In an interview with Shweta Dhoka of Myiris.com, Pankaaj Maalde, head - financial planning, ApnaPaisa, says, ''We strongly recommend investors to prepare a financial plan for proper investment of their surplus income to achieve each of their goal.''
> How did you start as a Financial Planner? What services do you offer?
I started as Financial Planner after passing my CFP certification in the month of Sept. 2009. I joined Sykes and Ray Financial Planners soon after that as a Financial Planner and learnt to make detailed comprehensive financial plan. In Nov. 2011, I got the opportunity to work with ApnaPaisa as Head of Financial Planning.
We offer unbiased fee based comprehensive financial planning service to individual clients.
> What is the AUM that you have now? How has the last year been in terms of client acquisitions and AUM growth?
We at ApnaPaisa do not sell any product and provide only fee based advisory service. Last calendar year was good and we added new 50 fee based clients in our list. Most of them have come through financial planning workshop organised by ApnaPaisa.
> How would you differentiate your services from that of competitors? Do you think there is enough potential in this wealth management market to sustain as many players?
As already told, we are not into selling game nor we offer wealth management service. We help our client's finalising and prioritising their financial goals and on the basis of available resources we give them a road map to achieve the financial freedom. We differ from others as our business module is ''Client First''. We give utmost priority to need of the client and never sell them any product. We recommend them the best product available as per their individual need and they are free to buy the recommended product from open market. Most of the products we ask our clients to buy are now available online. We have also started recommending Direct Plans in the mutual fund as it reduces the cost of investor by 0.50% to 0.65% p.a. We have in house research team for all the financial products available in the market including loans, insurance and mutual fund. We keep ourselves updated with all the changes that come in the financial market.
There is great potential in the business as people have started realising the need of financial planning in their life. People are now ready to pay the fees for the advice. After the SEBIs move to roll out advisory module, we will see more awareness coming in the market.
> Gold is in a bull market for ten years now. So an increasing number of people say it is in a bubble. Your comment?
We do not believe in timing any asset class. It is true that in last five years gold has outperformed all other asset class, but before investing in any asset class, we first set asset allocation depending on the goal and time horizon available for investment. We recommend maximum 10 to 15% investment in Gold unless there is specific need of the client to gift the gold to their children's on their marriage.
> How does the global investment environment look year ahead? Your advice to retail investors?
We have seen many bad things happening in last few years across the globe and it may continue for some more time. We are more worried about the Indian economy as we do not advise our clients to invest in global funds. India is still a preferred destination for investment and we would prefer our clients to invest in Indian funds. We always advise our clients not to go overboard on any single asset class and also stay away from investing in thematic or sectoral funds.
We strongly recommend to prepare a financial plan which will give retail investors a road map to invest their surplus income and also it will give you proper asset allocation for each of their goal.
We also strongly advise our clients not to invest in insurance and direct equity.
> People are worried about India's growth story, about inflation, high deficits, FDI flows etc. What is your market outlook for 2013?
It is true that GDP growth for 2012-13 is likely to be below 6%. High Budgetary deficit, current account deficit and inflation are the major challenges for the Government, but things are now improving. Recently Government has also taken many steps to contain the deficit including hike in diesel price and CNG prices. Government has also increased import duty on gold from 4% to 6%. Now the diesel price is partly decontrolled and diesel price is likely to increase by 50 paisa every month. Rupee has appreciated recently against dollar but the crude oil price on the other hand is near to touch 100 USD per barrel again. In this scenario containing deficit will be a major challenge for the government. RBI has also taken cautious stand on budgetary deficit and has reduced rapo rate by 0.25% only in last month.
Now all eyes are on disinvestment plan and on next general budget. Stock market has reacted positively to all the measures taken till date but want more doses to continue the rally. We believe that Finance minister will continue to take hard steps to accelerate growth of the economy. In the given scenario we are positive on the market and believe that we will see new high in the year 2013.
> Is there something that you would like to share with us?
Financial products available in the market are so complex that it is not easy to understand the final outcome from the investment made. There are hidden and irrecoverable charges loaded in the product which is difficult to identify and understand and these charges are likely to reduce the overall return expected from the particular investment. We have also seen lots of misselling happening resulting in financial loss. Agents push the product most in which they earn higher commission.
It is high time to take fee based service so that to separate advice and execution. This will help a lot to retail investors.