Tring Tring. Tring Tring:
“ Sir is that Mr. Prasad”
“ Sir I am calling from XYZ Bank, we have private banking services specially for customers like you who have arrived in life and who want a private banker assigned to them.”
“ OK, what will this private banker do”
“ Sir, our private banker will understand your financial profile your needs over next few years and then help you manage your money”
“ How will he help me”
“ Sir based on your financial profile he will suggest you a good mix of portfolio in stocks, mutual funds, debt and even art market. So sir when can I send you our Private Banker to meet you?”
Such calls from so called banks to help me manage my money have once again increased ever since the stock market has shown some rebound after the great fall of
January 2008. So after receiving some of these calls I decided to meet one of the so called financial planners.
More than any kind of financial planning in mind I wanted to meet this genius who is an expert in stocks, Mutual funds, debt, insurance and Art market all at the same time. Considering personal financial planning is some thing close to my heart and brain I take keen interest in such super beings with the hope that I will be able to learn a thing or two.
So on the planned day Mr. Banker came with 2 of his colleagues one Ms. Banker and one Boss Banker. The 3 of them came in nice business suites ( in the summer months of May I must add).
So the three of them started the assault on me from all three directions, I wondered if they had taken a course on military tactics besides financial planning.
They pitch started like this I poor soul who is so busy in office doing mundane routine work does not have the time or the skills to manage my money so I need the expertise of the Banker Gang, oops Group. They will analyze the market trends study the technical charts, macroeconomic patterns, the el Niño effect, the impact of oil prices, coup on Thailand, Silicone usage by Pamela Anderson and Intel corporation and what not and come up with the best possible investments for me. And considering I will be a very special customer I do not have to keep more than 20 lakhs in total portfolio. They were willing to take my existing beaten down portfolio and take it through their Midas touch and convert it into Market beating super achiever that only they can do.
Needless to say me the poor soul was highly impressed but the doubting Thomas in me had a few questions to them. So I asked them how do we begin? Very simple sir since market are about to take off the Mutual Fund division of their bank has launched a very special scheme that is open currently and I can begin by investing just few lakhs in it and I don’t even have to invest it in one go if I have some financial problem I can take the SIP route for the same. This was followed by a nice session on $ cost averaging. But some how this information was too much for me the poor naïve investor who neither has got time nor the skills to invest on my own. So came some more questions from my mouth more rapidly than the Bofors gun supposedly spits out shells.
Q—How do we know this is the best plan for me you don’t even know what I need?
Ans: Sir since the financial planning is a comprehensive exercise it takes time and since the very good scheme is available at a very good price of only Rs 10 per unit one should not miss the opportunity. Our Ms. Banker will be assigned to you and you can call her later at your convenience to do the financial planning.
On this Ms. Banker gave me a very nice smile I was not sure if I had an Amir Khan mask on my face as now a days even the office receptionist doesn’t smiles at me ( Any wonder I don’t have my photo any where on my profie? )
So I questioned further.
Q: So Ms. Banker what is your qualification and experience in financial planning?
Ans. Sir I have done MBA in Finance from Lala Ramjee Lal ( Mehndi Wale) institute of Management and have joined XYZ Bank as a trainee. ( Boss Banker was not very happy at this answer) So he intervened. Sir Ms. Banker is the silver medalist from Lala Ramjee Lal ( Mehndi Wale) institute of Management, which has been ranked in one of the top emerging management institute of management by one of the top magazines in the country.
Needless to say I was about to get impressed but still not sold to the idea of giving my hard earned money to be managed by a 24 year of rookie who might already be updating her CV for the next job or beauty pageant.
So I asked so have you also done some course in financial planning? This was the bounce for Ms. Banker and this time Mr. Banker came to her rescue .
“ Sir financial planning is a new course in India and we are not even sure if it will work in a country like India. It is not even offered by any reputed institute like Lala Ramjee Lal ( Mehndi Wale) institute of Management etc. etc. so it does not even matters.
My next question was for Boss Banker.
“ So Boss Banker you must have made a good fortune in the stock market”
Well Boss Banker was too keen to share his experience.
“ Sir my portfolio was so much during the boom time that I could have easily retired and bought a house for myself with minimum installments and paid my credit card debt, but unfortunately I could not sell before the market crashed and now my portfolio is not doing very good.
I was wondering in my mind that here is a guy offering me Financial planning services who has credit card debt, does not owns a house and is not professionally qualified as a Certified Financial Planner and he is giving me financial advise? ( DISCLAIMER : The author of this post is not qualified in any form to give any kind of financial advise so please do not listen to him and take your own intelligent decisions.)
Needless to say I did not have much confidence in the Banker Gang oops the Banker group and excused myself by giving some lame excuse.
But this whole episode made me think that out there it is a whole bunch of unqualified people claiming to be financial gururs ( just like this author, who is not qualified to give any financial advise)
It is upto you and me to be careful with our money ( if the bankers were so smart how come they lost billions of our dollars). So let the buyer beware ( Caveat Emptor) and ask all kind of questions to the person who is offering you financial advise ( I repeat I am not professionally qualified to offer any kind of advise on this matter, I just share my own thoughts and expereicnes)
Remember the good old saying : “ A fool and his money part ways easily” and nobody can love your money more than you do so while you will benefit from the expertise of a professionally qualified financial planner (not some commission agent whose only aim is to push the product offering highest commission). But best is to keep on updating your own knowledge on the latest happening in financial world and assess your own needs read some good books ( link to my book reading list) and invest wisely for the long term.