12 April 2021 23:46

LEADERSHIP TALK

Santosh Navlani, COO ETMONEY

1.How have things changed with the lockdown and pandemic for the fintech sector?

As digital currency becomes increasingly common across India, and work from home leading to less commute and higher savings, the fintech sector has seen quite a healthy surge in 2020. Also, there have been other tailwinds like increased financial awareness that have all led to an increase in the adoption of financial products and services amongst Indians.

2.Women in general have a different outlook and behavior towards savings. What are your thoughts on this?
Women focus on savings first, which means they tend to first maximize their tax-saving investments. On ETMONEY, women’s share of tax-saving ELSS funds in their portfolios is over 20% more compared to that of men. They also allocate more to safer assets like Debt Mutual Funds, and have also been successful in maintaining a near optimal Equity-Debt split for their age. This shows their deep understanding of each asset class and the importance of asset allocation. That’s where we see increasing women investing in ETMONEY’s SmartDeposit that invests in Liquid Mutual Funds and also offers instant withdrawal facility 24*7, 365 days a year.

3.At ETMONEY what are the relevant products you have for the aspirational women of today?
Financial services are mostly gender agnostic. It's the lifestage, personal preferences, financial goals, time period of investment or usage of product, risk taking ability and one’s tolerance to ups/downs in finances/investments that determine suitability of product to a customer. What is needed is awareness via education, bringing user context to that education and customizing/ personalizing the financial products mix to users, be it males or females. Due to greater penetration of smartphones & 4G, the accessibility of products has increased. And with higher accessibility, the competition and hence innovation/ simplification is on the rise.

It is this change that is getting accelerated in the market that Women are able to take advantage of rather than just products playing a big role.

4.Throw some light on the user base and the demographic of ETMONEY?
ETMONEY being a mobile-first way of investing, we primarily have a younger audience. The 25-40 age-group forms a larger section of our customers and more or less, the age-split is similar to males for women too. However, we see non-metros bringing a healthy influx of women investors. Women from cities such as Surat, Dehradun, Jabalpur, Bhubaneshwar, Mysore have joined the investment bandwagon in significant numbers.
The growth of women entering the financial services industry, while small, has seen a healthy uptake in the recent past. Currently, 1 in 5 users of ETMONEY is a woman, which is 20%. The potential is at least 40% if not 50%.


5. The Instagram effect can also bring financial ruin and we are seeing a culture of aspirational spending. Your thoughts and how do you plan to address this?
We tried to address this once via entertainment on how people buy things but don't use them and hence end up in wasteful spending. But that just made for a good video, nothing else

It's tough to overcome the power that instant gratification that some categories have....isn't it? As human beings, we have always aspired for a better lifestyle, higher status and greater prosperity. While we may not achieve all, the Instagram effect makes you think that possessing or doing specific things is equivalent to believing that you have at least one or all of the 3 (i.e. feelings of a better lifestyle, higher status, greater prosperity). At ETMONEY, instead of making people change their shopping behaviors, we believe in educating people on the power of compounding. . As the tribe of such people grows, we are 100% sure that a nice balance between Instagram-aspiring lifestyle as well as still being rich enough for one's future can be achieved.

6.The Best Businesses Are Built Around Passion. What are your views on this?
Tenacity is a more key ingredient than passion. I mean passion helps, definitely. But success requires staying out & seeing things through. In times of distress and continuous challenges, being passionate without tenacity doesn't go a long way. More often, I believe, that one mistakes being better at something like passion. When someone is good at something, s/he believes one is passionate. I think it's the other way round, people see success in things they are good at, and hence they like doing it. The more you like doing it, the greater success you see. And it then feeds into people so much that one thinks that s/he is passionate. So, I would rather be tenacious and passionate than just passionate alone.

7.One thing that you do every day that recharges and motivates you?
I read voraciously on consumer businesses and personal finance. The first one enhances my understanding of consumers, digital media and innovative ways to design awesome experiences, build products that are easy to use, and reach consumers. While reading on personal finances gives you more perspectives to educate the audiences we are serving. While personal finance is very simple - save enough, patiently invest for the long term, protect yourself through adequate insurance and limit your financial liabilities....the fact is very few of us do that. And solving this problem is changing or influencing consumer behaviors. And change is hard. I have been at this problem for over a decade and guess it's just the difficulty of doing this that motivates me day in & day out.

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