Agnelo Joseph, Head - Learning Academy, Tattva

Post-graduate in HR & OD, with close to 25 plus years of experience, shaped by actively formulating HR practices and driving training and development experiences for teams across reputed corporate, Agnelo leverages his immense wealth of experience, knowledge, and skill in driving change management initiatives at an organizational level using learning and engagement as tools of change. He is an alumnus of IIM A- having completed PG- Senior Leadership General Management program to enhance his entrepreneurial & business management skills. He has been a catalyst in grooming and developing future talent and leaders and creating a much-needed cross mobility strength for talent migration for leading corporate across the NBFC, IT, and Telecom sectors. He has been instrumental in building strong global best practices organizations having taken some of his organizations in the Best Employer club at AON & GPTW institute. His white paper, “How learning culture can bring change in an organization” was chosen at IIM – Kozhikode as part of a learning case study for students.

 

Mutual Fund Distributors are facing a lot of new challenges in the way they manage the workflow; communicate with clients to generally run their practices amid the Covid-19 pandemic today.

“Mutual Fund planners/distributors remain resilient against a shifting regulatory landscape, disruptions from major players entering and leaving the wealth management space, and the recent pandemic-induced market volatility,” Investment Trends research director Recep Peker said.

If the above is true, then we need to understand what is it that will make you more resilient not from the process alone but more mentally & attitudinally. Let’s look at some of the TOP TIPs which you can reflect upon & implement, in these pandemic times to keep your customers engaged with you in spite of the challenge.

1, Turbulent times – How do you grapple with the uncertainty & ambiguous environment, when there is an overall sentiment of insecurity and yet continue to create wealth opportunity for your clients & self:

One of the core element, when faced with a crisis they say, is “to stay calm and watch the world go by” as with that you get a sense of purpose for the next action. If you jump in the chaos you are only being part of turbulence. When there is a storm expected, you are told to stay indoors in a protective environment. Can you go out and be part of the storm?? Obviously NO, so turbulent times call for common sense working.

Virtual presence (social distance) gets to your client/customers to understand the situation, explain the pros & con and comfort the client as panic will be at both ends. As a financial advisor/distributor, your own understanding of the situation will be vital and if you have prepared your client for the long term than short term gain, the trust of your investors will help you stay focused. So, it needs to start at the beginning of your relationship-building in for such upheaval times.

2, Build & Sustain your relationship: One of the many challenges this pandemic has brought is client/customer engagement in person is distanced now. So then how do you keep your relationship intact and forge the bond with customers as done in normal times:

  • Speak more often to your client, know about what their situation is and look out for any stress or concern, don’t wait for them to call you.
  • Engage & Keep updating on what is happening and share highs, not lows, which is not relevant
    • Share content of relevance on positive trend well validated

3, Portfolio mix – Investment would be hard to come by as there is a conservative approach or withdrawal symptoms are high, what should be your investment advice be then:

  • There are two ways of doing it I feel which you can explore and think thru. Just as we cannot join higher education in life without going through basic education similarly. I am sure you will agree with me is at the beginning of your relationship, how you educate your client will matter a lot and have you buffered in such pandemic situations in your education:
Beginning relations During the Pandemic/crisis situation
Set up clear expectations, explain what it means to be an investor Understand the need & suggest product mix as per short term challenge. It ideally should not be long term. Panic behaviour is common
Long term v/short term gain It has to be situational ensuring the continuity
Time horizon clarity, clarity how money grows and not just NAV’s Look to reduce or minimize liability & debts as clients may force income or revenue block or less income challenge. In such case maybe you may want to look at some of the following:
Stop SIP
Redemption of Debt or Equity products
Relook at re-investing from non-performing funds
Return expectations, it is not about % age of return but value over a period of time Handholding during these times:
Don’t lose sight of the customer
Guide & Counsel
Explain merits and demerits
Client Retention focus means you are the advisor so give that trust. Client Focus in short term or long term remains the same if you want to continue

Portfolios mix in such a situation is about your knowledge & experience and for that, you need to keep sharpening your skills. Customers, as I said, have only limited knowledge, the question is can you expand it and don’t allow the situation to get better of that.

4, Battling work stress:

The art of managing self is your emotional balance.  Accept the fact there is a situation and think of yourself as someone your customer will look up to. If you believe in that, half the battle is won, and rest is about your engagement ability.

  • Collaborate with your peers. Keep sharing & learning, it helps in freeing your mind & thoughts of any clutter.
  • Engage with your clients or professionals seeking advice, perspective and for any change.

Fund houses or professional have access to vital research & strategies, they can guide you better.

Pandemic is global so all are going through it, you being worried will not help but connecting with others & staying positive will show you a better way to manage.

5, Business continuity – Customers or clients are in a panic state, but you need to be focused about continuity. You panicking will be the last nail in the coffin, the customer will move on. So, here’s something you can do reorient your business:

  • Collaborate to co-create, share services, or reduce inventory or to forge joint alliances etc. Yesterday’s competitor can be today’s adversary, you never know.
  • Continuous dialogue with all your stakeholders be it customers, clients, fund houses etc.., being alert is important actions come out of it automatically.
  • Technology savvy grasp strongly, the future is digital which pandemic has thought. Physical Infrastructure need has come down drastically, so get on to the technology bus.
  • Business acumen as it is your intellect that will require sharpening. So, learning new skills for business will help you sail better.
  • Compliance management, COVID-19 or no COVID-19 you need to ensure compliance is management is continued.
  • Emotional wellbeing, sleep well and laugh a lot with your loved ones. Pandemic is global it is going to be here for some time. Health is wealth; remember “Rome was not built in a day”.

Conclusion:

Sensex fell from a high of 41323 on 19th Feb 2020 to low of 25981 on 23rd Mar 2020. In a matter of just one month, it fell by 37% due to COVID-19 related panic & worldwide uncertainty. From there, yesterday i.e., 24.11.2020 made a new all-time high of 44523 recovering by 71% from 23rd march low due to things going back to normal quickly post lock-down & huge liquidity. Now with the market reaching a new high, more no. of new investors has started investing in MF.

So, as I said earlier, maybe the investors were well guided or coached by their MFD’s and therefore you are seeing the upsurge.

It is not about the turbulence; it is about how you pilot through the turbulence.

Believe in your ability and role you are playing in shaping the wealth opportunity for your clients or customers.

 

Related Articles