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Advisor Spotlight
Be the ULTMATE destination for all your clients financial requirements!
Mr L Sridharan

Ultimate Wealth Managers from Bangalore can be synonymed to an advisory firm with a coporate style of working. With strong expertise at the management level, a process driven firm where the unwillingness to settle for less, they have gotten an in house software tailor made to suit their needs. Not just that, where growth is often synonymed to taking the role of handling people, his firm boasts of zero attrition when it comes to employees working towards the mission of making “Ultimate” the ULTIMATE destination for clients for their financial requirements. 

Read to know more from the two times CNBC TV-18 award winning financial advisor and a platinum club member whose work has been recognized at various places.

MF Live: ULTIMATE has had several proud moments under your leadership. Be it to improvement in your clientele base, or the enhancement in your turnover, or the continued patronage of your investors, or the awards and accolades that have brought glory to your name. Can you take us through the factor responsible for such improvement and key takeaways to achieve each of these? 

L Sridharan (LSN): Client servicing is the backbone of advisory business which not only helps retain clients but also results in generation of higher referrals. While technology plays its part in customer service, we believe that meeting clients personally or talking to them on phone is a better way of keeping in touch. We try to meet our clients at least once in three months and we make this mandatory.  Unflinching effort of rendering service and personal touch with investors strengthens relationships which cannot be substituted by technology. Even on special occasions like birthdays, or anniversary  we never fail to wish them personally by a phone call besides reaching them flowers and e-greetings. 

We invest in employees who not only help to enhance efficiency, increase productivity and quality of work, but it can also help retain talent. There is nothing called attrition in our organization. 

One stop Solution:  We provide a comprehensive range of services at a single point which helps us  to increase our wallet share. 

MF Live: An Advisors profession necessarily revolves around five broad functions:

i) Product Research 
ii) Sales & Marketing 
iii) Client Relationships 
iv) Technologically enabled
v) Brand Building

The above are nothing but a breakup of the entrepreneurial function of an advisor. How do you discipline yourself to manage this all and how have you placed yourself in terms of all the above?

L Sridharan (LSN): Learning is a continuous process and you have to keep yourself updated to answer client queries, especially when you are dealing with HNIs. The second important thing is to leverage technology. Initially, we used to send physical statements through couriers which required a lot of time and effort. Later, we started using fax and then emails. Now, we have provided our clients login access to access their portfolios on the go 24x7.We also send  messages to investors through WhatsApp. It's like an online personal finance help desk through which we resolve queries related to money and investments. This also helps us to connect with them informally. We send them market update on a daily basis by SMS besides sending our weekly reports by mail. 

Also, we are focusing on strengthening our quality of advice through research support.

MF Live: What essentially goes into the research desk at ULTIMATE while looking at mutual fund products? How do you pick the funds? Which are your top picks? 

L Sridharan (LSN): For fund selection, we filter the top performing funds over a five-year period. The top performing funds are further short-listed on the basis of having a true to label portfolio and being consistent in outperforming the benchmark and displaying steady AUM growth. Finally, we check on the pedigree of the fund manager and sees if the fund house has a process driven approach to fund management.' Practice before you preach' - So after shortlisting funds, we invest our own money in schemes which we plan to recommend

MF Live: AMCs come up with new innovative products. Do you think that the focus for advisors now is service and importance of products has reduced, considering that profession is moving to be service centric and not product centric? What is your opinion on the same?

L Sridharan (LSN): The yard stick of gauging our performance is our understanding one of the basics called “asset balancing”.  When I am able to address it with the existing products and prove a point so advisory or cosultancy, the emerging exotic products have negligible role to play.  But unless and until we are compelled based on the concept or ideology (rather an alterntiave to MF) yes., it does make sense to include them in our basket and certainly not otherwise. 

MF Live: In terms of technology, there is no dearth of softwares or platforms in the market. However, you have your own tailor made software. What is unique to the software that you have built up for yourself? What is your opinion on the various softwares/ platforms existing in the industry?

L Sridharan (LSN): We have our own in-house software IPV 3 developed by our IT consultant. The uniqueness is accurate data available at our end without any dependence on service provider. We keep on upgrading our own tailor made SW depending upon the dynamic of the changes. 

MF Live: What is your view on the MF advisory space and the industry penetration? What will be the dampener and the booster for the advisors?

L Sridharan (LSN): While distribution landscape is facing headwinds, there is a lot of potential in this business. The key to cash in on this opportunity is to upgrade skills, invest in technology and have a long term focus in business. Another mantra is remaining in contact with clients personally. It is the business wherein the relationship built over period of time supersedes the knowledge and ultimately the knowledge what we posses becomes the driver of the business. So, knowledge coupled with relationship is the mantra. 

MF Live: What according to you is the future of the profession? Let us assume the RIA consultation paper will be implemented. How in that case do you plan to align your business? 

L Sridharan (LSN): Technology, subject knowledge and client engagement are the key drivers of this advisory business.  Change is the only thing constant in life.  Fortunately two of our directors are qualified to welcome the changes as proposed by the market regulator.  Ever since the entry load ban, we have been very much ahead of time and here too we would like to go with the swing and will continue to remain agile.  One thing is constant at our end.  As we keep forging on this trajectory, in all our endeavours whether certain changes are mandated or not and we are benefited or not, investors interest alone will be of paramount importance & that will never get diluted for any reasons. This is the very secret of this business. 

MF Live: What should be the ULTIMATE goal for financial advisors?

L Sridharan (LSN): Ultimately client satisfaction should be the “Alma” matter of any advisors/distributors.  A satisfied customer is the best ambassador of any product. Helping them to quench their  financial commitments or aspirations should be our aim after all anyone sweats to earn money only for these two reasons.  Exhibiting fiduciary responsibilities should be  the ultimate impetus to forge. 

MF Live: Your message to budding IFAs & Fellow Channel partners?

L Sridharan (LSN): Human being is a wanting animal in the words of father economics – Adam’smith,  people who associate themselves in this industry and doing a business out of it are the most luckiest one for we deal in a product called “Money” which is the only catalyst to quench any of our desires or commitments in the absence of barter system.  The more the competition, faster the growth will be mine.  Elsewhere the same competition can create a dent in my smooth sailing. 

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