Study On Inactive Independent Or Individual Financial Advisors

Study On Inactive Independent Or Individual Financial Advisors

Independent Financial Advisers or IFAs are professionals who offer independent advice on financial matters to their clients and recommend suitable financial products from the whole of the market.

Very often it comes to the mind of the people that what are the factors which drives the investors’ behavior towards Mutual Funds. The slightest change in any part of the SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) and Economy affects the AMC (Asset Management Company) and IFA’s (Independent Financial Advisors). This is due to varying level of risk perception of the people. While making investments in mutual fund IFA’s (Independent Financial Advisor) try to make proper tradeoffs between risk and return.

Mutual Fund are investment companies that pool money from investors at large and invest it in stocks, bonds, short term money market instrument and other securities. This pool of money is invested with a stated objective.

In any AMC (Asset Management Company) many IFA’s are registered but don’t give business to AMC. And become inactive in the books of AMC. So, to identify their concern of inactivation. Generally, it is perceived that IFA guides the investor to investment and in taking decision to invest in Mutual Fund. It is so because investor is risk averse.

Many times the service and payouts play an important role as distributors get incentives on sales, commission from the company, fees from their clients to whom they advise. If they are not happy with the service of the company they don’t give business. And become inactive in the books of the company so, this project is to know where the company is lacking in the eyes of distributors.

Therefore, the study has focused on IFA’s perception from the perspective of elements of marketing and volatility in the market, investment behavior all 4ps of marketing.

Product: Products for the IFA are schemes and investment plan which company introduce.

Price: Price for the IFA is commission which they get.

Place: Niche products are launched for 1st tier cities. As mass products are launched for PAN India even targeting talukas.

Promotion: Contest are organized for the IFA’s, additional incentives are provide to IFA’s in form of gifts, Banners are provided to IFAs which are Co-Branded.


Independent Financial Advisors are professionals who offer independent advice on financial matters to their clients and recommend suitable financial products from the whole of the market. Advisors work independently for their clients rather than representing an insurance company or bank.

Financial Planning simply put is planning for the future. It is preparing oneself and one’s family for future events like child education, retirement, child marriage, wealth creation, life security and so on. It is planning for uncertain events with some degree of certainty by taking factors like interest rates, inflation, taxation, cash flows, current expenses and lifestyle into consideration. After which, a Financial Advisor recommends the best possible allocation of existing and future resources to help meet future goals.

Financial Advisor takes into consideration, investment management, risk management, retirement planning, tax planning, cash flows present and future and estate planning, and since these factors are subject to change, with changing policies, environment, the financial advisors, needs to be review on a regular basis.

In India Independent Financial Advisor has to obtain an ARN (AMFI Registration Number) (AMFI stands for Association of Mutual Funds of India). And then get Empanelled with the Mutual Fund Company for whom he wants to work it can be a single company and more there are no restriction on his choice of companies. IFAs are multi-tied as Mutual Funds are concern offering products from a selection of the market and usually paid on a commission basis.

When Independent Financial Advisors stop giving business to the mutual Fund companies they are considered inactive. The sudden affect came from year 2009 when SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) made some changes in rules/policies for the financial advisor.

The main change was that no entry load will be charged on the buyers of the Mutual Funds and hence the entire amount will be invested in the scheme. Earlier this load was charged formed a part of the distribution expenses and were given to these distributors as brokerage.

Objectives of the Project:

Identifying concern related to inactivation of IFA’s.

To provide the company to understand the marketing strategies of competitors of companies.

To suggest a suitable solution to the company.

Feedback from IFA

Are IFAs concerned about Mutual Fund industry.



Research is the careful study or investigation in order to discover new fact of information. Research according to Wimmer Dommenic, is an attempt to discover something Or in this research study is to find out about the challenges faced by the IFAs.


“The analysis of the principles of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline”

“The systematic study of methods that are, can be, or have been applied within a discipline”.

A documented process for management of projects that contains procedures, definitions and explanations of techniques used to collect, store, analyze and present information as part of a research process in a given discipline.

The study or description of methods

Research Methodology:

The Research Methodology for the project is in two phase:

First Phase Collection of Secondary Data:-

This involves collection of secondary data using internet and internal sources for comparison. Referring magazines, past data from company.

Second Phase is the Collection of Primary Data and Analysis:-

After collecting the secondary data the next phase is to get questionnaire filled by person within area given to me. The analysis is to be done.

Types of Research

Exploratory Research and Descriptive Research:

The research is primarily both exploratory and descriptive in nature. The sources of information are both primary and secondary.

The secondary data has been taken by referring to various newspapers, magazines, internal sources and internet to get the figures required for the research purpose. The objective of the exploratory research is to gain insights and ideas.

The objective of the descriptive research study is typically concerned with determining the frequency with which something occurs.

A well structured questionnaire has been has been prepared for the primary research and personal interview is being conducted to collect the response of the IFAs (Independent Financial Advisors).

Quantitative Research and Qualititative Research:

Quantitative research is concerned with how often a variable is present and generally uses numbers to communicate this amount.

Qualitative research describes or analysis a phenomenon without specifically measuring variables. No statistical analysis is involved qualitative. Research all though the data must be expressed numerically.

Research Design

It is important to have a good research design. If a design is proper then the research project will be quit productive. A research design is the frame work or plans for the study that guide the collection of analysis of data. It some sort of a blue print will ensure that

♦ A study will be relevant to the problem

♦ It will be economic

In this study the researcher made an attempt to study the people response about the IFAs. As a result of a survey was conducted during the initial part of the study. This methodology was adopted to meet the objective of the study by colleting primary and secondary data. The analysis of data leads to certain conclusion.

Research Design Chart

Research Approach : Survey Method

Research Instrument : Personal Interview

Types of Question : Close Ended

Sampling Unit : Individual Financial Advisors

Sampling Size : 100

Area Covered : Mumbai

Limitation of the project:

Change in policies of SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India).

And Change in policies of Government.

Hidden commission/ Incentives/ Different Contest of various companies.

Some of the respondents are hesitating to divulge their financial information regarding their share of investment in the company.

Every distributors is not willing to meet or given an appointment.

Meaning of Mutual Fund:

A mutual fund is a professionally-managed type of collective investment scheme that pools money from many investors to buy stocks, bonds, short-term money market instruments, and/or other securities. A mutual fund has a fund manager that trades (buys and sells) the fund’s investments in accordance with the fund’s investment objective.


Mutual funds really captured the public’s attention in the 1980s and ’90s when mutual fund investment hit record highs and investors saw incredible returns. Historians are uncertain of the origins of investment funds; some cite the closed-end investment companies launched in the Netherlands in 1822 by King William I as the first mutual funds, while others point to a Dutch merchant named Adriaan van Ketwich whose investment trust created in 1774 may have given the king the idea.

The origin of mutual fund industry in India is with the introduction of the concept of mutual fund by UTI in the year 1963. Though the growth was slow, but it accelerated from the year 1987 when non-UTI players entered the industry. In the past decade, Indian mutual fund industry had seen dramatic improvements, both quality wise as well as quantity wise. Before, the monopoly of the market had seen an ending phase; the Assets under Management (AUM) were Rs. 67bn. The private sector entry to the fund family raised the AUM to Rs. 470 bn in March 1993 and till April 2004; it reached the height of 1,540 bn.

The mutual fund industry can be broadly put into four phases according to the development of the sector.

First Phase – 1964-87:-

Unit Trust of India (UTI) was established on 1963 by an Act of Parliament. It was set up by the Reserve Bank of India and functioned under the Regulatory and administrative control of the Reserve Bank of India. In 1978 UTI was de-linked from the RBI and the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) took over the regulatory and administrative control in place of RBI. The first scheme launched by UTI was Unit Scheme 1964. At the end of 1988 UTI had Rs.6, 700 crores of assets under management.

Second Phase – 1987-1993 (Entry of Public Sector Funds)

Entry of non-UTI mutual funds. SBI Mutual Fund was the first followed by Canbank Mutual Fund (Dec 87), Punjab National Bank Mutual Fund (Aug 89), Indian Bank Mutual Fund (Nov 89), Bank of India (Jun 90), Bank of Baroda Mutual Fund (Oct 92). LIC in 1989 and GIC in 1990. The end of 1993 marked Rs.47, 004 as assets under management.

Third Phase – 1993-2003 (Entry of Private Sector Funds)

With the entry of private sector funds in 1993, a new era started in the Indian mutual fund industry, giving the Indian investors a wider choice of fund. Also, 1993 was the year in which the first Mutual Fund Regulations came into being, under which all mutual funds, except UTI were to be registered and governed. The industry now functions under the SEBI (Mutual Fund) Regulations 1996.

The number of mutual fund houses went on increasing; as at the end of January 2003, there were 33 mutual funds with total assets of Rs. 1, 21,805 crores. The Unit Trust of India with Rs.44, 541 crores of assets under management was way ahead of other mutual funds.

Fourth Phase – since February 2003

This phase had bitter experience for UTI. It was bifurcated into two separate entities. One is the Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India with AUM of Rs.29, 835 crores (as on January 2003). And does not come under the purview of the Mutual Fund Regulations.

The second is the UTI Mutual Fund Ltd, sponsored by SBI, PNB, BOB and LIC. It is registered with SEBI and functions under the Mutual Fund Regulations. Conforming to the SEBI Mutual Fund Regulations, and with recent mergers taking place among different private sector funds, the mutual fund industry has entered its current phase of consolidation and growth.

By December 2004, Indian mutual fund industry reached Rs 1, 50,537 crore. It is estimated that by 2010 March-end, the total assets of all scheduled commercial banks should be Rs 40, 90,000 crore.

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Reliance Mutual Fund

Reliance Mutual Fund (RMF) has been established as a trust under the Indian Trusts Act, 1982 with Reliance Capital Limited (RCL), as the Settler/Sponsor and Reliance Capital Trustee Co. Limited (RCTCL), as the Trustee.

RMF has been registered with the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) vide registration number MF/022/95/1 dated June 30, 1995. The name of Reliance Capital Mutual Fund has been changed to Reliance Mutual Fund effective 11th. March 2004 vide SEBI’s letter no. IMD/PSP/4958/2004 date 11th. March 2004. Reliance Mutual Fund was formed to launch various schemes under which units are issued to the Public with a view to contribute to the capital market and to provide investors the opportunities to make investments in diversifiedsecurities.

Reliance Mutual Fund provides major benefits to common man to make his life better than previous. It is one of the fasting growing mutual funds in India. Reliance mutual fund is considered to be most reliable mutual fund in India. Schemes allotted by this institution sometimes perform differently and sometimes perform similarly.

The main objectives of the Trust are:

To carry on the activity of a Mutual Fund as may be permitted at law and formulate and devise various collective Schemes of savings and investments for people in India and abroad and also ensure liquidity of investments for the Unit holders;

To deploy Funds thus raised so as to help the Unit holders earn reasonable returns on their savings and

To take such steps as may be necessary from time to time to realize the effects without any limitation.

Reliance Mutual Fund (RMF) is India’s leading Mutual Funds, with Average Assets under Management (AAUM) of Rs. 1, 08,334.38 Crores and an investor base of over 74.63 Lacs. (AAUM and investor count as on July 31, 2009).

Reliance Mutual Fund, a part of the Reliance – Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, is one of the fastest growing mutual funds in the country. RMF offers investors a well-rounded portfolio of products to meet varying investor requirements and has presence in 118 cities across the country. Reliance Mutual Fund constantly endeavors to launch innovative products and customer service initiatives to increase value to investors. “Reliance Mutual Fund schemes are managed by Reliance Capital Asset Management Limited., a subsidiary of Reliance Capital Limited, which holds 93.37% of the paid-up capital of RCAM, the balance paid up capital being held by minority shareholders.”

It means AMFI Registration Number (AMFI stands for Association of Mutual Fund of India). It is allotted to an intermediary ARMFA (AMFI Registered mutual Fund Advisor) to AMFI they are given Brokerage which includes all amount paid to an intermediary for selling the product of the mutual fund and shall include commissions on sale of mutual funds, incentives, consulting fees, contest awards that have monetary value, gifts, lump sum payments.

It is a unique number allotted to:

Individual agents, brokers, and other intermediaries engaged in selling Mutual Funds, having passed the AMFI/NISM Certification Test and agreeing to abide by the code of conduct.

Corporate engaged in the business of selling Mutual Funds, which apply to AMFI and agree to abide by the code of conduct.

Registration of Intermediaries with AMFI:-

The SEBI circular has made registration of Intermediaries compulsory. This would mean that no person or any other entity would be entitled to sell units of mutual funds unless the Intermediary is registered with AMFI. AMFI has made provision for issuing an AMFI Registration Number (ARN) and photo-identity card for Intermediaries. All mutual funds shall stop empanelling Intermediaries who are not registered with AMFI with effect from the date of these Guidelines.

For Intermediaries already empanelled with mutual funds, being registered with AMFI shall become compulsory by March 31st, 2003. Thereafter, no brokerage can be paid out to Intermediaries who are not registered with AMFI on fresh business canvassed by them until such time as they are registered.

All corporate Intermediaries shall ensure that employees engaged in sales and marketing of mutual funds are registered with AMFI and have obtained a photo identity card.

AMFI certification is the sole criteria for allotting an ARN to an individual Intermediary, other than those specifically exempted, Corporate Intermediaries can obtain an ARN by undertaking to ensure that all personnel engaged in sales and marketing pass the AMFI certification test and register with AMFI and obtain a photo-identity, with their corporate ARN, by March 31st, 2003 in the case of existing Intermediaries and their existing employees.

For corporate Intermediary entering the business of mutual fund sales after the date of these guidelines, and for persons hired by existing intermediaries, all such employees proposed to be engaged in the sales and marketing of mutual funds, shall have to be registered with AMFI. In the case of a fresh corporate entrant to the intermediation industry, this would mean that despite obtaining an ARN it would not be able to do business till the first employee recruited for sales/marketing holds AMFI certification and all subsequent employees recruited for engaging in sales/marketing are also registered with AMFI and have obtained his/her photo identity card.


EMPANELLMENT CRITERIA (ARMFA with AMC’s as Principal Intermediaries and ARMFA with Principal Intermediaries as Sub-Brokers)

To ensure that only genuine distributors are eligible for brokerage, a set of common minimum criteria are evolved for the purpose of due diligence before empanelling (and thereafter for the payment of brokerage) an ARMFA by an AMC or by a Principal Intermediary as a sub-broker.

All intermediaries fulfilling the empanelment criteria as provided here under shall be entitled to receive brokerage for all business canvassed by them, except on their own investments. However it may be noted that as per SEBI’s circular no. MFD/CIR No.5/153/2001, dated May 24th, 2001 no brokerage is payable on investments made by the sponsor of a mutual fund in the schemes of the mutual fund sponsored by them.

The following are the common minimum criteria:

All individual ARMFA obtaining empanelment with an AMC would be required to have at least 12 investors with the empanelling AMC, within one year of empanelment or, in the case of ARMFA already empanelled, within one year from the date of this circular. Failing this, the ARMFA would have to provide an undertaking to the AMC that it services at least 25 investors across all mutual funds. Failing both the above, the ARMFA would not be entitled to receive brokerage from the AMC on the mobilization done by it during the subsequent year.

Corporate ARMFA obtaining empanelment with an AMC would be required to have at least 100 investors from non-associates as defined herein, within one year of empanelment or, in the case of ARMFA already empanelled, within one year from the date of this circular OR

Would have average assets under management of at least Rs.1 crore with the empanelling AMC, which are not from associates (being subsidiary and holding companies) within the period stipulated

During a twelve-month period after empanelment, if 75% or more of the gross funds mobilized for the empanelling AMC by a corporate ARMFA, is from associates, the ARMFA would be required to provide a certificate signed by the authorized person, that it services at least 200 investors, other than associates and/or employees of associates, during the period.

ARMFA are empanelled at different points of time. Monitoring on an on-going basis from the date of empanelment would be administratively inconvenient. Therefore following empanelment of an ARMFA, the AMC would be required to monitor compliance of the criteria. During the quarter after completion of 12 months of empanelment. Thereafter monitoring of compliance with the criteria shall be done at the end of every 12 month period following the previous verification of compliance.

Inactive Distributors

Till now we discussed the basics of Mutual Fund, ARN, and Empanellment of IFAs (Independent Financial Advisors’). That how they get empanellment with the mutual Fund company. However it has been observed that even after emapnellment, the IFAs does not give regular business to AMC.

Let us understand this in detail:

When IFAs gets empanelled they have some objective stated by them for themselves their achievement makes company raise the funds. But suddenly when they stop giving any new business to company they appear as inactive in the books of the company.

As the project title is “Study on Inactive Independent/Individual Financial Advisor.” The IFAs get empanelled with AMC (Asset Management Company). But however not given any business to the company or we can say that they haven’t made any new investment. They are just taking commission on investment they had made earlier and not yet redeemed.

Every company has its own criteria to show IFA inactive in its books. As Reliance Mutual Fund Company states an IFA inactive when IFA doesn’t make any new investment for at least 90 days from the date last investment was made by the IFA for his clients.

The inactivation has made the AMC slow down in terms of investment of small investor. As business is very important for the companies.

The main effect came from year 2009, as changes were done in the Rules and policies by Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has declared that with effect from August 1, 2009 no entry load will be charged to the buyers of equity mutual funds and hence all the amount will be invested in the mutual fund scheme that you choose. This will in-turn immediately ensures that 100% of the clients money gets invested. On the other hand what this new ruling envisages that now the distribution margins will shrink and the advisors will have to charge for his services directly from the customer (earlier this load charged formed a part of the distribution expenses and were given to these distributors as brokerage).

Due to this change many IFAs would not be comfortable with the lower commission. Hence leading to inactivation of same. However it could be one of the reasons for inactivation. The other reasons could be service issues from AMC’s of the products, giving higher commission, Performance of Capital Market. Etc.

In this project I am and would focus on various reasons which lead to inactivation of IFAs (Independent/Individual Financial Advisors).

Q.1. what all products do you sell (please tick)?

As every Distributors sells Mutual Fund but, with mutual fund 94% distributors also sell Life Insurance which is second highest.57% of distributors make their clients invest in Fixed Deposit. And other which is 7% includes IPO’s, FPO, and Equity Trading

Q.2. How many years have you been in financial business?

Survey shows that 5% of distributors are into industry from more than 20 years as followed by 7% from more than 15 years. As 40% have entered this profession in last 5 years. This is good for the industry.

Q.3. Are you also engaged in some other business?

85% of distributors are in financial services only. Whereas, 15% are engaged in other business also such as Real Estate, Shops, Academics, jobs.

Q.4. Do you prefer working direct as an agent or through some channel/platform.?

8% of distributors sell mutual funds through channel or some agency. Whereas 91% sell mutual fund direct without any channel. Good numbers of people sell mutual funds direct. So we can say that they want to make a good relation with company by giving business.

Q.5. Please mention your share of business (client types) in %age terms as per the table given below:-

6.4% of mutual fund investment is of corporate investors made by distributors as followed by 12.05% of HNI (High Net worth Individual) and 79.55% in Retail which is the highest. Total it stands 98% as 2% distributors do not wanted to refer about their investment.

Q.6. Mark the following services provided by Financial Intermediaries on a scale of 10 (viz. 10 Marks for most important and 1 for least important) :-

On average of 2.22 which is Revenue/Brokerage is less as compared with Training on Financial Planning which is 6.8 to be the highest. Distributors give more importance to training; an innovative product which is 5.7 and technological supports which is 4.58. Distributors do not get leads for new clients from AMC’s which is 2.02 less than revenue and brokerage also.

Q.7. Please rank your decision in Financial planning solution choice suggested to customer (Rank 1 to the highest/most important and Rank 7 to the lowest/un-important) :-

On taking average in ranking its comes out that Revenue and brokerage is coming out be more 3.81 as compared to company reputation which is important for distributors 1.87 . As in previous question as compared with brokerage the training on financial planning was high. Product performance with return is 2.27.

Q.8. Reasons for which the clients call you / communicate to you

Do not call 2. Seldom 3 Usually 4. Most Often 5. Always

59% of clients call their distributors usually to know about portfolio status. Whereas 53% of clients call for advice to manage taxes better. As 51% clients call distributors for their protection needs. Clients also call distributors seldom to their personal tasks as depositing of cheque.

Q.9. How has the removal / reduction in brokerages across financial products impacted you? (Please tick)

13% of IFA’s strongly agree that they are deciding to quit business, with 7% of distributors strongly agree that they charge clients for advising. 54% disagree that they have increased their client base, as followed by 44% disagree they are force to churn money. 50% are neutral on SIP’s and 40% are neutral on selling high revenue products.

Q.10. How do you update yourself with market knowledge/new products/change in products? (Tick relevant)

Highest numbers of distributors attend training session arranged by the company which is 56%. As followed by 53% which are distributors visit company’s website to update themselves with market knowledge and new products. Some of the distributors update their knowledge by all parameters. As less number of distributors call up RM which is 45%.

Voice of the Distributors

‘I do not receive proper technical support, kindly work on it. / improve service.’

‘Relationship Managers Does not visit and if R.M changes we should be informed/ company should give Updates regarding new terms in industry.’

‘Personalized Services is required, as the companies can’t go in rural areas but we (IFA’s) can go. As companies should create a win-win situation as we give business to them.’

‘Lots of service issues, particularly now a day’s changes in bank details etc. creates lots of problem to resolve. / KYC (know Your Customer) uploading gap should be reduced.’

‘Companies Branches should be setup in rural areas as there are no branches. We have to travel for 60-70 km which is not possible.’

‘Kindly arrange training programs regarding new technologies in the market.’

‘Companies should create awareness about mutual funds for general public/ Leads should be provided by the AMC’s (Asset Management Company).’


Today, the mutual fund industry is growing industry with number of distributors involving themselves in financial business as more IFA’s (Independent/Individual financial advisor) have joined the industry in last five years. As many IFA’s now prefer working direct rather than any channel/platform. Some IFA’s who were inactive are trying to make come back to the mutual fund again. The year 2009 was not good for the IFA’s as SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) removed the entry load on investors which was the major setback for distributors and they were not able to meet there day to day expenses. But later when survey was conducted it was known that brokerage was not important for them as I was told before stating project that distributors are not giving business because they are not getting brokerage. Whereas distributors are not happy with the services of the AMC”s (Asset Management Company). So’ the company should improve services as distributors have to give after sales services also to their clients. It was also found that brokerage has less importance as co


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