‘More women will become financial advisers in the coming years’

By Ravi Samalad |  31-01-17 | 
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About the Author
Ravi Samalad is Assistant Manager - Editoral for Morningstar.in.

Bengaluru based adviser Mimi Partha Sarathy, managing director of Sinhasi Consultants dons many hats. A yoga teacher and a classical dancer, Mimi has built an enviable clientele which includes corporate honchos like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairman & managing director, Biocon Ltd, Gaurav Gandhi, chief operating officer, Viacom 18 Digital Ventures, Dr Sunita Maheshwari, Founder and Chief Dreamer, Teleradiology Solutions and celebrities like Waheeda Rehman. She talks to Morningstar about what helped her succeed as a financial planner and how yoga brings discipline in her practice.

What inspired you to don the hat of a financial planner?

My career as a financial planner was not at all planned. It was just pure destiny. When I had decided to leave ILFS Investsmart (later known as HSBC Investsmart) after a five-year stint in March 2005, I really had no plans of setting up my own financial planning firm. I wanted a total break from corporate life and wanted to do other things. It was my clients at that time who had complete trust and faith in me and wanted me to continue to oversee and monitor their investments. It is this faith and trust that made me set up Sinhasi in June 2005.

Your clientele includes C-suite executives and celebrities. What are their unique goals and aspirations and how do you meet their expectations?

Senior executives and business leaders are under a lot of pressure running their businesses in team management, travel meetings, etc. and don’t have a lot of time on their hands. Their main requirement is a trusted expert ‘partner’ who can protect and grow their wealth in a holistic manner.  And this adviser must come with both advisory and execution services. She must be active and engaged with them as required in a personalized manner so that they can continue to focus on their work and tasks on hand.  This is also the case with many celebrities.

Another important factor is that they have put in a lot of hard work to achieve their wealth and status and this needs to be respected and valued.  Therefore, every rupee invested means a lot to them and needs to be managed efficiently and prudently. With so many advisers and products available today, this becomes a daunting task. Thus, the need for a trusted and prudent adviser is even more required.  We at Sinhasi have understood this well.

At Sinhasi, we stand for the belief that we all can chase our dreams without fear only when we 'know' we are on "top of our game" regarding our money and personal finances and are certain that our finances are growing prudently.

Our aim is to build the most enriching and trusting individual relationships where our clients feel certain, secure, and 'top of their game' as we grow with their wealth in a simple, disciplined, prudent and holistic manner.

Like you, many women advisers are doing well for themselves. Despite high success rate, we don’t see many women taking up financial advisory...

I believe that women must do what they love to do. This way it becomes easier to balance work and the home since women will surely be involved in their homes and families as this is what makes us women.  This is very important.

The regulatory issues which are quite complex and rather tedious today could be a deterrent and an entry barrier to do business.  Complying with regulations requires constant vigilance and a lot of procedural work. This could become rather cumbersome which many women may want to avoid.

Having said that, there are a lot more women in financial services today than perhaps a decade ago. In fact, many of our banks are headed by women.

I believe that by nature, women understand and know finance well since budgeting, rationing, parallel processing with great vigilance, and handling challenges with sound decisions is something women have done and do all their lives in managing their homes.  So, finance in my view is a very natural extension for all women. Besides, women are considered trustworthy.  So, I do believe that more women will come into the industry in the coming years.

What is your firm’s assets under advisory in mutual funds and how many clients do you cater to? What is your team strength?

Our business model is not about assets under advisory (AUA) but about the 50-plus valuable client relationships that we manage. Some relationships are close to 18-years old. The entire Sinhasi team cherishes and values these relationships very much. We have a sharp, relevant and skilled team of 10 people at Sinhasi.

You are a yoga instructor and a classical Indian dancer. What similarities do you find between yoga, dance and investing?

Besides being a regular yoga practitioner as well as a Bharatnatyam dancer, I am a student of our Shastras. The essence of yoga, besides being a great physical exercise, is to connect with yourself, understand yourself better to lead a more enriched life and to connect with divine energies.  And this is also the essence of dance.  All this leads to a greater sense of stability and balance and better understanding of people and situations. This is most required for a financial planner and therefore very complimenting to my work.

What is your success mantra?

Along with faith, passion and hard work, dedication is a must for success. Always be ready to learn, especially from others. And always be there to lend support to others. This gives the most joy.  Most of all, humility is the key to success.

Most importantly, I am a woman and completely different from a man. This ‘womanliness’ is a great thing which I am very proud of.  I am who I am because I am a mother, a daughter, a yoga teacher, an animal lover, a dancer, a home maker and a traveler. This is what completes me. Therefore, this makes me draw my boundaries in defining success. My happiness and success is in all the many things I am and do, and the people that surround me, not just by the assets that we advise.  This understanding of one’s self is most important for success.

Going ahead, what will be the key drivers for the growth of your business?  

Technology has been a great boon and game changer for this industry. Thus, in order to facilitate transactions on the go, we are launching the Sinhasi online financial advisory platform soon.

To grow, we will continue to do what we have been doing. We conduct several financial literacy programs and presentations for corporates, Gen Y, and women to encourage them to start working on their financial health and well-being through financial planning. We will continue to spread awareness among investors to help them make smart investment choices.

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