10-second takeaway: There is a dire need to better train the distributors to understand and utilize the technology at their disposal to better meet constantly evolving customer expectations.
Cafémutual Confluence is the largest mutual fund distributor conference in India, attracting close to 400 distributors, and many other thought leaders and stakeholders across the industry. The sixth edition of the event was held on September 22nd at the Sahara Star, Mumbai with “Play big, think bold” as the central theme. The deliberations aimed to set the agenda for AMCs and distributors to work together to expand the industry and set new standards.
Anuj Kumar, COO-Asset Management Services, CAMS participated in a panel discussion at this event. The topic of this discussion was “Reinventing Distribution – Top distributors will look at how regulatory actions, evolving customer expectations, and technology will require a re-engineering of the distribution/advisory model”. This discussion was also attended by Dhruv Mehta, Jignesh Desai, Nitin Singh, Rajesh Krishnamoorthy, Suresh Sadagopan and Sanjay Sapre (Moderator). The focus of this discussion was the decrease in the total number of serious intermediaries and the dire need to have a mechanism to improve the number of distributors. The need to improve this solely rested on the vacuum that exists due to the availability of data but the lack of actionable insights. Revamping the distribution model to attract and train smarter distributors would help AMCs and other stakeholders improve the sales of their offerings. In short, there is a dire need to better train the distributors to understand and utilize the technology at their disposal to better meet constantly evolving customer expectations.
During this panel discussion, it was noted that inflows were coming in primarily from existing investors and a few newly added investors. Some of the suggestions made to increase the number and quality of distributors were:
- Create an ecosystem comprising of the AMFI and the IFA which promoting it as a full-time profession.
- Engage with the government and introduce mutual fund distribution in commerce and economics courses.
- Highlight the enormous potential the business holds, to prospective entrants.
- Instill a sense of pride in distribution – ensure that distributors understand that they are delivering an important service and that they are engaged in a ‘noble profession’.
During this panel discussion, Anuj Kumar underscored the need for a ‘superior enablement’. He went on to further highlight that this would entail imparting the right training and providing distributors with intelligence as to where the wealth and surplus lay. This training would comprise improving distributors’ ability to sell, developing their presentation skills, and ensuring they get the right inputs and pointers to succeed in the field. This would ensure that distributors not only feel more confident but also realize that they’re well appreciated by the IFA community.