A Tale of Two ….
I know the headline is incomplete but what’s the word that comes to your mind when you read the headline?
If you are like many, chances are you are thinking about Charles Dicken’s “A Tale of Two Cities.” It’s an amazing novel and if you haven’t read it already, I would strongly recommend that you read this classic. Today’s post though is a tale of two MFDs (from two different cities).
“I was always concerned with a question … What would happen to my clients and my business in case something happens to me? What if I am not there one fine day? After all, my clients are like my family and they have trusted their life savings with me”, said Vivek Shah, a jovial and energetic gentleman from Pune.
Vivek was 48 years when he decided to quit his job with Tata Motors by opting for an early retirement through the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) route. However, he had a family (which included his spouse and two young daughters) to support. While he was contemplating his next course of action, his mentor Bahubali Shah told him to try his hand at the personal finance space as Vivek had many personal contacts at Tata Motors.
Vivek soon began his journey in the world of investing. He started approaching his ex-colleagues, seniors, and juniors for their personal investments. While his journey is super interesting, it’s best told by Vivek in a session someday. In the next 10 years, he had built a practice with a few hundred clients and Rs.65 Crore in Mutual Funds. However, when COVID-19 hit all of us in 2020, he deeply reflected on the question he always had… “What would happen to my business if I were not around?”
In Vivek’s case, none of his family members were involved in the business (nor did they have an intent to join) despite one of his daughters Nupur being a qualified chartered accountant. During COVID-19, a couple of his known people succumbed to the virus. Vivek was never the one to just sit and monkey around a decision. He was decisive and believed in the power of action. He knew he had to take care of his clients who had trusted him with their investments.
Before we move on to what Vivek did next, let’s look at this second MFD, Pramod Parkar (from Mumbai), a soft-spoken gentleman in his early sixties.
Pramod has been a part of the banking and financial services industry for well over two decades. He started his career with SBI (State Bank of India) and realized at some point of time that this is not what he wanted to continue doing. He was simply not enjoying it. Thus, he along with his friend started their journey in the exciting world of broking. While things were going good as the stock markets did exceedingly well between 2004 and 2007, his partner nevertheless did some speculative transactions which resulted in losses for their customers. As a result, they had to part ways.
Pramod continued the broking business with his set of clients, but he always remained cautious because of his experience in the equity markets. At the same time, he slowly started his journey into the world of Mutual Funds. While the broking business continued steadily, the Mutual Fund business was not exactly picking up. He found himself stuck. Despite having clients, he was not able to grow beyond a point.
Serendipitously (finding valuable things not sought for), one of the Asset Managers invited him for a two-day Boot Camp (a part of the Transformation Program) with Happyness Factory. While he was super excited with the learnings of this program, there was a Eureka moment for him. And in that moment, he got clarity on how he had to transform his business (to build the firm of the future).
He decided to collaborate with Happyness Factory (HF) as he completely shared the philosophy of helping his clients live their best possible lives that they had imagined with their money. He also was super excited with the idea of delivering a WOW experience to all his clients. He knew the future of this business was not about charts and numbers…It was all about the personal (or the human) side of money. It was about building strong emotional connections and relationships with his clients. It was about building a practice around world class financial experiences and care.
Soon, he joined hands with HF at a point of time when his AUM was around Rs.12 Crore but his primary source of income was through his broking business. Fast forward today, and he has almost let go of his broking business. He has built his practice around his ideal set of clients, who are super thrilled to have him in their lives (needless to say, he has taken care of them just like he had imagined he would be able to). His AUM has crossed Rs.52 Crore and he is marching towards the Rs.100 Crore mark confidently.
The highlight of all of this for us came when he told us (in fact we all were emotionally touched to the point of having tears in our eyes and I can’t explain the feeling as I am writing these words) – “Thanks to all of you, I am secure financially and I have just bought my first car. It is also a proud moment for me that I am today in the GST slab for my business.
HF has given me a new lease of life. At the age of 58, I have rediscovered myself. Thanks to HF, I have been able to focus on my business, prioritize my routines, grow my core competencies, gain confidence that I will be able to help all the families that I serve with trust and ensure that their life goals can be met. On the personal front as well, I have got a lot of satisfaction and peace in my day to day working.”
Pramod is now converting his office into an experience zone for his clients.
Vivek too had come to us serendipitously after being asked by someone to attend Happyness Factory’s Succession Planning webinar. He had conversations with us. After understanding our philosophy, our value proposition for people in his situation, and speaking with several team members, he figured he had found most of his answers. The only roadblock he thought in his mind was, “They don’t have a local team, and this might not go well with my clients.” Despite this block, he still went ahead with HF as he believed in the people.
However, over the next one year with multiple conversations and meetings with his clients, he realized that he had made a great decision. His clients completely understood why he had done this deal with Happyness Factory and most importantly appreciated the fact that he was a real financial professional who thought and deeply cared about his clients and got the right people to continue his legacy. Today at 62 years, Vivek is enjoying his time vacationing, spending time with his grandchildren and family. He is in a happy state of mind as his clients are happy. Financially he is enjoying his retirement with a stream of income on the growth that is happening to his business and the best part is that he does not have to spend a single moment in his business today!!!
As I reflect on these tales, a few quotes that embody Vivek and Pramod come to mind.
“Again and again, the impossible problem is solved when we see that the problem is only a tough decision waiting to be made.” – Marilyn von Savant
“Make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is ever done in this world by hesitation.” – Thomas Huxley
The great decisions of human life usually have far more to do with instincts and other mysterious unconscious factors than with conscious will and well-meaning reasonableness.” – Carl Jung
Well, there are many more tales to be told… and there are many others that we will be crafting over the next several years and decades…How are you crafting yours?
P.S. This post has been co-written by my colleague Rupesh Prabhu, who has been working very closely with both Vivek and Pramod.