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Pick up a  financial newspaper or  a magazine you would see a section on personal finance makeover. In that section the person gives details about his investments, lists his/her financial goals with the underlying message “I have started investing, but I am not sure if my investments are enough to meet the future value of my goals” . The expert analyses, finds the loopholes in his investments, helps him to evaluate his goals and suggests the changes and the strategy which will help to achieve  their goals.

Let’s see some examples:From Economic Times Investment revamp critical for Kapadias to achieve goals
Pranay Kapadia, a 31-year-old research analyst with an MNC, stays with his wife, Radhika, 30, daughter Jayani, 2, sister Purvi, 29, and parents Chandresh, 62, and Mridula, 59, at their own house, in Mumbai He has a monthly income of Rs 54,100 and, combined with the average dividend earned from stocks and interest from fixed deposits, the total income rises to Rs 57,767. Accounting for household expenses, insurance premium, mutual fund SIP and home loan EMI, the family is left with a cash surplus of only Rs 6,042. This is inadequate considering the overhaul that their investment patterns need for achieving their goals. These include saving for their daughter’s education and marriage, plan for the second child, buying a car and building a corpus for their retirement.

From Outlook money Financial Engineering
Brajesh Kumar Rai, 39, is the sole earning member of his family. He works as senior engineer with a private construction firm in Hyderabad. His wife Rina, 32, is a homemaker. The couple have three children, daughter Simran, 11, and twin sons Sarthak and Saksham, 9. His father has retired and lives with the family in Bettiah, Bihar. Rai’s financial priorities are the education of his children and the marriage of his daughter. He also wishes to build a comfortable corpus for his retirement and has earmarked specific investments towards his goals.
Rai also plans to purchase a car and take out his family on a vacation, but these are his secondary goals.

What major financial goals does an average Indian family pursue? :  a car, a foreign vacation(s), a house, children’s education, children’s marriages and retirement.

This was answered to some extent by TNS’s survey Trends & Insights into Financial Goals of Indian Consumers conducted by Ameriprise Financial . They surveyed affluent urban Indian consumers age 28-45 with an average household income of at least Rs 12 lakh or $25,000 residing in major metropolitan centres of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. Through a series of focus groups, personal interviews and quantitative surveys the study found out their goals, aspirations and dreams regarding their financial lives, and the factors that influence them.

Family comes first

Financial goals revolve around the family. Irrespective of age, income or geography, affluent Indian consumers typically prioritize family-centric goals.
Ameriprise survey

Right Products But Wrong Reasons

Consumers are buying the right financial products for the wrong reasons. In many cases, financial products are being bought for reasons contradictory to the actual product benefits.
Ameriprise reasons why people buy products

Reasons why people buy financial products

The Ameriprise study talks about most individuals investing through real estate, insurance, gold and so on. But, none of these investors know if the asset class suits their profile. However, you need to match your requirements to an asset class before investing. “For instance, real estate and start-ups could work wonders for some individuals, while it may end up being disastrous for others,” explains Bimal Gandhi, chairman of Ameriprise Financial India.

Different Cities Different Preferences

There are strong preferences for certain products in specific cities. Every city has its preference for certain instruments. Mutual funds and gold are preferred by Delhi, Stocks are favoured by Mumbai, Chennai wants real estate and Bangalore is into debt.

Love thy neighbour is a common adage, but most people extend it to include financial decisions as well.People invest in what their neighbors invest. Purchase decisions are being influenced by geography rather than income, age or other demographics.

Different Products Different Advisers

Indian consumers currently rely on different financial professionals for recommendations on specific products. While most acknowledge that financial planning is a complex and scientific process, their awareness of the planning process is limited. Many view financial planning as a means to achieving a financial return, tax-saving benefit or short-term goals, decisions to invest are typically triggered by specific life events instead of being proactive or strategic. They feel that there is a lack of a single source who can serve their financial needs.

Ameriprise Source of advise


Indians Want An Advisor

Indians want an advisor. Consumers want an advisor they can trust to provide unbiased advice, simplify their finances and ultimately help them feel more prepared and confident about the future. But only a few have sought professional advice for a fee. Family and friends remain the most trusted sources of advice.

What are they looking for? Consumers are looking for professional services they can depend on. Consumers want a long-term and dedicated advisor who understands the complete product landscape and can provide a comprehensive suite of financial products and services to help meet their goals in a fully transparent manner.

Ameriprise financial advisors

Expectations from a financial planner


Ameriprise Financial Inc

Ameriprise Financial Inc, the US-based financial planning solutions provider, has begun operations in India. The 117-year old company has a client base of over 2 million in US and it manages assets of over $600 billion through its mutual funds and life insurance companies in US and Europe.  They are moving to India as “With the 34% savings rate, India offers great opportunity in the space of financial planning,” Ameriprise Financial president (financial planning and wealth strategies) Kim M Sharan said. “With its trillion dollar economy, India is not only an important market from a business perspective, but also one where our unique approach to planning could truly transform the way consumers manages their finances”.

Ameriprise India Private Ltd, Indian subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial, has set up offices in Delhi and Mumbai and plans to expand its reach to other metros in the future. The company will start with providing holistic and tailor-made financial planning for individuals having annual income of over Rs 20 lakh.They say that USP(unique selling point) of the company is going to be comprehensive unbiased advise at competitive fee through the well-trained advisors.  Livemint’s Ameriprise starts India operations of 11-Jan-2012 has a video of  Bimal I Gandhi of Ameriprise Financial, in which he tells why he believes his firm’s financial advisors are different and how he plans to retain them.

We must also bring to attention that as per Livemint’s Ameriprise starts India operations of 11-Jan-2012 the company,Ameriprise,  faced a lawsuit in the US in September by its own employees for offering Ameriprise funds in their 401(k) plan. This is because the company favoured its own underperforming funds over other better performing funds with a longer track record and lower fees. As per Kim S. Sharan, president-financial planning and wealth strategies chief marketing officer of Ameriprise  “We believe this suit has no merit. The case was brought by six mostly former employees after a long-running ad campaign by a law firm trolling for business.” For more details refer to Livemint’s Ameriprise starts India operations of 11-Jan-2012.or barron’s Employee Lawsuit Highlights 401(k) Fee Issue(OCT 22, 2011)

Financial Planning Services in India

Let’s see what Ameriprise  offers and other financial planning services in India.

Ameriprise are offering three plans,  namely Ameriprise Em-power (comprehensive financial planning worth Rs 12,500), Ameriprise Envision(plan for specific financial goal such as child’s education, buying a house for Rs 5000) and Ameriprise Explore(offering advice on specific products and investments, no charge).

Icicidirect has also recently started financial planning services which is a fee based fee based service for a face-to-face meeting Rs.7,500 and for a telephonic discussion Rs.5,000.

Jagoinvestor financial planning services Basic financial planning Rs 10,000 and Financial coaching Rs. 18,000.

Hemant Beniwal who writes about financial articles at also has his financial planning firm, Ark Financial Planners.

There are many more but idea here was to give a flavor of financial services available. Onemint’s Interview: Ray from Financial Highway  though old(2009)  is still relevant, it focuses on financial advisers and what you should know about them.

Why we wrote this

First a clarification. We have no tie-ups with Ameriprise Financial or other websites mentioned here. We found the information on the survey Trends & Insights into Financial Goals of Indian Consumers interesting and so thought of sharing it. The information about the survey is based on various reports(Business StandardBusiness Standard on Neighbours are not financial wizards, Times of India,  Ameriprise website, and images are from livemint ).

Does American company starting operations in India for financial planning for affluent urban Indian consumers signal a trend that affluent urban Indian consumers will move towards paying for organized financial advice? Will it help to demarcate advisers and distributors or reduce the conflict-of-interest issues with products which suits the client and sales commissions? Do you have a financial advisior? Will you pay to get a financial plan?

Disclaimer: We have no tie-ups with Ameriprise Financial or other websites mentioned here. We have not used their services personally and we are not recommending anyone. We are not finance professionals,  all content on this site is for general informational purposes only – you should not construe this as professional financial advice.  Rates and offers shown here may change  so please visit referenced sites for up to date information.