Need instant help? Join these adviser groups on Telegram

These groups on Telegram are helping advisers learn, network and bond.
By Ravi Samalad |  24-05-18 | 
 
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About the Author
Ravi Samalad is Assistant Manager - Editoral for Morningstar.in.

All about Money

Hyderabad based distributor Srinivas Lothugedda got a prospect from Gandhinagar who wanted to invest in mutual funds online. The prospect was not KYC compliant. Srinivas could not do in-person verification from Hyderabad. But he didn’t wish to lose the prospect. To get help, he posted his problem on Telegram group, a messenger application similar to WhatsApp.

One of the group members Vikram Chug from Gandhinagar volunteered to help Srinivas get the KYC done without expecting anything in return. Vikram met the prospect and performed the KYC. Eventually, Srinivas was able to facilitate client’s transaction online.

The Telegram group ‘All About Money’ is the brainchild of Ahmedabad based distributor Milind Shah. An ex-banker, Milind got into mutual fund distribution in 2014. As a start up IFA, Milind had a lot of business related queries. This made him start a group of IFAs on Telegram who could help each other.

Starting with five members in 2014, the group today has 2,900 members, managed by three admins: Shrikant Matrubai, Anoop Nasa and Milind Shah. The group has grown so rapidly that it has eight sub groups focused on specific areas (BSE Star MF users, MF Utility users, NSE NMF II users, social media experts, readers are leaders, LIC, GIC and motivation), including one meant for sharing jokes. Each sub-group is managed by one member. Help is not limited to business. Recently, one of the distributors client had to visit Varanasi. The group member from Varanasi arranged a cab for sightseeing and booked a hotel room.

Milind says that distributors can expect to get help faster in his group than going through the official route. Since officials from BSE, NSE and MF Utility are members of the group, it helps in faster resolution of queries.

Seeking counselling from mentors/peers is common but going out of the way to close a deal for a peer is rare. Nagpur based distributor Dewin Kothari got a prospect from Jamnagar. The client had never invested in mutual funds and required to be KYC compliant. Dewin got help from his peer Darshan Shah from Jamnagar who is part of this group. Darshan met the client, completed KYC formalities and deposited client's Rs 16 lakh cheque at local registrar and transfer agent office in Jamnagar on behalf of Dewin. These are some of the few examples of solidarity and friendship visible among the group members.

The group is expanding through word of mouth. The group’s co-admin Srikanth Matrubai once had his own group of advisers on Telegram but chose to merge the group with Milind’s ‘All About Money’. Now, Milind has requested each member to add two new members to take the membership base to 4,000 by June 2018.

With thousands of members with differing viewpoints, managing the group can be a challenge. To keep the group focused on knowledge sharing, it has strict protocol to moderate the discussion. For instance, no messages can be posted after 11 pm. A robo admin automatically deletes any message posted after 11 pm. Also, no discussion around brokerage/commission is entertained. Discussion strictly revolves around products and practice.

Recently, they have planned to invite one mutual fund chief executive officer every month for a freewheeling chat with group members. The first CEO to appear on this chat would be Neil Parikh of PPFAS Mutual Fund.

Advisers also share their strength areas. For instance, Deepak Khemani gave tips in the group on mastering Twitter. Anoop Nasa of MyFinkart talked about the tools advisers must use to boost their productivity.

MFD Universe

All about Money is not the only group on Telegram for IFAs. In 2016, Chennai based distributor Ramesh Bhat started MFD Universe group on Telegram which acts as a platform for learning. The group has close to 4,000 members.

This group too has strict protocol for members. For instance, to keep the discussion focused, members can only discuss one topic each day. Recently, the group held a chat on the topic ‘only trail versus upfront plus trail model’.

Monday is a silent day; no messages are posted in the group on Monday. “We don’t allow members to post scheme specific messages. The discussion should revolve around sector or category. Also, we discourage members from posting pirated e-book copies, pdf versions of newspapers, good morning/good night and season’s greetings. All messages need to be in English,” says Ramesh Bhat of  Aniram and previously served as the President of IFA Galaxy. The group is managed by four members including Ramesh.

Every Friday, the group invites one expert to speak on a topic relevant to group members. Past speakers include representatives from software firms, head of platforms, senior distributors, CEOs and fund managers. To join this group, search for MFDU in Telegram or contact Ramesh Bhat.

Benefits of Telegram:

  • The mobile numbers of members are hidden, unless you have saved their numbers as contacts.
  • You can search for old messages and download them anytime.
  • Besides using it on mobile, Telegram is compatible with desktop and laptop.
  • All information is stored on cloud. Thus, it will not eat up your phone storage. You don’t have to back up or store data manually.
  • Group member limit is 1 lakh.
  • You can create custom tools for any specific needs using our Bot API and Inline Bots.
  • Pin important messages to the top of the screen so that all members can see them, including those who have just joined.
  • Share an unlimited number of photos, videos and files (doc, zip, mp3, etc.) of up to 1,5 GB each. And if you don't want to store all that data on your device, you can always keep it in the cloud.
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