Advisers need not look far for inspiration. After establishing their practices over decades of toil, senior advisers are now sharing their wisdom with aspiring financial planners. And social media is acting as catalyst in this movement.
Started last year as a platform for sharing ideas and inspiration by four IFAs, the ‘wealth creators’ WhatsApp group has today attracted 145 advisers. But their idea was not to limit their interaction to emojis. To check how many of these group members were actually serious about learning from peers offline, they decided to organize a meeting.
Formed by four Mumbai based advisers – Prakash Thakkar, Ritesh Sheth, Rajesh Doshi and Vaibhav Rane, the group held its first knowledge sharing meet last year in Mumbai’s Sanjay Gandhi National Park on a Sunday morning. The group’s founding member Ritesh Sheth addressed this gathering of 22 IFAs on his experience of using various software and mailback services of R&Ts.
Sheth says that they thought of drawing inspiration from peers because it is easier to relate to fellow IFAs who have made it big against all odds. “Until now, advisers used to meet largely in AMC meetings and their conversation was very formal and restricted. We thought of meeting informally to share ideas and WhatsApp was the fastest way to form this community,” recalls Sheth.
As the number of members joining their WhatsApp group grew, so did their popularity. Their subsequent events in which Mumbai’s leading IFAs Sanjay Khatri and Roopa Venkatkrishnan spoke were attended by over 200 IFAs. Gajendra Kothari, Founder of Etica Wealth Management is expected to share his tips in the next event scheduled in March.
While their group is gathering momentum (online and offline), Sheth says that they have no plans to get their events sponsored. The event expenses are covered from attendees who shell out a nominal fee. Those who are unable to make it to the event get to read the ‘key takeaways’ post from one of the attendees.
Only advisers can join this group. They have a strict policy for posts – members are removed from the WhatsApp group for a week if they post a ‘good morning’ message.
Another popular group Advisers Voice starts buzzing with investment quotes of legendary investors right from wee hours. The 256-members keep the group active by sharing daily market wrap up, personal finance articles and infographics which can be used by members to prospect clients. The admin of this group Shrikant Matrubai started it to share ideas and track industry developments. Interestingly, Shrikant manages eight WhatsApp groups. All the eight groups serve different categories of advisers. One such group consists only of RIAs.
The group protocol requires members to desist from posting messages like 'good morning' or 'happy birthday'. Members who don't toe the line can be removed.
To encourage members to stick to group’s objective, he ‘upgrades’ members, which means they are elevated to groups which comprise thought leaders and experts. By the same token, he ‘downgrades’ members whose messages he finds irrelevant. Any member is first added to the eighth group and moves up to first group depending on the quality of posts. “I remove or downgrade members who are argumentative and don’t move on. You have to be open to different opinions and this is what the groups are meant for – sharing knowledge and views,” says Shrikant.
When asked if managing so many groups takes up his productive time, he says he does it out of passion. He deftly manages his social media activities with an app If This Then That (IFTTT) which streamlines his posts. “If I tweet it is automatically updated on my Facebook, WhatsApp and other apps. This saves up lot of time,” says Shrikant.
Other messaging apps like Telegram is also getting popular among IFAs. Chennai based adviser Ramesh Bhat’s group on Telegram 'MFD Universe' has close to 1,400 members. The group holds a discussion on a topic every Friday. Recently, they invited V Ramesh of MF Utility on their group to answer member’s queries on online mutual fund platforms.
Besides business, advisers also tickle each other’s funny bone by sharing jokes on A+ Jokers WhatsApp group which is created by Navi Mumbai based adviser Sanjay Khatri.
Share your thoughts on how you use WhatsApp to stay in touch with your peers by commenting below.