Announcement of nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 was like a doomsday announcement for mutual funds financial advisors. Sensex dropped 30% within days necessitating portfolio reallocations on one hand and meeting demands of redemptions and fresh purchase on another. Financial advisors were also struggling to execute transactions as all mutual funds and RTAs (CAMS and Karvy) announced shut down of their branches.
On the other hand, Abhimanyu Nehra, a Noida-based advisor, was able to continuously engage with his clients, give proper direction and execute on portfolio decisions seamlessly. This was possible due to his association with Nivesh.com, a digital-first investment platform for financial advisors. Nivesh.com, a startup empowering financial advisors with digital tools, has been recently recognized for its inclusion in WEALTHTECH100 for 2020, a list of top 100 most innovative tech companies globally for solving a significant industry problem.
Nehra is not alone. He joins scores of advisors on Nivesh.com platform who have been able to successfully navigate the lockdown period with the ability to keep communicating with their clients, provide guidance, initiate new investments, and even increase their customer base – all from the comfort of their living rooms. In fact, the doomsday scenario turned into a boon as customers had more time to listen to financial advisors and were happy to spend time in looking at new investment opportunities.
Interestingly, the lockdown has prompted financial advisors to review their modus operandi — there is a clear and distinct shift from an offline ecosystem to a purely digital one. And the simplest way to do this is by adopting a contemporary technology-driven platform like Nivesh that covers the end-to-end needs to the advisor. This manifested in a 40% increase in interest and adoption of the Nivesh platform and manifold increase in transactions during the lockdown period.
The power of the high-touch high-digital experience is seen in the fact that Nivesh already has customers across 600 cities and advisor partners in over 100 cities. Nivesh has advisor partners in remote corners of country like Sundargarh, Orissa and Tinsukia, Assam. Many advisors have merged their existing business with Nivesh to provide a fully digital experience to their customers.
Nivesh believes that traditional models have reached out to only top 3-4% of the population resulting in the current situation of extremely low penetration. Lack of access to the financial products like mutual funds is the root cause of the problem. India’s Mutual Fund to GDP ratio at about 10% is amongst the lowest in the world.
Commenting on the development, Anurag Garg, Founder and CEO, Nivesh.com said, “Our selection in WEALTHTECH100 is a validation of our approach of using Tech to solve the problem of financial inclusion in India. Retail investors have been struggling with the problem of access to safe financial products to park their savings. India is witnessing a structural shift from traditional avenues like bank deposits. We are glad to be part of this transformation. We see COVID-19 as a demonetization moment for the IFA business. This will only accelerate the transformation and help generate employment for countless small businessmen while allowing participation of the retail investors in the financial mainstream in much larger numbers.”
After successfully establishing its mutual funds business, Nivesh is now looking at adding Life and Health Insurance in this financial year. More products will be added in future. The idea is to enable advisors to cover the entire financial needs of a client and generate further sources of income for themselves.
Nivesh.com is an India centric solution intended to fundamentally transform lives of millions. Most of its target customers know the importance of savings but struggle in terms of maximizing returns on their savings.