2020 would be a year that would not be easily forgotten by anyone. The year would be known for the pandemic – Covid 19 which spread all over the World. Enough has been written about it in the media, so I will not focus on it. In Jun 2020, I did read a blog on the financial impact which had happened due to the job losses. I had mentioned the strategies which need to be adopted if anticipating a job loss and what should be done before and after. If you have not read this blog on anticipating job losses, then I do recommend that you read it.
The year 2020 was a record business year for me wherein I had maximum investments and new clients’ acquisitions. One of my good decisions, when I ventured into this business was to do only online transactions and this came in as a big saviour. During the lockdown, the Registrar & Transfer Agents (RTAs) were closed and therefore paper-based transactions were not accepted, though the markets remained open. There was absolutely zero impact for my clients and it was business as usual. I could continue to do the purchases, redemptions, and SIPs, as seamlessly as before.
During the lockdown, since people were confined to home, they were not spending as much as they did earlier, which meant more savings. Also, the call I had given to invest more money in equities in lumpsum in March and April 2020 when markets had a record fall was taken positively. The money came in from various sources as it was a “Discount Sale” happening in markets. After that, we all know there was a strong recovery and all past losses were erased. Those who came forward to invest during that time, are sitting on very high returns, at this point in time. Also, I am extremely happy to inform you that in my last four years of existence in this profession, I have not made a single call to any unknown prospect. I am honoured to get references from my existing clientele base which helps me in increasing the business even further. The other source of clientele has been when people reach out to me after finding my social media posts on personal finance. What gives me immense satisfaction is that the fact that I have become a catalyst in helping people achieve their financial goals.
Speaking on the immense satisfaction, I also did a self-introspection this year to understand the non-professional benefits of joining this industry. That is of developing long-term relationships with my clients. I keep getting approached even on non-financial matters for my opinion, like some career tips or other personal matters. Or it is going for a day trip with one of my clients who is now one of my best friends and we talk for hours together. Or advising people when they are venturing into an entrepreneurial role. Or sending my son alone to a new country and staying at my client’s place when he had to attend an educational institute interview. The list goes on and on… This has given me a lot of satisfaction which goes much beyond the transactional business of managing someone’s money.
The lockdown turned out to be a perfect time also for self-evaluation, assessing what is working well and what is not working and then make the adjustment accordingly and fine-tune the business strategy. There was a huge influx of Webinars during this time and first of all, had to decide which webinars would add value and which ones would not be an effective utilisation of time. Some webinars brought forth hard realities and truths and were immensely useful. There was a major regulator change by SEBI this year, which was being discussed for many years but after various discussion papers, it was implemented. I had seen it coming and eventually getting implemented. So, I had prepared well for it and did not get so much impacted by the same. There was a lot of negativity in some discussions and had taken a conscious call to focus on positives and move on.
One major decision I had taken during the lockdown was to increase my awareness of digital marketing. I had undertaken quite a few courses to get knowledgeable. I decided to have a focused and structured presence in social media on various platforms. I also launched my YouTube channel on my birthday in June. After the initial few recordings of nervousness etc, my confidence is improving and the channel is now slowly getting traction and attention. But still, a long way to go. These are short videos and snippets wherein I focus on one topic every time in these sessions. Do subscribe to my channel, if you have not done already.
This decision was driven by two factors:
I have been having very interesting and useful affiliations. I have been managing mutual funds and life insurance anyway myself from the beginning. I added a few like loans, immigration consulting, global investing, old investments retrieval, and many more. Some more are being explored if I think those will add more value to my clients. You can know about Our Services and download the brochure and services documents at this link.
There was also a failed partnership of direct equity investing during this year. Some people were asking for it and I got myself empanelled with a reputed broking house. However, soon during the onboarding, I realised that it would need a lot of time and commitment. This would have meant that I would have compromised on providing my undivided attention to my core activities of incidental advice for my recommended investments and therefore, decided to exit from it. Just gathered the learning from it and moved on.
I think the future for investments in India is even brighter and this is just the beginning of what we are seeing if the horizon is a longer time frame. Many path-breaking initiatives were taken in the past few years which will see their implementation and the benefits thereof soon. Of course, we have a risk of another round of pandemic which can spoil the party, therefore still we need to approach cautiously through the SIP and STP route. I am very positive that the next decade of Growth would belong to India and few other countries. Therefore, the investments need to be positioned accordingly to take advantage of the same. Equity investments have always delivered if we keep a longer time frame. It is important to spend time in the market and not try to time the market.
Until next year, then when I complete my 5 years at Financial Radiance.