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Alok's Posts / Essentials / Inspiring

Learnings from the CFA Institute’s Wealth Management Seminar

I was invited to speak at a very prestigious event of the CFA Insitute in Mumbai on the best practices of Wealth Management.

I guess I was invited not because of my ‘wealth’ (I don’t have any), but because of some ‘management’ ideas I could have contributed to 🙂 (The real reason was because of a VIP invite by super brain Ravikant who is the co-founder of Tavaga, of which I am a teeeeeeny meeeeeeeny shareholder).

Highlights and learnings of our session

(summarized as what I took away from each participant, ending with the vishesh gyaan I gave away 🙂


Jan Richards (extreme left) was very soft and polite and said :

“It’s extremely rare to see GOLD as an Asset Class among the Ultra or Super Rich in Asian Countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia. If people have large Gold Holdings in these markets, it’s usually because they are speculating in Gold vs. holding it for long term returns”

“Wealth Management is about Client Understanding. It’s about being a part of a client’s life (Kids, Assets, Homes, Airplanes) vs. just being someone who generates returns.”

I pulled a couple of jokes on Jan as she began speaking. First, I asked people in the room who all had voted for Trump. No one put up their hand. Then I declared that we had one voter in the house – Jan, ’cause she was from the state of Missouri a RED (Trump State). Jan of course vociferously argued that she had voted for Clinton 🙂 Yeah Jan, we believe ya!

Ravi Dasika was BRILLIANT. He first shared some amazing (and shocking details) of a wealth survey of 1200 individuals in India. (Will ask him / CFA Institue if that can be shared). Later, he mentioned:

“I believe in ETF’s because I don’t believe there is an Alpha in India.”

Alpha is a financial term that means the excess return generated by a fund in a market over the regular market returns. Read more details here


“At Tavaga, we don’t anchor our clients expectations to Returns. We anchor them to TIME” (This IS the DNA of Goal Based investing that Tavaga pursues via ETF’s)

“Clients and Customers don’t know what they should expect from their money and investments. What they do know is what they WANT (House, Money for Kids education) and WHEN and that is what we fulfil for them”

Next came the Super Smart Hansi Mehrotra who was a real gem! Her insights were unique:

“The Question is not if the Indian consumer is ready for Wealth Management ideas and Best Practices. It’s the other way around – Is the Wealth Manager in India ready for the Indian Consumer? We need to design products, processes and communication around the client”

“Getting people to accept the idea of paying fees is tough. Even in a developed market like Australia advisers are struggling to convince people about fees to get advice on what’s best for them”.

Hansi is COOL! Check out her own site here, which has links to a video series where she tries her best (humorously) to demystify Financial concepts and ideas.


The guy on the right of Hansi is the serious dude called Raj Kalur. Besides being a marathon runner, he seemed to be the most knowledgeable guy on the panel. His simple points were:

“Managing clients interests and goals is the most important job of a Wealth Advisor. NOT delivering Alpha”

“All new Technologies, Fintech, etc should be used as Tools by Advisors to manage their clients wealth – not to get fearful of getting cannibalized by them. In the West, when Fintech came, there was a huge scare of the role of Wealth Managers getting diminished. Nothing like that has happened.”

The guy on the right of Raj Kalur is Vidu Shekhar – Country Head of the CFA Insitute in India. He did a swell job of moderating the panel.

My insights were the following:

“The young millennials are going to be the inheritors and the wealthy of tomorrow and they are of a very different mindset. Take my 17 year old daughter for example, whom I invited for this seminar and got along with me. I told her in advance, “Dude, this is formal stuff. I’m gonna wear a jacket. Wear something appropriate.” She dressed in torn jeans and believes they are formal.

“The young are impatient. Studies show that youngsters wait for 3 seconds for a video to load before switching off. We need to make financial education snacky, nibble sized, easy to understand. That is why we have just come out with our Stock Market Simulation Game – The Raging Bull, which attempts to gamify Stock Investing in a fun way”

“When we were between the ages of 5-10, we all played a game that taught us the fundamentals of Money! Which was that game?” – Many people in the audience raised their hands up and said “Monopoly”.


“Technology is going to destroy all intermediaries.

I seriously believe so and have no qualms in mentioning this. I know it’s not what you guys wanna hear. If you trace the way tech has destroyed ‘canned’ knowledge and ‘people in the middle’, you will get my point. Since I was 10, I wanted to buy the full set of Britannica Encyclopedia, but my Dad refused to spend 11k at that time. Today my kids don’t even know of it. The same happened with ‘Travel Agents’. They are distinct now.

Guys – GET TECHNOLOGY on your side or become one of the Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park.

“The new age startups like me, e-comm and others have a fundamental difference from how you folks operate. We are told to (By our VCs) to create VALUE which is different from Revenue! When you create platforms, processes, brands that become self-sustaining in the digital world, then revenue catches up later and generates profits. By then, the founders have moved out and managers have taken over. Now, if you focus on REVENUE alone, it’s not possible to always create value. This is the fundamental difference between the new Fintech Companies and the old world Intermediaries sitting in this room”.

“UX, UI, UX, UI” is the ONLY thing that will keep your next set of customers coming to you. Please repeat after me “UX, UI, UX, UI, UX, UI” (the room chanted this for a few seconds) 🙂

In response to a question on what I do with my own money, “I buy Mutual funds to keep forever. I use a Wealth Manager. I tell my children to not do anything with the wealth unless there is a problem and give it over to their children. Buy and forget is my Mantra.”


Note – All these points are from my memory, so if I have misrepresented someone, please correct me. Also, if there are points I have forgotten, please do add them as comments and I will add them to the body of the post!

THANK YOU CFA Institute for the honor.



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