensure that their accounts are protected and not invested in dubious instruments?
A common investor is surrounded by various risks such as - market risk, interest rate risk, exchange rate risk and more. But a major risk factor which may affect the actual result of any investment portfolio is the information risk. Having the information (I mean complete information) about the product that you are getting into is most important. Financial literacy is the only panacea to any information risk. We at Succinct make sure all our clients are getting educated about basic financial information through emails, seminars or even one to one meetings. The quarterly review model at Succinct makes sure that the financial plan is updated frequently to accommodate any major unexpected financial event.
There are big changes afoot in the financial advisor market with the move away from commission towards fees. What is your take on the same?
I am glad to be a fee-only Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). Succinct never depended on any type of commission from AMCs. In a fee-only arrangement, there are fewer conflicts of interest and more transparency. Be aware when meeting a commission-based advisor as his/her advice may be slanted towards selling in-house products. Don`t be fooled by the argument that it is cheaper to pay a commission than to work with a fee-based advisor. It`s just not true. It`s your money and you deserve better.
What three books related to personal finance would you recommend every person read?
> The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko
> Your Money or Your Life by Dominguez and Robin
I would also like to recommend personal finance websites & blogs such as JagoInvestor.com & RaagVamdatt.com.
What is your take on current market situation?
The current market situation is a bit staggered. Lower inflation and interest rate structure may help in driving domestic market upward. My advice to retail investors would be to not go for one-time heavy investment in equities. You may rather invest in mutual funds through SIP. Investing via SIPs offer reduced risk exposure to the stock markets as compared to putting money in bulk via funds or stocks. For short term, fixed income securities such as FMPs, bonds and FDs may prove a better option when compared to equities.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
It`s never too early to start building a financial plan. Starting early also establishes a good habit for your long-term financial well being. The younger you start, the more time you have to allow compound interest to work in your favour and hence, the smaller the amount you need to set aside to reach your goal.