Life @PenguWIN – 1

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Dear Friends,

Yes, it’s been more than 50 days since I started my new venture, PenguWIN, after spending 18 years in IT and wanted to share some of my experience through this blog. I guess I might have to narrate this as a series and hope that you will find it interesting.

From a busy routine trusted with significant delivery responsibility and a team of over 1000 associates at Cognizant, now I am part of a small team, a junior analyst and I. Luckily, I have always been having my hands full and busy with something or other.

 Market Euphoria

The timing of my new venture coincided with the landslide win for NDA and Modi. After close to 30 years, we have a new Government at the Centre that has a majority on its own and not dependent on the whims and fancies of its allies. This has significantly raised the market sentiment resulting in Sensex and Nifty touching new highs on a regular basis. People who have totally shunned equity as an asset class are slowly getting convinced that “Nothing can beat Equity as an Asset class in the Long Run”. While PenguWIN strongly believes in every portfolio having a dose of equity investment, through Mutual Funds, to beat inflation and create wealth in a long term, we definitely emphasize on “Asset Allocation”. This means diversifying the investments across various asset classes –  Real Estate, Bank and Postal Deposits, Gold and Precious metals, Corporate Deposits, Government Bonds and Equity, the proportion decided by the profile of the investor.

Some of my friends and well-wishers asked me if I took the decision to quit my IT Career and move into Financial Services based on the Modi victory. But the truth is that I am passionate about Financial Planning and Wealth Management and was pursuing it as a hobby for close to 10 years and the timing of my venture with the new Government formation is just a coincidence.

PenguWIN’s Mission and Vision

 “Provide quality financial advice and personalized service to our customers at an affordable price, leading to wealth accumulation and delight” Mission

  “To serve as a trusted, customer centric and sincere finance doctor in the profession of wealth management” Vision

Many people have asked me whether I would be expanding to other locations in India and also if I would expand my team to include Financial Planners and Analysts who would work under my guidance. I have seen my Dad and Uncle, both of them quite popular doctors in their areas of specialization, practice on their own without a poly-clinic or corporate hospital kind of set-up, maintaining their individuality and medical ethics. At this point in time, I strongly believe that this is the right model for PenguWIN as going for a multi-location or larger set-up would dilute my focus and personalized attention to our clients. Also, I wanted to keep our costs in control and make Wealth Management an affordable service for consumers.

 PenguWIN’s Office

I am glad that I could find a decent office space at Indira Nagar, Adyar at close proximity to the Chennai IT Corridor (OMR) and just a KM away from my residence. I have always been commuting very long distances for over 18 years while I was in IT (or for that matter during school and college days when I used to take the suburban train to commute) and now having an office that is just 1 KM from home and can also be walked is a blessing. I was very particular that the arrangement is comfortable and was not in favour of getting into a multi office/shop commercial space. I have been getting positive feedback from the people who have visited my office, both from a location perspective and interior set-up and would urge you to pay a visit to experience the ambience. It’s in the same road (10th Cross) that leads to the Indira Nagar MRTS and there is plenty of parking space as it’s a residential area.

 Foray into Insurance

To widen our service offering, PenguWIN has tied up with an Insurance Broking firm to offer Health, Personal Accident, Auto, Home and Travel Insurance. As a Sub-Broker, we will be able to offer products from multiple Insurance providers that are suitable and meet the client requirements, unlike an Insurance agent who is tied to a specific Insurance Company. I was very particular that there is no difference in premium between what PenguWIN can offer and what the consumer gets if he/she directly approaches the Insurance Company. Hence, we decided to refrain from the Term Insurance offering as that is one product which can be bought by consumers directly from the Insurance Company, Online, at a lesser premium. For all other products there is no difference in premium irrespective of mode of policy purchase – direct or through an agent or through a broker.

 Finance Doctor Vs Medical Doctor – Wealth Manager and General Practitioner

Many of you might be aware that I hail from a family of doctors.  Interestingly, there are a lot of similarities between the 2 professions – Financial Advisor and a General Medical Practitioner (GP).

A GP consults patients with diverse medical issues ranging from fever, cold, eye and dental infections to heart and skill ailments. If the sickness is complex then the GP refers the patient to a specialist like Ophthalmologist or Orthodontist or Cardiologist, as appropriate.

Similarly the scope for financial advisor includes Mutual Funds, Direct Equity, Corporate Deposits, Government Bonds, Income Tax Planning, Debt Counselling, Insurance, Estate planning. As a Financial Advisor, while I will be able to help do the tax planning for investors, tax filing and complex tax issues have to be referred to Tax Auditors (Practicing Chartered Accountants. I have tied up with one). Similarly while I would be able to assist people with Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts), complex estate planning cases have to be referred to competent Civil Lawyers.

Medical Representatives pay periodic visits to GPs to promote their drugs and pharmaceutical companies conduct meetings and seminars. Similarly in the Wealth Management profession, we keep meeting Relationship managers from various fund houses and companies who promote their products and Asset Management Companies conduct meetings and training programs for financial advisors like us.

Medical GP’s have competition through poly clinics and hospitals while Financial advisors have competition through Banks and companies like Bajaj Capital, Integrated Enterprises, and Blue Chip financial services. The list of similarities can go on like mis-selling, foreign promotional tours etc.

However, the stark difference that I observed is that when there is an ailment, people don’t hesitate to reach out and seek medical help from doctors whereas Investors do hesitate to reach out to Financial Advisors for professional help and have to be coaxed and cajoled, though the awareness has been on the rise. There are quite a few people (including people who are otherwise very knowledgable and some have also lived overseas) who have asked me as what Wealth Management is all about and I have tried to explain with examples.

While investors might not need professional help for depositing money in Banks or Post offices, products like Mutual Funds, Corporate Deposits, and Insurance can be easily misconstrued and seeking professional advice from a qualified Financial Advisor can go a long way in building long term wealth.

More to follow…

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Category: General

2 comments on “Life @PenguWIN – 1

  1. I think gym trainers is more appropriate analogy than doctors. You seek financial advice, when you want to grow. If you don’t have enough money (equivalent to medical ailment), you can’t seek financial advice.

    • Hi Anbu,
      When you want professional help in the medical field, you go to a Doctor and when you need professional help with your finances then you go to a Financial Advisor. Also, one of the functions of the Financial Advisor is “Debt Counselling” – so you can reach out to a Financial Advisor even when you are distressed and don’t have enough money. However you need to ascertain whether the Financial Advisor offers the service (Debt Counselling) as not all of them cover all aspects of Financial Advisory, the same way like all Doctors cant treat all ailments and specialize in their own areas. Hope this clarifies