Business Spotlight

ELSS A Viable Investment Option: Says Misbah Baxamusa, CEO, NJ Wealth

ELSS: A Tax-Saving Investment Option Recommended by NJ Wealth CEO


ELSS A Viable Investment Option: Says Misbah Baxamusa, CEO, NJ Wealth
  1. NJ Wealth recently recorded Rs.1,600 Cores of Live SIP book per month. How do you see this? And how do you plan to scale up this further?

NJ Wealth has always believed in long-term wealth building through disciplined investments with the help of SIPs. We have been strongly promoting long-term SIPs for investors for over two decades now. Over the years, our simple and consistent focus and language, coupled with the hard work of our Partners, has helped us create a SIP Book of over Rs.1,600 crores with 55 lakh live SIPs today.

We continue to spread this message of disciplined savings through various channels - both digital and physical and with one-on-one interactions. We are also reaching out to investors with investor meets in cities & towns across India and also in the digital mode very frequently with good speakers. There is still a long way to go, as many are yet to start their first SIP.

  1. Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS) offer tax benefits under Section 80C. Do you recommend ELSS funds as a good investment option?

Any choice of asset class or product is a derivative of the investor’s risk profile and investment needs. And yes, we do believe that ELSS is a good investment option for investors looking for wealth building within the ambit of tax savings (in the old regime) and having a suitable risk profile to match the risk nature of the product. With the lock-in period of just 3 years, it does strike the right balance between liquidity and the need to stay invested for the long term, ignoring the short-term market volatility. To those who are not sure, I would recommend getting in touch with a mutual fund distributor for further guidance.

  1. Do you think the role of the intermediary is crucial? Specifically, when it comes to investor's education and what kind of expectations investors should have from the intermediary?

Every investor is different at many levels. Be it knowledge, experience, maturity, risk appetite, financial needs, financial situation, or expectations. One also has personal biases and behavioural traits which one may not even realise. Further, there can also be constraints on the time and effort one is willing to spend on the investment activities. One has to appreciate all these aspects important in an investment journey and the kind of impact it can have over decades. To me, it is an easy answer as I can visualise the role and the impact a good intermediary, say a mutual fund distributor, can have over the foreseeable future in my investment journey, considering all these aspects.

Typically, an intermediary should and would try to understand your risk profile and your investment needs and then suggest the appropriate asset allocation from time to time. He/she would hand-hold the investor during volatile markets, encourage investments, help one stay invested, and avoid investment mistakes and market noises. With time, the intermediary may help you become a better investor with knowledge sharing and by controlling negative biases and behavioural traits. He/she would also be someone you would rely on for execution & support-level services. The impact of these things may not be easy to comprehend and can only be experienced with time.

  1. What are your observations regarding the emergence of B30 towns and their potential to attract investors, including those from urban areas? Additionally, what are the key interest areas of these investors?

India is a diverse country, but the differences are getting blurred in the digital era. Today, any person in any corner of India has access to a similar level of knowledge and information and enjoys similar ease of access to financial markets. The awareness is much better today, and there is also a growing presence of MF distributors in smaller cities & towns. We believe the growth trend will continue with growing awareness and confidence in the product as well as with the growth of distributors in underserved areas. Typically, a new investor from B30 often needs a nudge from a person he can trust to start the investment journey.

  1. When considering the evolution of intermediaries over the past five years, could you provide an example that highlights the changes in this concept?

I would say that the COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst in the adoption of technology. Today, an intermediary is not thinking just of his local market and personal connections but is thinking across geographies. With customer onboarding, transactions and meetings all getting digital, the scale at which the intermediaries operate has expanded for those taking advantage of this digital transformation.

  1. How has the industry evolved in recent years, and how has your company adapted to changing investor needs and preferences?

As already said, going online and going digital has been a major change. At NJ Wealth, we have always been strong advocates of technology and have believed in empowering our Partners and investors the best we can. Even prior to the pandemic, the NJ Wealth platform was 100% digital, and it was during the pandemic when our Partners and investors actually realised its importance and advantages. We continue to build and improve on our NJ Wealth Platform to offer the most comprehensive, holistic and end-to-end experience to both our Partners and the investors.

  1. What are some key challenges faced by MF intermediaries, and as a company, how are you addressing them?

One of the key challenges we feel the MF intermediaries face is transitioning to the next level and scale of operations. We find that a lot of intermediaries are comfortable working either alone or with a very small team. However, the change from an individual to an institution is where a lot of new skill sets and abilities as an entrepreneur and administrator need to be learned and practised. At NJ Wealth, we have many super successful intermediaries working as true entrepreneurs, but we find that the potential to work at that level lies with many others, too. Our experienced sales team regularly engages with such Partners in one-on-one business planning and coaching. While the tech platform is capable, we are also helping them with human resources and other such business aspects.

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring individuals wanting to enter this career path?

I would simply say that this career path holds very good promise for someone who loves to work with people and see them succeed. There is no capital requirement, and the required knowledge and skills can also be easily gained. However, like any business, one has to be fully committed as the initial years may not yield the kind of monetary satisfaction one would have liked. If one can persevere through the initial days, it can be satisfactorily rewarding in the long run. For those who are already engaged in any other business or profession, one can also see this as a part-time business to build the initial momentum before getting into it full-time. Do reach out to us at NJ Wealth at any of our local offices or digitally if you are interested in exploring the opportunity further.