Last week, I attended a Madras Management Association program series titled Personal Finance and Wealth Management Series. The first of the series was on Wealth Management and Financial Planning. ICICI Bank wealth management is the knowledge partner for the series. Vineet Dhar Business Head Wealth Management, ICICI Bank Wealth Management and Dhaval Kapadia Head Financial Planning Desk, Wealth Management and Private Banking made an interactive presentation. The Program was chaired by R Raghuttama Rao, Managing Director, ICRA Management Consulting Services Limited
The main theme of the presentation was,
Structured Investment is the way to go.
Structured Investment is based and systematic and scientific methods backed by research.
All aspects of individuals profile and outlook are to be taken into consideration
ICICI Bank’s wealth management and other wealth managers in the ‘industry’ will be more than willing to help anyone willing to take the structured investment route.
Key aspects covered in the first part of the series were guidance for profiling and discussion on Asset Allocation. The benefits of going through the process systematically and more importantly reviewing the progress against goals periodically and effecting course corrections and re-balancing were stressed. As can be expected, knowledgeable and helpful Wealth Managers form ICICI will be happy to help out with a smile and a spectrum of products are available to fit every type of investment need.
The Vineet and Dhaval were pretty scornful of conventional investment wisdom of using gold and real estate to build major portion of your wealth portfolio. The discourse leaning was towards institutionalized and well regulated forms of investments that fits well within their structured framework and tracked by their research radar. And there was extra extra stress in merits of investing in stocks. A clueless investment novice like me is able to see caveats in the discourse. My objections are simple – is there enough quality basic data to give credence to research based approach? This question becomes complex when you consider that much of the Indian economy is unorganized and thus cross verifiable data is hard to come by. And the role of black money in skewing data and research is another of my concern. The concept of well regulated is also a matter of my concern – regulation just means that ordinary folks cannot game the market, whereas the powerful and the mighty( especially the mega Manhattan players) can getaway with anything.
While the intent was to guide people to manage and grow their wealth, the content and presentation had a lot of shortcomings. For instance they started off with a good question, “What is the difference between an Investment and Savings” but never attempted to answer it.
Despite best effort by the Chair Raghuttama Rao to keep questions and discussion to the topic, there was a free run on to macro economics especially currency. The presenters were just feeding the digression rather than directing to the topic of personal finance.
The MMA evening events in the city thus far has always been about high level view of topic under discussion. The audience need to be settled into the ‘hands-on apply it in life’ mode to make the series effective. Perhaps some mocks and well designed games will do the trick.
I was surprised to note that the message the presenters were driving at is ‘Wealth Management is complex, leave it to (our) experts’ where as they must be telling ‘Wealth Management is fun if you know it, We are here to help. In the long run you will find it worth the while’ They were throwing jargons after jargons without any examples to relate. A typical customer outlining his profile and his investments in a simple well made video would go a long way. Made me wonder if ICICI is deviated from the path of reaching out to larger section of people via self service and automation.
Overall a very laudable initiative. And I look forward to the next session in the series and my sharing the abundance!