3 things an IFA should not be wasting time on

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

I recently visited a renowned IFA (thousands of clients and ₹1000 Crore of Assets) in his Mumbai office and he told me something very interesting. “I now realize why you never did this. We all have been wasting time but I now realize the mistake that I was making”.

Thus I am sharing the point this gentleman was referring to as well as 2 others that I believe every IFA will benefit from.

Stop Attending All Fund Manager Meets , Events and Calls

We have some of the best fund managers globally and I believe they have been doing their job well. I think it’s important for all of us to understand the business we are in. We are in the Investor Management business, not Investment Management. We are in the Personal Business, not the Finance Business. By this, I mean that for us we should be spending the majority of our time with Clients (At least 60-70%). Think about this. How much time do you spend on Clients? I have asked this question to hundreds of IFAs and most of them had no clarity to this question. 

At a bare minimum, each Fund Manager Meet is an investment of at least 4-5 hours, a call maybe 1-2 hours and an Event is 1-2 days.  What gets discussed in most of this is Financial Astrology (Where are the markets headed, What is your view on this and that). We can always debate that you have to review fund manager performance or ask tough questions. Yes, all of this can be done separately in just a couple of hours as data on Mutual Funds is released every month. I can say with a lot of confidence that this activity adds 0.000001% value to your client’s overall financial life but can you sound intelligent after such sessions (Maybe yes). There are many other ways to update yourself and continuously learn so that it helps your clients.

Time-Saving: At least 200 + hours a year. (This is not only the time that it takes to attend but also the time you spend on thinking about it, and so on.)

Appearances on Television

This is again something that can save you a lot of time. Have I done this you may ask? Yes, I have done this and quickly realized that this is a lot of time commitment and your Return on Time is negligible. Yes, you can always tell people look my show comes on so and so time and you may start feeling like a financial celebrity interacting with anchors and journalists. Yes, some people might think you are an expert but you don’t become an expert by appearing on TV.  It takes at least 4 hours per appearance including your travel time and I realized that this is a sheer waste of my time capital.

Not doing this has allowed me to invest my time on clients, learning, thinking (Ask yourself “Have I set aside a dedicated Thinking Time every week?”) and other impactful activities. Additionally, this is a big source of distraction and 1 appearance won’t help and you have to be doing this regularly. Today we live in a world of several business channels, many TV channels, other entertainment channels plus your clients have so much information overload.

However, the key question to ask yourself “Is my ideal prospect or client watching me when I do this?” The answer for most IFAs is a big NO.

Time-Saving: At least 3 hours per appearance. Multiply this by 30 and you have close to 90-100 hours on this activity.

Reading Newspapers and Fund Manager Commentaries.

There is a lot of time that most IFAs waste on this because they want to be seen as informed or experts in their profession. I am a big fan of reading and one of my biggest spend is Books. I urge each one of you to read at least 1 book a month (the more the better) but most people tell me that they don’t have time. I have asked so many IFAs about how many books do they read in a month or quarter. No one said 2 a month and the main reason was, “I don’t have time.” 

Spending 5 minutes daily on headlines is fine to know what is happening and some of the columnists that you like but again this is an activity that will keep you busy. This activity will not just waste your time but distract you from building a business your clients love. Your clients are interested in knowing just 1 thing “Am I doing ok?” However, they have been bombarded, and confused with things such as “Large Cap versus Mid Cap, Growth versus Value, Benchmark, Active versus Passive and so on”. 

At the end of the day, products are just mere tools of the trade and your real job is to simplify their life, bring more clarity on their why of investing (purpose) and help them live the happiest financial life possible. 

Time Saved: Depends on every IFA


Instead of this, read a book on Client Service, Growth, Strategy, Marketing, Leadership and so on. I will be publishing a list of what I am reading on a regular basis (I get this question often and I have made this as a section in my blog). 

I can assure you that staying away from these distractions will allow you to focus on the real things in the business. It has allowed me to focus on my clients, write 4 books (+ 2 more releasing in 2020), 800 columns, 8 Sketchbooks, develop a Financial Board game, develop thought leadership content, complete CFA, graduate from Wharton, build a FinTech company and many more. The idea is not to brag about my accomplishments but to share with you that it is, in fact, possible for you to achieve a lot more than you think you can by avoiding the above 3 things. 

I strongly believe Time is the Only Finite Capital that you have and you would do really well to spend on activities that would matter to you. I will also be sharing a Time Blocking Strategy in my future post and a special tool that I have created called Performance Booster (This is something that some of the best professionals in the world use for their Performance). 

Finally, like a wise man said, “STOP BEING a BUSY FOOL” and allocate your time wisely on things that matter to your clients (taking care of them, continuously learning to be the best in your profession and investing in your business & yourself).

I hope you loved this post. My objective here is to add real value to as many IFAs as possible and help you build the wealth management firm of the future.

Feel free to share it with your fellow IFA colleagues and friends. We have made it easy for you to share it on Email , LinkedIn, and Twitter. Let me know your thoughts and if there any topics that you would like me to cover.

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