Fincart.com – Your companion to Plan, Invest and Prosper

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The physical brick n mortar is an expensive route to serve retail investors hence the advice will never be in their favor. The habit of online (e-commerce) will gradually penetrate the financial planning & investment space as well. If you notice the banking space – the product has remained the same but the way they communicate with audience is changing – Physical Banking to ATM then online banking and now its mobile banking. We see a changing trend and hence a huge opportunity. Further the social media provides an opportunity to take this viral.

Currently the retail mass & mass affluent people are offered Credit Cards, Personal Loans, Housing Loans & Insurance Products but no one offers them a proper & genuine advise on how to manage your money & grow them. What is common to all the above products, they all fetch high revenues for either the manufacturer & the agents. The lower ticket size doesn’t excite the agents. One’s financial ignorance is the other’s gain, so there is no effort to create financial awareness.

Fincart started with the pain point – How can good quality wealth management solutions be offered to the mass affluent, keeping only & only client interest in mind, at an affordable price, which generally the rich have access to. Financial planning & good quality financial advice should not be a luxury.

On trying to find answer to the pain point,  Fincart dig deep and found some interesting insights:

  • They do not have any Financial Planner or Advisor – all they have are agents:
  • The product’s commission drives agents recommendation without actually trying to understand the investor’s need.
  • The hard-earned money invested is guided by strong emotions (i.e.- Greed & Fear). Surprising but true, more than 90% of the Investors invest/ exit at the wrong time. There exists a gap for an expert advisor who has the seen various market cycles and has the skill-set to guide the investor and prevent them from committing these emotional mistakes.
  • Agents haven’t been able to earn Investors trust because there is a lack of transparency. Need for complete, simple & clear disclosure.
  • Need for financial awareness & literacy program that uses jargon-free & non-intimidating language.

Fincart has strong in-house expertise in range of financial services like comprehensive financial planning, investment advisory services, personal tax consultancy, estate planning, online transaction for Mutual Funds & Insurance, besides it also provide being strong advisory on third party products.

Fincart is India’s first company in the wealth management industry to record conversation and share the audio link with clients which makes the advisor not only responsible for his advice, but also for the end performance of clients` multi asset class portfolios.

The company got conceived in November 2012 but the company commenced operation in April 2013 and the beta version was launched in August 2013. We are now approximately a year and half old into operation.

Techaloo got an opportunity to have a conversation with Mr. Tanwir Alam, Founder & MD of Fincart. Let see what he wants to share with us?

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Techaloo: What was your vision/mission while starting Fincart?
Tanwir: Fincart is an online initiative of 3E Advisors Private Limited. The acronym of 3E is Educate, Empower and Enable. Our vision is to help Indians inculcate the habit of investing by Educating them about Investments, Empowering them to make informed investment decisions; and Enable them to act by providing them with a planning and transacting platform.

Techaloo: Have you got any kind of funding?
Tanwir:
We deliberately did not want to raise money at an angel stage. We are comfortable with our own funds as of now. We will start dialogue in the first quarter of 2015-16 when we need funds to scale it up. We have had initial round of talks with more than one foreign venture capitalist expressing interest.

Techaloo: What hurdle did you face while starting?
Tanwir: One common thing that cut across most start-ups is getting quality human resources. In our case, it was even more difficult because we are very little choosy about hiring resources – we mandatory test employees on aptitude and domain knowledge. Second challenge that we faced was in finding a good technology partner. In fact, we faced serious issues in the inception phase that tripped us initially. Rajiv, joining us as the co-founder, helped us to plug that gap.

Techaloo: How difficult or easy it was to start Fincart after having 18 yrs. of experience in the industry?
Tanwir:
The business of financial planning and investment consultation is not new. The existing distribution model is an age-old distribution model that perhaps got started with nationalized insurance companies, postal agency and Unit Trust of India. We started working on this model some 5 years ago. We deeply studied the challenges in the existing investment distribution system. Our model basically plugs those gaps that exist in the age-old distribution model.

Functionally, it is our forte – we strongly understand the investment business, the Indian retail investor’s demography and also have good insight of their behavioral traits.

Techaloo: Tell us something about the services offered by Fincart?
Tanwir:
Our mission is to be the number one online personal finance partner to the mass affluent families helping them provide risk protection (online term and medical insurance), personal financial planning, online transacting platform for helping them transact their investments and track them 24 x 7, estate planning; and e-filing of tax returns. We will automate most of these services.

We are currently studying the real estate advisory space. We will launch the same if we can create something that is value-adding and worthwhile using technology.

Techaloo: What is your pricing model?
Tanwir: We wish to offer our services at an affordable price. We are working on a unique pricing model that will help the people of the country to plan their finances the way they wish to. It will be free for the “Do-it-yourself” audience. If clients need hand holding, then they can seek our help and pay only for the services that they wish to opt for. It is like going to a Pizza store and customizing your own Pizza.

fincart_@Techaloo: Who is your target customer?
Tanwir: Our target audience is the Indian Mass and Mass Affluent segment. We have a sharp focus on the mid-segment of corporate executives.

Techaloo: How are you different from other online advisors?
Tanwir: The word API differentiates us from other online players:

Approach – India is a country of savers and not investors. We all use perhaps 5% – 10% of the services offered in a phone or any gadgets that we have. Just providing a technology platform will not make savers nudge. Our role is that of a driving school instructor who has a separate set of pedals (clutch and brake) under his feet. His role is to help avoid accidents in the initial learning years because psychologically if you meet an accident in the learning years then most likely the person never learns to drive the car.

Our approach of using Financial Planning Process coupled with technology and hand-holding people over phone is perhaps the winning combination of delivering value at an affordable price.

Pricing – We are running what is called a FREEMIUM Model. We will act as a FREE facilitation platformthat helps clients PLAN, INVEST and TRACK their money for FREE. We will only charge if clients needs our help and more importantly being able to choose from the menu will make it affordable for all types of investors. These features will be a part of the new website that will get launched soon.

Intent – We are perhaps the first investment portal that offers personalized financial solutions over phone, records the conversations and shares the audio link with the clients. This is our way of building trust through transparency.

 Techaloo: How is the response till now?
Tanwir: We have successfully tested the first pivot and the response encouraged us to go ahead with the second one that we will launch very soon. The first pivot was to gauge if people will accept personal financial planning services over phone (people are used to the conventional model of agents coming over to them). We are very happy with the response and we acquired customers across Indian cities, viz. Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and few from small cities such as Ranchi and Gorakhpur.

Now we are further automating the services to make it scalable.

Techaloo: Tell us something about Fincart Pyramid?
Tanwir:
When we were studying the current investment pattern, we noticed that people invest in an ad-hoc way on the basis of suggestions given by agents, friends and relatives. Their investments are not structured.

The Fincart Pyramid is a proprietary, trade-marked and three-sided approach of managing money in a structured way. The discovery process (DRAWN) helps is assessing their needs, the financial planning process (ERGRE) is aimed at protecting wealth, growing them and then seamlessly transferring it to the loved ones. Once the plan is agreed upon then we work on investing the money based on the RAISE.

Techaloo: How does Fincart help an investor?
Tanwir: Investment is no longer a choice but a necessity because of the rising cost of living. Hence it is imperative to invest prudently. Fincart helps inculcate the right investment habits and enable them to live a richer life. We help people Plan, Invest and Prosper.

Techaloo: Why should one trust your advice?
Tanwir:
Let me use an anecdote. We have friends, some we don’t trust and some we trust a lot. No one goes about saying “I am trustworthy” yet we use our experience and instinct to create this difference and judge. We don’t have to go about telling the town that we are trustworthy; it is the clients who will endorse us as trustworthy based on their experiences.

Trust takes time to build and it requires rigid discipline. Discipline is all about doing the right things even if nobody is watching. It reminds me of an Aamir Khan advertisement promoting ‘Satyamev Jayate” where he is looking down from a terrace and there are few cars that break the traffic signal and few don’t. He points out saying that “Yeh hamara program nahi dekhega(to the one who breaks traffic signal)…..Yeh hamara program dekhega(to one who stops at the signal at night when there is no one watching)”.

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Techaloo: What was the response from your family while starting?
Tanwir:
When I was planning to quit, my wife was a little apprehensive and she asked me a question. I would like to quote her, “You have a job that many would envy, you are successful and a lot of us would like to be in your shoes. Why do you want to do this?”I answered that there is a difference being “Success and Satisfaction.” I am very happy and satisfied that I have started this, we want to leave a mark and change the way investment is currently advised and sold in India. Once they saw the big picture and were able to sense the passion, they all supported and became my strength. My wife comes from the same industry and hence she adds value immensely.My mother, when she was alive at that time, couldn’t understand what I wanted to do but sensed the honest intent and said only one line, “I can’t understand but I know that you want to do good to people around you and hence I think you should go ahead with it.”


Techaloo: What are your plans for next 3 years?

Tanwir: Infact, we have a 5-year plan in mind. Our plans include leveraging technology, building sales and distribution bandwidth, value-added services, building Fincart as a brand; and financial literacy initiatives.We have plans to launch a fully-automated platform for financial planning, transacting investments and tracking investments. We will create small sales-cum-service centers across many cities but have centralized financial planners and investment consultants. We wish to target NRIs community as well. Fincart’s FinALI will be our Financial Awareness andLiteracy Initiative. We will use social media in a big way to get our services viral.


Techaloo: What message do you want to give to an aspiring entrepreneur?

Tanwir: I would like to share 3 key learnings:
Do not have the fear of failure – If your plan is 100% certain then there is no opportunity. The fear of failure will get mitigated if you have done the homework and planned well.
Patience – Reminds me of a wonderful quote by Warren Buffett:“You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” There is an old saying that business gets built in a minimum of 1000 days.Flexible – You must be clear about the end goal but you must be flexible about the route to achieving it because business environment, regulations and technology are rapidly changing.


Techaloo: What do you think about Techaloo.com?

Tanwir: This is a fantastic initiative from ISM. It is indeed good to see students thinking out of the box and creating a venture such as TechAloo. The idea of “Giver’s Gain” has always worked well. TechAloo gives this platform to budding entrepreneurs who do not have financial budgets to showcase their products/ services to a collective group of fellow entrepreneurs, investors and other people in general.These kinds of initiatives will certainly help to foster the entrepreneurial culture in the country.

Team behind the inception:
The founding team includes 3 key members – Tanwir Alam, Anjum Ayyub and Rajiv Gogoi.

tanwirTanwir Alam is the Founder &CEO. He spent about close to 20 years in the Financial Services Industry having worked in Mutual Fund Distribution, Investment Advisory and Investment Banking. His last assignment was with IDFC Mutual Fund as Director and Head – Retail Sales. He shares his knowledge by regularly writing insightful and educative articles for leading newspapers such as TOI, ET, and Business Standard and many more leading magazines. He is a regular invitee for The NSE Finwiz Show powered by CNBC TV18, The Money Guru Show in Zee Business and few prime time shows as well. He takes care of Strategy, Sales & Distribution and Marketing.

 

anjumAnjum Ayyub has spent more than 12 years working in the financial services industry for some leading financial services companies such as HDFC Standard Life, Edelweiss, Bharti AXA Mutual Fund and Tata MF. She takes care of Customer Service and Operations.

 

 

Mr. Rajiv Gogoi is Chief Technology Officer and CoFounder,FincartRajiv Gogoi is Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder. He takes care of automating the entire financial planning and investment process, is currently involved in revamping the website and also working towards launching two value-added services in 2015. He has a rich experience of 16 years having worked in JP Morgan, Polaris Financial Technology and Tata Consultancy Services. In JP Morgan, where he worked for close to nine years, he developed and implemented strategic operational solutions as Best Practices and Technology Standards with great and continued success, primarily in Automation and Monitoring space for the Corporate and Investment Bank’s Technology practice.

 

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Mohit Bansal(23) is B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. He has interest in business and entrepreneurship and has published couple of research articles. He is also associated with various NGOs. He is with Techaloo when it was just in concept stage. The Techaloo site was not existing even then. Currently Mohit is working with Mu Sigma as a Business Analyst Profile.

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