VR Logo

A new beginning

Watch the latest video in which Dhirendra Kumar talks about the all-new Value Research Online and addresses some of your concerns

 

 

Thank you for using Value Research Online and giving us your feedback. Value Research Online first started in 2001. These were the early days of the internet and it was a big achievement that we were somehow able to put together a website which was able to help retrieve information on mutual funds and democratize information. Everybody got used to it, to comparing funds, looking at detailed information on specific funds, and then monitoring their investment portfolio through the 'My Portfolio' section.

And over these 19 years, we kept getting the feedback and kept improving bit by bit. This is the site you have been used to for 19 years. Millions of users got addicted to it, started following it closely, and this became the place. And it remains the one place where you can get almost everything and anything on mutual funds. So 19 years is a long period to get used to something. You get addicted to it.

And now we have made this big leap which was needed for a variety of reasons. One, we've been using the same technology we were using in 2001, and it was not maintainable anymore. So technology wise, you know, we were quite outdated, and were experiencing great difficulty in finding people to maintain that site. So that was one. The other was that, you know, a legacy which was built by 19 years of evolution had its own clumsiness. So we we were we were struggling with it. Making small changes in our old website was a very hard thing. So we kept noting all the changes that were requested by all our users and we accumulated these.

We used this opportunity of changing the technology platform and the user interface in a manner where over the last six months with the launch of the beta website we started getting feedback. A lot of people have complimented us on this. But a good number of people have also complained about why it was needed.

So why was it needed? I've explained that to you. But we could have done without any interface change. Yes, we have gotten used to the old one. I'm also facing a similar problem in the sense that it's a change. It's a big change. But we made all the changes very thoughtfully. In fact, if you look at every small bit that has undergone a change... one big change is that Value Research Online has far fewer ads. It's a free website. So advertising turns out to be a major revenue stream for us. And we now have fewer ads. So we have consciously taken a decision to have fewer ads, which enhances the user experience of, you know, reading things or looking at data or looking at information on funds, stocks, your portfolio. It'll be better. And so we did that. It is better organized. What used to have five pages on a fund is now there on one page and without any compromise on the information that you get.

I'll just try and explain and demonstrate what I mean by this. For example, just now I got a mail from one of our users complaining that he found the SIP information on any fund very useful, but not on the new website. Now, let me look and explain that this is a fund and you have this SIP return and you can change the date and make all these changes. So five-year SIP returns or whatever. So you do it. And it refreshes. Now in the new website, it may not be visible upfront, but it is there. I look at a fund, I get this and I get this graphic. This is just the trailing returns. This is where you get the discreet period returns and the SIP returns. What you were used to was spread over two, three pages is now at one place, better laid out without any compromise on a single piece of content. Another user complained about the expense ratio, which was at the top of the page, is not there anymore. Not really. Expense ratio is important. Expense ratio is right here on the same page.

Let me just assure you that there won't be any deliberate omission of any information which was there earlier. We have been very conscious of it. If there is an omission from our site, if there is something amiss, let us know. We'll fix it. The idea is, you know, we have just reprioritised things. We have put in the best of our effort to simplify things, make things easy to understand.

I would like your feedback and I would like you to try out things. Because we have done all the reconfiguration very thoughtfully, not in a rush over the last four or five years.

The stock coverage has improved substantially. So I would say that there are a few great advantages of using the site now in the new format. But you will have to settle with this inertia, which I'm also facing, you know, my reluctance to change. And so it'll take some time to get used to things.

This website is a fully mobile-optimised site. Most of the time I'll be going to bed and trying to look at the investment value on my phone. I would just like to point to the simplification bit where all your personal investment information used to be what's called My Portfolio. And based on our research, we figured that most people don't understand what 'My Portfolio' is because the word portfolio is used in different contexts. And for common people, it could be a portfolio of documents, it could be a portfolio of pictures, it could be a fund portfolio. So we have just, you know, looked at this nomenclature - My Investments, so it is unambiguous. It's clear. Besides that, it's now a fully mobile optimized site, which was a very important objective because for 70 to 80 percent of our users, mobile is their only device. They don't use computers anymore. It happened gradually, but it now dominates. So being a website where you can have all the functionality working efficiently on the mobile phone was important for us. And that has happened.

Now a lot of you are also asking me when will we have our app. Very soon, I'm unable to give a date to it. But, you know, the work is now underway. And as the relaunch of the website stabilizes, you should expect our app soon.

A unified knowledge centre. There was a thought behind it. We thought that there are broadly five triggers which one should look at. One is a lot of people are struggling with where to start, how to start quickly. What are the steps? So there are two parts to it, which will be addressed here through all kinds of interactive content as well as trying to answer your questions, which is how to go about doing things, KYC, the mechanics, the nuts and bolts. The other is which one? And this is where we intend to help you quickly.

Then broadly, all investors can be divided into two kinds. You know, the people who are in the accumulation phase, they're earning and they're saving for the future. And there are people who have saved for a lifetime and they need to invest and derive a periodic income. So Investing for Growth and Investing for Income. It could be for any goal. But broadly, most investors get classified in these two broad categories, and your roadmap, your path, the way you approach it will change based on that. Tax saving is a big trigger. Most people get up in the month of January, February to invest so that they can save tax. Tax saved is money earned. And so that is another. Then insurance - buying protection for your family against health issues. Or if you are not around. That's a very important goal and that needs to be addressed in a methodical way. So the Unified Knowledge Centre broadly addresses these five things in different ways, provoking you to think differently, think logically, objectively about these things.

And look at the tools. The stock coverage has been enhanced substantially in the new version. So you can look at all the Guru screens, what not. And all the content that you see on the new version, I've been a user of it. We did not hire an external consultant to design our website. We just, you know, got some of our users, ourselves to try and figure out what we would like our website to do for us. If we have to look for a stock and if you trying to filter it, what I'll be looking at. And if I have zeroed in on a company, all the information that I would like to look for on that company to begin with, all that is available in the public domain; how it should be presented to me so that I can make a thoughtful decision, choice.

So that has been the driver behind all the content, all the information that you see on the website. And that will remain like that. We are not going to impress you. We would like to be useful. We would like to ease your ability to absorb this information. We would not like to impress you with fancy graphs for the heck of it. And we have to make a choice. Sometimes you might find that something which is very important is at the bottom of the page. Give us your suggestions. We'll be open to making all the changes which will enhance the usability and will be of wider appeal and which other users will appreciate.

This is just the beginning. If you look at My Investments, this is a radically different one. But here, too, based on our first beta release, when a lot of you actually suggested to us that when you came to My Portfolio, you were used to the snapshot view earlier, portfolio summary and the snapshot view, which was not there in our first release of the beta. And then we went about making some changes because all of you have been so used to this. We introduced this overview section. Overview section is a replica of the Snapshot. So you will get exactly the same feel, same experience. We are still making some changes and there are some issues which needs to be addressed like, you know, the annualized one day return. Yes the number is looking funny. We are fixing it and we'll be fixing these things on an ongoing basis. But what this Portfolio Manager does is...it will require another long session for me to explain all it does. But you can look at point-to-point return, analysis of your portfolio, capital gains statement. It's almost a reasonable advisor and recommendation based on your investments done over a period of time. Easy to absorb.

If you look at the dashboard, you get your asset allocation. It gives you very basic information, structured and organized in a manner that will help you decide and act in a different way. You can course correct your investment behaviour based on facts, not based on opinion, not based on somebody's analysis, not based on somebody's maybe vested interest, somebody prompting you to do something which you shouldn't be doing. You will have all the information, all the facts in place.

I think Value Research Online has been designed to empower you to decide things, to do things yourself with confidence. So get used to it. Give us your feedback, we will be improving. We are open to all changes. And thank you, so many of you, who have said that this website is wonderful and you don't have a substitute. Thank you very much for using it all these years. Give us your feedback and we will enhance it.

We have been getting a lot of feedback from a lot of old people who have been using our website. Some people are saying that the font should not be grey. It should be black. We are just thinking, you know, the design people did it. We'll try and enhance it. We are extremely conscious of all your feedback and we'll be making these changes as time passes by. So keep sending your updates. Keep sending your feedback. And keep exploring, because there is nothing amiss in the new website and I'll be getting back to you with answers to your more specific questions, which we have received in large numbers to clarify things. Thank you very much.