Message for Investor
December 12, 1969. Chicago, USA. Braving a typical harsh Chicago winter day, Loren Dunton called a meeting at O’Hare Hilton, which was attended by 13 like-minded financial professionals. Loren was worried and uneasy : the investments business in the US was dominated by an “investment opportunity” led sales approach : push hot financial products to American savers. Loren found in the 13 professionals who attended the meeting, a common desire to turn this around. “Why should we take a product and sell it to whoever will buy it? Why can’t we be on the side of the saver, find out what she needs and then go out and get her the right financial solution for her needs?” – that was the simple question that Loren asked. Thus was born the Society For Financial Counseling Ethics in 1969, which marked the beginning of what we know today as Financial Planning. The first batch from the College of Financial Planning graduated in 1973. From then to today, the principal code for all financial planners has been simple – move away from selling investment opportunities, to understanding what your clients need. Be investor centric, not investment centric.
There have always been infinitely more investment sellers than financial planners, and there always will be – it’s just so much easier! Worldwide, there are around 150,000 professionals who chose to work investor centric – who have chosen a profession that binds them by a code of ethics to be investor centric and not investment centric. That’s a small fraction of the number of financial services professionals who sell a variety of financial products to investors, worldwide. In India, we have over 20 lakh financial services professionals who sell insurance and mutual fund products and offer stock broking services to Indian savers. There were, at last count, only 500 SEBI Registered Investment advisors across India who chose the path less travelled, who took up a profession that mandates them to be investor centric rather than investment centric, and binds them by a strict code of ethics to be so.
Brijesh Parikh is one of those 500 RIAs in India who have consciously chosen to take the road less travelled – to be bound by a code of ethics that mandates him to be investor centric and not investment centric.
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