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Category: Latest trends

Goal Based Planning goes mainstream. Are you in it?

Goal Based Planning goes mainstream. Are you in it?

For more than a year now, the goal-based planning approach to investing has been steadily gaining traction. Numerous apps have this as a core feature in their offering. E.g. Kuvera, Wealthy, Fisdom, Fundsindia, Goalwise etc. all have goal based planning. The latest entrant in this space Paytm money too has goal planning as an integral part of the application. Print and digital media too has been very vocal about this concept.

It’s clear – Goal based planning has gone mainstream. Expect your clients to tell you or nudge you to offer similar services!

Now, what is it that makes goal based planning tick with the investor community at large? Let’s dig in:

  • Whether you ask them or not, investors are inherently investing with some goals in mind. So, a goal based planning approach is something they can actually relate to.
  • Secondly, goal tracking tools (technology) didn’t exist until 2-3 years back. It is only in the last few years that things have started to fall in place.
  • Goal calculators are different from goal trackers. Lots of websites have goal calculators. You’ve probably relied on an Excel sheet too, to show how much your clients need to save for specific goals. But then the story ends there. It never gets recorded for future reference. While a goal tracker is something that the client can refer to in future too. It tells them whether they are on track or not, whether they need to save more. This nudges them to save more. It’s always a healthy way to upsell. A quick excel calculation or a one off calculator will never be as effective.

But what’s missing in the current apps?

Most of these tools currently are basic in nature when it comes to goal based planning. Main reason is that these are for the DIY (do it yourself audience). So, to be fair, it may not make sense to make it too complex.

But then, it loses its impact. Let me explain – Most of these apps are only about investing in mutual funds. So it allows the investors to link only their mutual fund portfolios. The apps are essentially neglecting a very important portfolio which currently (typically) takes over 90% of the pie. E.g. what about their insurance policies, FDs, stocks, post office schemes, PPF, EPF etc.

For instance, we at IFANOW, allow you to link all assets to goals. This gives a more realistic picture.


Should you offer goal based planning too?

  • Similar service, if offered, 2-3 year back might have had an average response. But with the traction goal based planning is now gaining, it makes perfect sense to have it in your portfolio of service offering
  • Your customers can relate to it. Any individual who has a shortfall and is investing towards reaching a certain corpus (for some specific needs) will be able to relate to the service offering.
  • You no longer need to rely only on excel sheets to offer such service. For instance, at IFANOW, we have built goal planning, tracking and review tools with what if analysis. This helps you quickly do comprehensive planning and also ensure you can use it for ongoing tracking and review.
  • With reducing TER and, as a result, reduction in commissions, it is better to diversify your offerings and start building a parallel offering which can generate revenues. You won’t be successful from day one. But if you persist, probably a year down the line, you will have built a cushion for yourself.
  • It is an essential first step towards building out a fee based practice. At IFANOW, we have seen lots of distributors venture into this service offering. I see, IFAs from tier 2 and tier 3 towns too offering such services. You do not need to do deep cash flow analysis, financial planning etc. Just start with basic goal calculation and linking assets to goal. That in itself can be a great value add to your clients.
  • When your clients understand the concept, it will lead to more sticky assets. You will see lesser redemptions and lesser churn.
  • It helps you shift the focus away from generating highest returns to saving more.

If you are keen to know how you too can provide goal based planning services to your clients via IFANOW, check out this video.


These are early days but the trend seems like it is here to stay. After all, it is fundamentally a robust concept and needs time to become even more nuanced. At IFANOW, we will continue our focus on making goal based planning an even more compelling experience.

Six Steps Of Managing A Fee Based Practice On IFAnow (Reference: SEBI Consultation Paper)

Six Steps Of Managing A Fee Based Practice On IFAnow (Reference: SEBI Consultation Paper)

Yesterday SEBI released a consultation paper on proposed amendments to RIA Regulations. This is a follow-up to earlier consultation paper released in Oct-16 to which SEBI has received numerous comments. Looks like, most of the proposals will go through.

SEBI for one has made it clear that it wants both, RIA and MFD to co exist but with a clear demarcation of the services each can offer. It is now obvious that if you wish to offer value added advisory services, then you have to seriously look at registering as an RIA. MFD on the other hand will have to restrict their offering and deal with disclosure norms.

At IFAnow, we have always been thinking proactively on how the regulations may shape up and we try gearing our product development towards the same. Our goal is to always keep you ahead of the curve. One such module is Billing & Invoicing.

Important to note that the scope of this post is not to answer all questions around the way forward, but rather look at how one of the core challenges of an RIA practice, viz calculating & collecting fee can be handled via technology. For further analysis of SEBI paper, you can read Sadique Neelgund’s post here.

We’ve outlined a six steps process on how you can manage your Fee based practice on IFAnow:

  1. Register as an RIA: This is amply clear. To collect fees, you have to register as an RIA. The right model (individual vs corporate) would depend on your current structure.
  2. Define fee structure: In IFAnow, our Billing & Invoicing module allows you to define your fee structure. Whether you want to charge a fixed fee, variable fee, separate fees for direct and regular plans, one time or recurring, monthly/ quarterly or annually, slab wise or flat, you have all the options.
  3. Add clients: You can add your clients and add all their data on IFAnow. Right from personal profile, risk profile, goals to financial portfolio.
  4. Create Plans: You have an option to generate holistic financial plans from the platform. Whether it is doing goal based planning or provide analysis of cash flow, networth, insurance planning etc. You can do a lot of things. You can simply use the billing module without writing plans too.
  5. Generate Invoices: Having set the fee structure and done the planing, You can create invoices instantly.
  6. Collect fees: You can use our fee collection feature to get the fee auto debited from the client’s bank account. We do this via NACH mandate and a Tri-partite agreement. You can download the same from here and here. We charge a 5% convenience fee.

For further queries reach out to

IFAnow launches Advisory Fee Billing. Here’s everything you want to know about it.

IFAnow launches Advisory Fee Billing. Here’s everything you want to know about it.

Fee based models are now increasingly becoming a hot topic of discussion among IFAs. Not just the RIAs but even non RIAs are seriously looking at fee models.

Why this trend?

  • Clients showing growing acceptance towards fee charging
  • Gradual shift from distribution to advisory services requires advisors to spend more time on quality work thus commanding a fee
  • SEBI increasingly focusing on fee based models

Moreover, clients and prospects are gradually becoming aware about direct plans. In such case, if you have a fee based system in place, you can then offer direct plans too and charge a fee.

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Variable fee

We’ve been watching this space closely and strongly believe that fee based model will have to be looked upon by financial advisors as a serious offering.  Now, there aren’t too many options when it comes to calculating fees and collecting the same. Couple of ones that are currently there charge a bomb and require you to shed your identity by becoming their sub brokers.

We believe this HAD to be solved. We’ve spent last few months building a comprehensive advisory fee billing system. We’ve kept in mind the Indian context while building this out.

Here are some of the key features:

  • Complete flexibility to add your own fee models
  • You decide the fee amounts and charging frequency too. Want to charge a monthly fee? We’ve got you covered
  • Charge AUM linked fee or fixed fee. We take care of average AUM calculation
  • We take care of auto debiting the fee from your client’s accounts too, thus reducing friction
  • Slab based charging. Create your own slabs
  • Option to charge different fees for regular and direct plans
  • Not just MF, you can add multiple asset classes like stocks, FD, insurance products etc.
  • Further customization of fees at a client level

Process Flow:

  • Once you decide to go ahead, we send you a tripartite agreement that you need to sign with your clients. We send you a debit mandate that you need to get signed from the client.
  • Once done, you decide the fee structure you want to charge at a client level. The invoices are automatically created for you.
  • You then intimate us to debit the client’s account. We in turn send an auto debit notification to your client.
  • Next working day, the fees are debited.
  • We then payout the fees back to you.

Important: Please note that you should have an RIA license in place if you want to use this feature.

Questions? Call us on 022 2895 4777 or email @

Our thoughts on the IFA industry and some predictions

Our thoughts on the IFA industry and some predictions


A lot has been written about the flurry of regulatory changes the MF industry has witnessed of late. It all started back in 2009 when I joined the industry. SEBI did the unthinkable back then. Later, it was the introduction of direct plans, RIA regulations, emergence of robo advisors (some will make it big and quite a few are bound to shut down) to name a few. There has been a lot of hue and cry, of course. But if you look back now it all feels like connecting the dots. While some dots are yet to be connected, read – reduction of TER, which is imminent. The picture is clear. Regulator wants the distributor to become advisor. He wants you to stop focusing on commission and start focusing on fees.

Now this has some repercussions. I see the following shift happening in the near future.

Distributors coming together
At the ground level there are already serious discussions happening between distributors looking at joining forces. It may not be easy. How do the costs get divided? How does the work get divided? But it’s a step in the right direction.

Shift to platforms
Distributors, big and small, will move to platforms. The current incumbent platforms are largely “distribution” oriented. They will have to reorient themselves to the growing advisory needs and thus become “advisory” oriented. New age platforms with an “advisory” DNA could pose a challenge to the incumbents. Make no mistake; “distribution” will be a key factor. But the advisors will need new age tools to attract and retain clients. Over period, distributors will become RIAs and let the distribution be handled by the platforms.

The AUM may stop mattering!
Take the case of a distributor “A” having an MF AUM of Rs.100 crores. He manages 100 client families. His 90% income is from MF trail. Now look at another distributor “B” who has an MF AUM of Rs.50 crores. He manages 200 client families. His 60% fee is through MF trail and rest is divided between general insurance, life insurance, stock broking and FDs. Now what if the 100 clients of Mr.A insist on a flat fee and shift to direct plans? This poses a serious threat to the overall topline. But Mr.B is better off because of the larger number of client base and a diversified offering. I feel, the shift will be from – big ticket low volume transactions to small ticket high volume transactions. Distributor will have to make money off a lot of smaller services.

Productizing your services
A good idea to mitigate the trail fee would be to productize your service. Some options could be having a flat fee services like comprehensive financial planning, investment planning, consolidation & tracking of multi asset portfolio. This will require some processes to be set in place. Fee charging, something most distributors have never done, will have to be done, ideally via online payment gateways. The launch of the UPI platform has opened up newer and easier ways to transfer money in a frictionless manner.

Move to fee based
Distributors should start acclimatizing clients to fee based services. The move won’t happen overnight. You will have to start small, may be with a smaller client base and then spread out. There will be friction early on. Some clients may move out. That’s where productizing of service may help. Define the scope of work clearly, have a transparent price and just make sure you focus on your deliverables.

Big ticket clients move to direct
Come October, the CAS (consolidated account statement) may raise eyebrows for some of your clients. Especially the big ticket clients. A high commission amount may not augur well with some of them. Most of the big ticket clients are surely aware about the direct plans but the absolute number printed in the statement may just provoke them to discuss direct plans with you.

Multi product strategy will be imperative
Moving to multi product selling may be a good strategy. Product here does not just mean general insurance or FD. Think about will writing, return filing, PMS, financial planning and so on. If you aren’t good at it, partner with someone. Your clients/prospect should get a feeling that you are not just a MF distributor but rather a one stop boutique that offers complete personal finance solutions.

RIAs will be omnipresent 
If charging fees is the way forward, then becoming an RIA is something that will have to be considered. While distribution + advisory may seem like a lot to deal with, believe me, the earlier you adopt, the better off you are.

Technology will be the key
A lot of what has been said above will need a robust technology platform that is built to address these very needs. The need for a strong billing and invoicing system that is able to calculate % of AUM on a quarterly basis and auto debit the customer’s bank account via an NACH mandate is just one of the critical things the platform will have to do. Then there is need for a strong CRM, multi asset reporting tool, financial planning and so on. Figure out your strengths and look out for the right platform to align with. Think about how you can productize your service through one of these platforms.

What are your thoughts on the IFA landscape? Do share in the comments section below.

9 Free Tech Tools Successful Financial Advisors use. Which ones do You use?

9 Free Tech Tools Successful Financial Advisors use. Which ones do You use?

It is heartening to see Financial Advisors across the country opening up and embracing technology. I have been interacting with lots of advisors lately and my analysis is on the basis of these interactions. Some of them use quite a lot of tools while some of them use at least one or two.

Before you think it is only the young advisors or the ones who are tech savvy or the ones living in bigger metros who are embracing these tools, well – you’re mistaken.  I’ve seen advisors in tier 3 cities, both young and old using these tools effectively. 

What’s driving this behavior?

My analysis suggests the following reasons:

  • It helps them become more efficient
  • It helps them standardize processes
  • They are able to impress their clients
  • They like trying out new technology tools
  • It saves cost & time

Is it too late for me to start using them for my practice?

It’s never too late. Besides, these tools were never available until 2-3 years back. So, I encourage you start getting used to them at the earliest. 

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Why Financial Advisors should use Twitter & How you can easily get started

Why Financial Advisors should use Twitter & How you can easily get started

You must be aware of various #hashtags during TV shows and sports events. The idea is to connect the audiences through Twitter, one of the most popular social media platforms. Such has been the effect of Twitter that right from bollywood stars to politicians and cricketers, they’re all there. They’re connecting to their fans (and critics) in ways not possible earlier.

Lots of consumer brands and corporates alike are using twitter as a medium to reach out to their customers and prospects. Right from solving consumer complaints to offering rewards and exclusive offers. In financial services, you will see banks, mutual fund AMCs, life insurance companies having their twitter accounts, also called as a ‘handle’.

But what about the financial advisory community? Are they active? What do they do? If I have to setup my twitter account what do I need to do? Can twitter be a lead generation engine? What should I tweet about? How do I get followers?

Let’s answer these questions, one by one:

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India has very few financial planners. But here’s why the trend is changing fast?

India has very few financial planners. But here’s why the trend is changing fast?

You probably know that India does not have too many financial planners. But this trend is changing rapidly across all other cities in India. What’s forcing this change are the following factors:

Financial Planner India

Growing awareness about fee based financial planning in media

  • From blogs to magazines and newspapers people have been reading a lot about financial planning these days. This was not the case until 2 years back.
  • So much so that Economic Times has started a dedicated supplement called ET Wealth. News channels have dedicated shows on Financial Planning.

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