Unleashing the Digital Power to Distribution

Café Mutual’s IFA event (CIFA) 2019 was held with the theme ‘Lago Raho IFA Bhai’, aimed at advisors and distributors interested in practical ideas and deep insights to grow their business. The event witnessed a spectacular gathering on February 21st, 2019 at Taj Lands End, Mumbai. A galaxy of speakers comprising India’s best-regarded advisors, experts, MF industry’s most celebrated CIOs, and top CEOs covered a range of interesting and carefully hand-picked topics.

Mr. Anuj Kumar President and CEO of CAMS  delivered a power-packed presentation on the topic “Digital Power to Distribution”- to enunciate why embracing digital technology is not an option anymore and how a wide range of digital initiatives are readily available for distributors.

Digital technology is transforming everything we do and is deeply influencing every walk of our life, be it purchasing products, consuming services and making decisions. The digital megatrend has set its footprints across every industry like financial services, government, retail, transportation, education and more.

Today’s digital platforms are empowering entrepreneurs to accelerate innovation for their business with quick access to markets, finance and marketing using plug and play digital tools. Mr. Anuj Kumar said, “Digital is helping enterprises and entrepreneurs completely reset and redefine service benchmarks”. He also highlighted that data-on-digital influence in financial products is among the highest.

The recent BCG report highlights 70% of urban consumers use digital in purchasing financial products. This trend is predominant in the insurance sector witnessing an end-to-end digital adoption of these services. Additionally, the private banks and their branches in India are fast becoming digital compared to their western counterparts. Bank customers are self-managing their transactions and the branches ensure the deepening customer relationship through the digital route.

Why do Mutual Fund distributors need to exploit digital power?

CAMS data points to 42 lakh new investors added in MFs for 2018 and the lion’s share of it, i.e. 10 lakhs, was done only by IFAs compared to other distribution sources.

Here are a few interesting facts shared by Mr. Anuj Kumar for IFAs:

  • 60% from T 30 cities – investors seeking digital services
  • 60% SIP – needs to be serviced digitally to investors over the next 3-4-year period
  • 50% of new investors are millennials – delivering a digitally powered service is the only way
  • 77% via paper – not a scalable model, has cost implications and severely limits growth

Digital Power from RTAs and AMCs

CAMS, being one of the leading RTAs in the Mutual Fund industry, has leveraged its superior technology and launched innovative products for Distributors

  • An eKYC solution for customer on-boarding
  • Digital transaction submission and statements
  • Mailback services provide a vast array of digital reports and MIS

A sneak-peak on the features upcoming CAMS Distributor platform was also presented:

  • Investor on-boarding with eKYC
  • Seamless transaction initiation
  • Generate investor statements
  • Vast reports and insightful MIS
  • Dashboards to monitor the business trends
  • Revenue tracker

The session was concluded with two key takeaways:

  1. The power of digital is shaping lives and businesses. This is the reality and the new generation is indelibly influenced by this digital power.
  2.  It’s a great time for IFAs to formulate a strategy to enable digital transformation in lockstep with their existing processes.
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CAMS Celebrates 5-Year Relationship with Hero FinCorp with a Road Safety Event

10-second takeaway: CAMS takes immense pride in building longstanding client relationships and work with Hero FinCorp over the last five years is one such example. To celebrate this significant milestone, CAMS conducted an event to build awareness around road safety.

Road accidents are a significant problem in Tamil Nadu. In fact, according to the National Report on Road Accidents in India (2016), over 14.9% of all accidents in India take place in the state. Tamil Nadu also reported the maximum number of persons injured in road accidents, accounting for 16.6% of the cases nationally. Nationally, two-wheelers seem to be the most vulnerable segment, constituting 34.8% of all road accidents. In 2016 alone, over 10,000 two-wheeler riders met with fatal accidents because they were not wearing their helmet. The solution to this problem is to increase adoption of safety measures, and the first step towards achieving this is building awareness.

To drive the adoption of these safety practices, we collaborated with Hero FinCorp to create an awareness drive. “As a retail financing service provider, Hero FinCorp has been an integral part of India’s growing presence in the global two-wheeler market. At CAMS, we take great pleasure in being the technology backbone supporting HFC’s growth for the last five years. We are honored to commemorate this occasion with a cause that addresses a problem as important as road safety and are glad that the event was a great success,” said, Abhishek Mishra , SVP – Banks / NBFCs, CAMS.

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The event kicked off at MRC Nagar with CAMS employees carrying placards that underlined the importance of road safety.  In an act of positive reinforcement, the volunteers then handed out 50 bike helmets to commuters riding without them.

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An internal version of this event saw 7000 employees in attendance, further spreading the message of responsibility and safety on the road. While this was a small step in the right direction, we believe that a concerted effort can drive longstanding change in the journey to a safer India.

Investing in SIPs has just gotten a whole lot easier with digiSIP

“Mutual funds Sahi Hai”

If you are reading this post, it’s unlikely that you haven’t heard this line before. The campaign, which has added 40 lakh new investors over the past year ending June 2018, suggests that Mutual Funds are being considered as the right choice of instrument by first-time investors. SIPs being the preferred route for individual investors saw exponential growth in the last 12 months with over 1.25 crore new registrations contributed by both seasoned investors and new investors. While awareness has been a catalyst for this growth, the importance of the quality of investor experience cannot be discounted. First-time investors and even existing investors continue to grapple with one question – how to invest? Ease of access, speed and simplicity are the unstated demands that all investors make.

Enter digiSIP

Our latest digital innovation, digiSIP, transforms the SIP investment process for both investors and distributors. digiSIP’s range of features helps existing and new investors start an SIP with ease. However, that’s not all. Every aspect of digiSIP has been built with a focus on the end-user, ensuring that the product isn’t just efficient and easy to use, but also addresses real problems.

For instance, we have found that the fear of complexity and poor experience are two of the main factors that keep first-time investors from getting their toes wet. Starting an SIP takes about 30 business days via traditional channels.  Also, when you’re looking to build a diversified portfolio, it can be frustrating and cumbersome to go through inefficient paperwork, time after time. digiSIP transforms that experience through best-in-class tech paired with a user experience designed to be intuitive and seamless. Here is a look at some of the platform’s features.

Quick and Paperless way to start an SIP with CAMS serviced Funds

digiSIP has given the SIP registration process a complete digital overhaul. Now investors can start an SIP faster than before—in just seven business days, with absolutely no paperwork. The digital interface also helps investors and distributors track the progress of their SIP registrations anytime they want, anywhere they want.   All this and more across 15 Mutual Funds serviced by CAMS.

Hassle-free registration

New investors have the added benefit of completing their e-KYC online to ensure a hassle-free SIP registration process. Once an investor is KYC compliant, they can start an SIP online without submitting their signature. Existing investors can set up SIPs in just a few clicks with the help of digiSIP’s powerful pre-filled forms. Click-based data entry eliminates the need to fill in the same information across multiple forms and also speeds up the process and eliminates the chances of data input errors. Investors can also choose to set up multiple SIPs simultaneously helping them save time.

Ease of payment with eMandate

CAMS eMandate helps investors and distributors start an SIP faster than before. It is aimed at helping investors seamlessly register mandates online. The same mandate can then be used as a mode of payment across multiple SIPs or to make lump-sum purchases. You can register an eMandate in just about 2-3 days, unlike paper-based mandate forms which can take up to 10-20 days for registration. Valid for both existing and new SIPs, a single eMandate allows investors to invest in multiple SIPs and stagger their investments across the entire month.

digiSIP for distributors

digiSIP helps distributors simplify their sales processes and improve operational efficiency with the help of a built-for-purpose workflow, allowing distributors to focus on what they do best – building their business and enhancing their customers’ investing experiences. The platform’s click-based data-entry helps distributors save time by enabling the setting up of SIPs for their investors in just seven business days. Distributors can also make any necessary changes online with only a few clicks.

Technology is integral to progress, but at CAMS we believe it’s equally important to package and deliver innovation in a manner that improves the user experience. We see it as our responsibility to guide the progress of the industry and continue our heritage of moving the Indian financial ecosystem forward. digiSIP is a significant step in that direction.

So, don’t wait to get started. Visit www.camsonline.com now to learn more about digiSIP. It’s time to give yourself the investment experience you deserve. With digiSIP, mutual funds and SIPs ‘aur bhi sahi hai.

Discussing what an AI-driven future holds in store for humans with Dr. V Kamakoti

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the focal point of a lot of debates in the technology industry. These debates range from ‘The benefits and challenges that accompany AI’ to ‘How AI can help pave the way to the future.’ TiE-Chennai and CAMS recently collaborated to host a discussion on the “Boons and Banes of Artificial Intelligence” with Dr. V Kamakoti as the main speaker. Dr. Kamakoti is a Professor in the Department of Computer Sciences and Engineering, IIT-Madras. The focus of this discussion was to analyze the extent of integration required to ensure Artificial Intelligence functions at an optimum level and how it could improve the efficiency of performing daily tasks.

During his talk, Dr. V Kamakoti highlighted the effect these AI-based technologies have on the way that businesses operate and succeed. He further delved into whether AI would overpower humans in the future – which is a growing concern with rapid advances in AI technology. Conversely, Dr. Kamakoti also spoke about the extent to which AI-based technologies can assist humans in the near future. He foretold that each technology that we see as AI right now would be democratized over the course of a few years.

However, the question about AI overpowering humans has spawned a long-drawn debate. As Dr. Kamakoti puts it, “If AI can solve our day-to-day problems, we will see it as a boon. But if it creates machines that can replace humans and affect their livelihood, we will consider it a bane.” But will all forms of AI intervention be considered a bane? Certain industries that thrive on automation, such as the manufacturing industry, would flourish if the factor of human error is eliminated completely. By introducing intelligent machines to handle mundane and repetitive jobs, AI can speed up business processes and make the entire operation cost-effective. This would boost the company’s bottom-line and improve the opportunity for success.

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In the Indian market, however, there is the issue of social acceptance. The recurring argument about this adoption has been the effect it will have on the employability of certain individuals in their current job-roles. While automation has already affected people in the same capacity, adopting AI-based technologies and tools would put the onus on humans to push their thinking forward and take up job-roles that require them to be more human. This would include jobs in psychiatry, counselling, teaching, and other intuition-based jobs. Jobs like manufacturing, coding, and data management could easily be automated and replaced with AI.

Nevertheless, by improving the proliferation of AI-based technologies across the country, we can also ensure there’s a deeper penetration of AI tools. Implementing these practices and making use of these tools can help transform the skillset of our workforce into a more creative or intellectual one. AI systems can perform well-defined mundane tasks at scale in less time. In the current scenario, adopting AI tools and technologies is the need of the hour to drive operational excellence and help businesses succeed.

On a concluding note, Dr. Kamakoti emphasized that the adoption of AI systems and tools can reduce human errors in every industry without removing the human aspect of each action. But this advanced level of automation can, in turn, affect the employability of the nation’s workforce. It is, therefore, critical to find the right balance between the new, ground-breaking technology and existing systems that are currently in place. With humans and AI complementing each other, the economic future of our country can be very bright indeed.

BCP Assurance against the unforeseen

10-second takeaway: In order to constantly deliver exceptional service to partners, CAMS has launched a new site as a home for its Business Continuity Plan (BCP). The new BCP site in Coimbatore will ensure CAMS’s services are always available in a seamless manner regardless of any unprecedented events.

As a technology-driven business enabler for the financial sector in India, CAMS has had the opportunity to provide exceptional value to various BFSI players in the financial services industry.

CAMS processes nearly 20 crore transactions annually for the Mutual Fund industry on their proprietary technology platform and infrastructure, powered by a vast network of front offices across 270 locations and centralized back offices at Chennai and Coimbatore providing 24×7 accessibility around the year to investors and distributors alike.

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At the heart of its operations, the company believes in providing uninterrupted and seamless services to all its clients. With this in mind, CAMS has invested in setting up a specialized Business Continuity center. This center has been set up in the city of Coimbatore and acts as a supporting and disaster-proofing structure. This data center ensures continuity in business processes in the face of any natural calamity.

On the 1st of December, CAMS unveiled the new BCP center in Coimbatore as part of its drive to improve its technology infrastructure. The event was attended by the Heads of Operations and Technology of its various clients who interacted with the BCP team at Coimbatore. The clients expressed delight and satisfaction at CAMS’ preparedness and investments to assure business continuity at its highest standard.

The identical data centers in Chennai and Coimbatore are equipped to perform in all functions even in a stand-alone capacity, if the need arises. This also adds a layer of redundancy to the data, increasing data security. A site like this essentially states the major functions of the business, identifies which processes need to be sustained, and details how to maintain them. The focus continuity is bearing in mind the various possibilities of business disruptions. These could range from cyber-attacks to natural disasters, making it absolutely vital for CAMS to have a risk-mitigation plan to preserve the health and reputation of its processes. The functionality of the BCP site will be put through rigorous testing frequently through periodic simulation.

The enhanced center in Coimbatore will take Business Continuity to the next level with dedicated resources carrying 30% of critical activities simultaneously on a permanent basis. Alongside the data center, CAMS has also reinforced its technology infrastructure by building improved redundancy which includes better network connectivity between Chennai and Coimbatore by subscribing to NLD (National Long Distance) lines and extra bandwidth for MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) lines.

This development stands as a testament to CAMS’ dedication to ensuring there are no interruptions in the many services it offers to its clients, investors, and distributors.

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The overall goal of such a site is to eliminate or minimize the impact of an event on the business. The new site in Coimbatore also plans to improve the employment opportunities by creating an additional 450 jobs by March 2018.

The BFSI Industry is constantly making new headways into the digital realm and the need-of-the-hour is seamless and secure digital services that are available when clients and customers require it. This need is enhanced by critical functions being in play around the clock, across the globe. CAMS meets this need through a robust Business Continuity Plan paired with state-of-the-art infrastructure, the latest technology and highly committed personnel to deliver value to every stakeholder, even in the face of disasters.

How leap-frogging technology can help reshape the insurance industry in India – S. V. Ramanan, CEO-CAMSRep

10-second takeaway: Technology is evolving rapidly and many insurance organizations are challenged to keep up the pace.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) held the 10th edition of their Global Insurance Summit on the 22nd of September, 2017. This event was held at the Hotel Taj Land Ends, Mumbai, and hosted key stakeholders and thought leaders in the insurance industry. The discussions held at this event aimed to highlight the impact of technology on the insurance industry.

S. V. Ramanan, CEO-CAMSRep was part of a panel discussion at this event where they discussed “The impact of technology on the life cycle of products, lead generation, acquisition, KYC and service settlement”. This discussion was also attended by R. M. Vishakha, Samrat Das, Trevor Bull and Srinivasa D (Moderator). This panel discussion focused on how technology has disrupted the insurance industry impacting their product lifespans, lead generations and service standards. Technology is growing by leaps and bounds, and industries such as insurance need to be prepared to adapt to these developments. Innovations such as these would require the vendors to modify their offerings and would improve the expectations of their customers.

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During this panel discussion, S. V. Ramanan highlighted the pace at which technologies have evolved and how many insurance organizations are now being challenged to keep up with these changes. Further into the discussion, he spoke about how insurance repositories have turned into a platform which would help insurers underwrite better and identify gaps much faster. Along these lines, not only has CAMSRep has worked on improving Customer Service and Claims, it also has deployed predictive analytics to help improve persistency for life insurance companies.

In simpler terms, it helps companies simplify the customer on-boarding process. He further added that CAMSRep makes the most optimal use of current technologies rather than awaiting potential future developments. We have all seen success in cases where social media has helped allocate agents to potential customers. A similar focus helps these agents have conversations with customers beyond insurance products, in turn, building a level of trust and a better bond.

In the end, the key takeaway from the panel discussion was that technology is evolving rapidly leading to process improvement while opening new avenues for customer engagement. It is critical for insurance organizations to keep up with these developments so as to ensure customer centricity and business growth.

Cafémutual Confluence, 2017 – Anuj Kumar, COO – Asset Management Services, on how there is a need to improve the number of distributors

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.