It's not just those who are at the bottom of the pyramid who have a problem with accessing financial services
10-Sep-2014 •Dhirendra Kumar
Some days back, amongst my flow of email asking for investment advice, there was one that especially caught my eye. It did so not because of some specific point it made, but because of its completely non-specific nature. It was written by a retired person who had worked as a chartered accountant all his life, and asked for investment advice for his son. The son is in his 20s and works in a high-profile consulting firm.
The interesting part is that's all the detail there is in the email and essentially the writer wants a plan for everything. Future marriage, kids, education, house and eventually retirement. The background of the writer (and his son) clearly suggests that in theory, they should be perfectly capable of deciding exactly what needs to be done.
Certainly, they should have the background knowledge to make such choices. They should definitely have the information as well. In this day and age, with a flourishing financial products industry, with a comprehensive range of products that are widely marketed, at least to prosperous people in the big cities.
But perhaps that's where the problem lies. People have the knowledge, but there's a huge range of products and services, however and they have no confidence in those who are selling the products. There is no shortage of professional advice being provided by those who are selling the financial products themselves. However, anyone who learns even a little bit about how things are sold and why they are sold, has no trust in the process. Asking around, no potential customer ever comes across a happy customer who says, yes I got great advice and service. Instead, there are any number of stories of what is euphemistically called 'misselling'. Perhaps we need another scheme of simplified financial products for those 'Jan' who already have some 'Dhan', but don't want to be parted from it.