How technology has revitalized the financial planning market in IndiaLimesh Parekh
The priorities of urban India have changed. Until a decade ago, family essentials ranked number one. Today, personal aspirations have taken centre stage.
With rising income levels, Indians are increasingly becoming receptive to financial planning. An indication of this is the rapid growth of Assets under Management (AUM) in the Mutual Fund (MF) industry. As of April 2018, AUM in the MF industry stood at Rs 23.26 lakh crore (US$360.90 billion).
Obviously, with this comes a rise in expectations. To match (or exceed) them, stock brokers and financial consultants have turned to technology, which has served them brilliantly. Technology, in the form of Client Relationship Management (CRM) tools, hasn’t just helped financial institutions store client details, it has also empowered them to provide high-value services to clients. Here are five ways in which financial consultants are leveraging technology.
The first CRM versions were mainly data storage tools. They stored information like portfolio size, personal details, and services purchased.
But modern CRM tools have evolved by leaps and bounds. These tools present planners with opportunity grids. They display services that were sold and pitched to clients. For example, planners can decide whether to upsell insurance and mediclaim to a client who purchased a mutual fund. Modern CRM tools maintain detailed records of services pitched to clients, bought or denied by them, and so on. Thus, companies increase their revenue and reduce marketing costs at the same time.
Data is like gold for financial planners (no pun intended). They use it to provide profound value to their clients. CRM tools highlight trends and patterns. Financial planners can use these to derive combinations based on metrics like client age, AUM, and risk capacity, and customize their offerings to match client goals. This creates tremendous value for investors while fueling innovation in the industry.
Until recently, one of the most arduous tasks for financial planners was keeping track of the customer onboarding process – a non-revenue generating yet critical activity. Technology has relieved planners from this task. It has enabled financial companies to automate this process. Here are two ways in which financial institutions use CRM tools:
Scheduling automated messages
When a new client joins, the financial institution sends him information. These can range from documents of investments to value-adds like newsletters, market trends, annual performance reports, and so on. Financial planners can automate sending these messages on specific dates or at specific intervals to their clients through email and SMS.
Going a step further, you can even add WhatsApp to your CRM tool for customer convenience. Institutes now send predesigned messages to their clients through the immensely popular WhatsApp platform. The verdict is unanimous – this feature is a huge hit.
Sending automated reminders
Most businesses lose clients because they forget to follow up for renewals. This is another non-revenue generating yet critical activity.
A CRM tool can take this burden off planners’ shoulders too. They now simply enter the renewal date in the CRM. When the due date approaches, an automated message goes out to the client and the planner, who take it forward from there.
Even with technology, the human element still remains the most critical aspect across industries. The financial sector is no different.
If anything, clients expect their consultants to be much more than just a portfolio manager. A customer mentioned to me that many of his clients expect him to be the best financial planner, a confidant, a 3 AM friend, and life coach, all rolled in one. (Yes, it’s a tough job.)
The larger the client’s AUM, the more significant he is for the institution. Hence, it’s important for planners to meet them accordingly. For instance, a financial planner will meet a client with a corpus of Rs 5 crores once every quarter. On the other hand, he might meet a client with a Rs 10 lakh corpus just once a year.
CRM tools notify planners when a meeting with each client is due. These meetings prove reassuring, and also present planners with the opportunity to generate business in the form of referrals.
Technology has reduced the dependency on human beings and streamlined the financial industry. It has made institutions function smoother and faster, and make better decisions.
Artificial Intelligence will further usher progress in this field. But for now, technological advancements have eased life for financial planners and clients alike. They promise to bring in more innovation in times to come.
Limesh Parekh is CEO of Enjay IT Solutions.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)