The Successful IFA

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

Are Successful people only those who have High Networth? I am not using Highest otherwise Mukesh Ambani will be the only successful person in the country.

By the way, I totally disagree with the question posed. First the word “successful” is subjective and means different things to different people. My simple definition “Any person who has made a difference in the lives of people has lived a successful life – whether he/she made a difference in just 2 lives or left the world better than what it was before”. I also say that successful people never retire from learning and continue to do their best work irrespective of whether the world recognizes them or not. They want to be the best in their profession not to show others or to win awards/accolades but to do true justice to their profession. This is my view of looking at the world and the word success.

However, there is this mad obsession of equating success with high net worth. This is like saying the best doctor is one who earns the most or has built several hospitals. I know that in every profession, the best can charge premium or super premium fees but that is not the case in our profession. I will not get into this area as the objective of this post is to discuss who makes a successful IFA. Yes, I have addressed my philosophy on this subject above but will get into some broad level thoughts on who makes a successful IFA.

When I entered this profession as a Financial Planner 15 years ago, I was bubbling with enthusiasm to make a difference by my skills, and service offering (I had left everything in the US and come to India to start). In the CFP convocation session where I was getting my certification, I met a very senior gentleman from this industry. I excitedly went up to him and told him about the Financial Planning work I was doing. The first question that this gentleman asks me “What’s your AUM?” Seriously “What’s my AUM as if this is what defined me”. I said “ZERO” He was not interested in the work I was doing (fair enough) but if you had to really open your mouth and say/ask something “What’s your AUM?”. Is this all we know? Is this how we demonstrate Skills and the body of work we do? I stopped wasting my time on such people or such associations where they held positions (because I knew what the culture was going to be).

I see the industry has not changed much from that era. It is still the same where people with higher AUMs are looked at as successful people. It is just that now I have an AUM label behind the work I have done, and people look at that. However, this does not define me nor should it define you.

I can tell you this much from experience that most people have only grown their AUM (nothing wrong with it and it is great) but the real questions you should be asking yourself are the following:

  1. Are you making a REAL difference in the lives of your clients, and prospects?
  2. Are you making this profession /industry a better place? Are you getting people to start believing in this profession/industry?
  3. Do you have genuine Thought Leadership? Are you learning?
  4. Have your SKILLS grown?
  5. Has your KNOWLEDGE and WISDOM about the profession grown?
  6. Have you invested in making your profession proud by building something world class (not winning some stupid competitions and awards)?

I will end this post with 3 inspirational quotes that are the mantras that I have practiced (they have driven the outcomes for me, and I think will do for you too).

Winston Churchill said “The Pessimist sees Difficulty in Every Opportunity. The Optimist sees Opportunity in Every Difficulty.” Needless to say, there is opportunity all around us. Read the previous Nano “When Preparation Meets Opportunity”. This is the time to capitalize on the abundant opportunity available to us and simply DO IT.

Steve Job’s said many brilliant things but these 2 are outstanding “If You are Working on Something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The Vision pulls You.

People who are crazy enough to Think They can Change the World, are the Ones who Do.

Your Vision and your Drive to make this profession/industry a better place and make a real difference in the lives of people will make you SUCCESSFUL beyond your wildest imaginations.