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In this episode of Engati CX, we are joined by Vikaas M. Sachdeva to talk about developing the mindset to move from being a Finserv to a Fintech.
Vikaas Sachdeva is the Chief Executive Officer of Emkay Investment Managers. With over 25 years experience, he is an expert in marketing and distribution of financial products, working as the CEO for Edelweiss and ENAM.
He was a former member of Mutual Fund Advisory Committee (MFAC), and has chaired the ETF committee of the Association of Mutual Funds of India. His work has been quoted by many newspapers and publications.
Summary of the interview with Vikaas M. Sachdeva
This section will contain a quick summary of our interview with Vikaas. But, if you’d rather hear it, we’ve got our Spotify podcast embedded below.
Vikaas’ learnings can be summarized into a few points:
One has to be a student and that’s been his biggest learning
Vikaas has had a background in marketing and sales and is running a Financial Services, or Finserv company. It wouldn’t have been possible if he wasn’t a continuous learner and a student. Vikaas has had to read often, interact with people, and learn.That has been one of the passions.
Being a good listener
According to Vikaas, these days, a lot of people hear, but they don’t listen. If we all just calm down and listen to what people are trying to tell you. Without judgments, without putting context to things, it really helps. It helps with developing your empathy, which helps you connect with customers, colleagues, friends, and family.
Having a sense of extreme ownership
Essentially, it’s saying-
Vikaas says this is something that one is born with, but anyone can develop this trait. It’s taking full responsibility for your actions. Not blaming others- if something needs to be done, you cannot depend on anyone but yourself. This aspect of complete ownership pushes you to learn more, read more, and listen more. It’s extremely important.
There’s no easy answer to this question. Especially if we’re asking about banks as a generic entity. However, if we were to look at banks as service providers, there’s been a fair degree of evolution.
There’s no “one size fits all” model in terms of banks adapting to technology and innovation. For example- people often talk about public sector banks not being tech-savvy enough.
An example to follow for tech-savvy banks are SBI (State Bank of India), or Bank of Baroda- whose cutting edge technology connects customers across the country or globally.
But on the other hand, you have to realize that public sector banks are also dealing with customers that are not tech-savvy. They have to cater to the technologically-impaired. This is where having too much technology acts as a drawback.
People come to banks because they trust banks. They trust banks because banks lend comfort. When it comes to the technologically-impaired, comfort comes in the form of human interaction. Too much technology will scare customers off. Vikaas currently believes there’s a judicious amount of technology in banks. Having said that, he also believes that this is something that is continuously evolving.
This is where lots of private sector banks team up with Fintech and give them sandboxes to operate in, to then adopt that technology. Yes bank is a great example of this. Where Fintech has been the primary source for their growth. They’re adopted Fintech. And they’ve given them the clearance, and the required cybersecurity to help them grow their business.
In a nutshell, when required, banks are adapting and evolving well. On the other hand, banks have to continue to adapt and evolve because they don't have a choice- customers are demanding this growth. But one has to realize that customers depend on that human interface so really, it’s all about striking that balance.
Non-banking Financial Companies, or NBFCs are fairly nimble with their approach. By nature, NBFCs have to continuously evolve, continuously go to their last customer while banks are unable to reach them. Which has led to a fair amount of adoption of conversational technology. While we aren’t too certain about the current use of AI, NBFCs want to adopt machine learning and artificial intelligence to grow.
NBFCs like Bajaj Finance, don’t benchmark themselves with other banks, but with Amazon. They say that what they have is data. What they’re good at is mining and processing data. And understanding customer credit profiles. The future is really bright.
According to Vikaas, what we need to do better is changing the mindset. Most folks in the industry, whether it’s investment management, or financial service companies- we look at technology as an enabler.
We need to change, to look at ourselves as tech companies where financial services is just a product.
When Vikaas was on the jury of the India Fintech Forum, he remembers a presentation where Policy Bazaar talks about selling mutual funds and getting advice. The old school mindset kicked in, so Vikaas asked them how they were able to do that. “How will they give advice? Isn’t advice supposed to be customized as per who’s asking?”
As it turns out, the advice that we think is customized, can actually be put into certain blocks. If we know what the customer is going to ask, we already have answers ready so they think we’re ready to give advice.
The same can be applied with banking and customer service, all you need is a bot to offer this advice to your customers.
The last time we saw a problem that affected the country (India) as a whole was demonetization. What happened was the entire payment system, the conventional payment system came to a standstill. After that we’ve seen the growth of the entire payment industry infrastructure. It caused the birth of the digital infrastructure.
Now with the current pandemic, with the complete lockdown... There are no human interfaces. Granted, chatbots were already used to carry out interactions. But there was always this reluctance from a customer point-of-view to share this much data with someone you haven't seen in person. And that was always something that hindered the experience.
You cannot have good customer experience if the customers themselves aren't willing to trust the chatbot.
Certain barriers have come down. The entire discomfort of not using impersonal tech has come down. People have to be more comfortable with using impersonal technology due to the reluctance to leave home. They’ll have to share more and more data. So industries like cybersecurity will grow. So now we have to work on automating these processes. Talking to a regulator to see how we can create an entire ecosystem along with our vendor so everything is automated.
For example, Vikaas has now taught his father how to use PayTM and order through Swiggy. If he wants something, he has to order it through his phone because he simply has no choice. People will have to shed their reluctance if they want to go about business as usual. Vikaas urges us to read “Thank you for being late” by Thomas Friedman. It’s something that has left a big impression on him. Opportunities are tailor-made for people to reluctantly adapt to change. And this is where we see the next “boom,” or wave happening.
Throughout the evolution of man, change has always happened at a pace that is slower than the rate of human adaptability to change. Three things which are happening currently, which are changing mankind. Change, rate of change, and global warming. Earlier the rate of change was not so fast, and humankind could adapt to it. But today, the rate of change is happening so fast that it’s taking time for humans and regulators to adapt to it. So be the time you have a set of regulations happening for Uber and Ola, you’re already moving on to driverless cars. Regulations will already fall behind schedule. Because the rate of change is very very fast.