Men who dreamt to make your dreams come true – Empowering people to discover financial freedom

Abhishek Gupta, the founder of Moat Wealth Advisors, worked in the corporate sector for nearly 5 years, ventured into financial advisory business by setting up ‘Moat Wealth Advisors’ in 2009. While both insurance and mutual fund sectors had evolved, coming from a business background, Abhishek could sense a big opportunity for a client focused practice. Abhishek states “My savings helped me sustain the first 2 years. Since this business is not capital intensive, my savings from my working years were sufficient.” His Partner, Subhash Chawan also joined him after quitting his job in 2014.

Moat has a strong value system and Abhishek and Subhash state “We focus on customer awareness and education about financial planning instead of selling products and services. In the financial advisory business, there is lack of awareness about importance of investing as well as the correct and profitable way of investing. We also do financial awareness seminars in companies for the same. We ensure that our sales people work only in the client’s interest. There is no bias towards any product, service or company”. And Moat stands by this till date. Subhash believes that hard work pays off and most of the weekends and public holidays are busy days for both partners as most clients are free only on weekends. It’s been a long time since they’ve had a real vacation but they are ready to be there 24×7 for their passion. Starting without any clients from their earlier jobs, the first few years of their practice saw a slow start as they relied only on referrals and leads they attracted by events done across corporate houses. Their business picked up from 2015 after Abhishek started making an appearance on business channels like Bloomberg UTV and ETNOW on their personal finance shows. He also started being quoted regularly in the Economic Times and Money Control and also maintains a blog where he shares his perspective about the developments in the financial markets.

Practice

Abhishek says that since the very beginning his focus was on financial planning and not just distribution. His early adoption of financial planning concepts helped his clients sail through the crisis that shook the markets in 2008. “Everything from equities, real estate to gold was going up from 2003. Concepts like asset allocation, portfolio rebalancing looked very academic at that time. Booking profits looked foolish because the markets only went up. A lot of our clients realised only in 2008 that risk mitigation is important, a practice which we have always followed,” recalls Abhishek.

Business Model

Their success mantras are – honesty, investor awareness and technology. Subhash follows utmost transparency in sharing facts and figures with their clients and solve their queries with utmost ease. To convince clients that he first tests the water by investing his money, and after experiencing a strong result back up, often shows clients their personal account statements. This way, the clients get convinced about the sincerity of their recommendation.
Moat has embraced technology for the convenient access of client’s investment portfolio. Moat believes in keeping the traditional values intact and upgrading from the back office operations focus to client engagement and portfolio management. Moat has a mobile app which helps our clients monitor their investments, be it Mutual funds, stocks, FDs, commodities, real estate, etc. Also, the app makes accessing the portfolio in real time possible. The goal calculators help in planning for the future.

Most of Moat’s clients have enrolled for complete financial planning with them. Most of the clients who come to Moat for investment products eventually end up enrolling for comprehensive financial planning. Their value proposition is clear – Add meaning to a client’s finances and add time to client’s life. They try to see if they can add to these two aspects in a client’s life before taking them on board.
Needless to say, Moat does not charge their clients who have enrolled for investor advisory, even post the entry load ban considering that no client should be deprived from a genuine financial plan, due to fees charged.
Moat has conducted more than 100 training sessions in the areas of personal finance and investments under the name ‘Discovering Financial Freedom’ at Havells India ltd, DHL logistics Pvt. Ltd, Tata institute of Social Science (T.I.S.S), Godrej & Boyce Ltd, ONGC and various B-schools and colleges in the country.

Image: Top left Abhishek Gupta and next to him on right is Subhash Chawan
conducting a retirement planning session for senior leaders at ONGC

Though they have a wide range of products to offer, from insurance, alternate investments to commodities, their major thrust is on SIPs and single goal based plans. Most of their SIPs are perpetual. Against the industry average ticket size of each SIP Rs. 1500, they claim to have an average ticket size of each SIP of Rs. 7200.

Moat has refrained from tying up with any single insurer so that their advice remains fair and unbiased. Unlike a broker they can offer holistic solutions from a host of mutual funds, insurance companies, portfolio management service providers, companies providing extraordinary FD rates. This definitely gives them an edge, offering a comprehensive plan with wider choice of financial products.

From here on, their aim is to scale up business to RS 500 crores by 2020 through word of mouth, awareness sessions and online marketing activities like social media and internet marketing. They want to reach out to a larger audience but do not want to compromise their values and systems.

Advise for young entrepreneurs

  • Is entrepreneurship an inborn trait or can it be developed by anyone?

Entrepreneurship is a state of mind. An entrepreneur takes risk and builds a business Idea into a cash generating business. If a person has an intent towards starting up on their own, it can be developed. The confidence in the business plan and future of the business makes him an entrepreneur. Its an in-born trait which needs to be developed with the help of a good network.

  • What makes entrepreneurs give up and go back to jobs?

Bad financial management is where most entrepreneurs fail. Entrepreneurs are optimistic about sales but forget to focus on expenses, which becomes a problem. Working capital management becomes tough when there is less revenue in the 1st year. Also over confidence on the success of the product or service can be an issue in the long run. The sales projections should be modest considering the challenging market.



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