December - 2014 - Special issue > Brand of the Year - Financial Advisory Services

FundsIndia.com: An Innovative, Cost-free Portal for Your Investments

Kavitha G.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Kavitha G.
The investment scenario in India has always been marked by two extremes. On the one end, you have high-end financial services that cater to high net-worth individuals and ultra high-net worth individuals; but on the other hand, a large segment of the Indian population, which constitutes the middle class, is ignored. To counter this imbalance in service and opportunity, two NRIs had come together in 2008 to kick-start a unique initiative � FundsIndia.com.

The men behind the platform, C.R. Chandrasekar and Srikanth Meenakshi, had spent over a decade in the US working for leading technology and finance houses. When they had their 'India calling' moment and moved back home to stay closer to their respective families, they found a serious dearth of services for mutual fund investments. That's how FundsIndia.com was born. Chandrasekar, CEO, FundsIndia.com, explains, "In 2008, there were no online distributors for mutual funds in India. We found it extremely difficult to invest our money safely in products of our choice. Moreover, the entire investment process seemed so complicated, what with all the paperwork, and manual management that was required. That's when Srikanth, a good friend of mine, and I decided to start a portal that would not just offer a wide range of investment products, but would also simplify the investment process and enrich an investor's investment experience in a cost effective manner. We began work on the platform in 2008 and by 2009, we were fully operational. There has been no looking back since then and the journey so far has been great." The bootstrapped venture was soon nurtured by firms like Inventus Capital and Foundation Capital, who helped fuel the company's growth.

India's first online investment platform, FundsIndia.com began its operations primarily as a mutual fund distributor. Soon, it grew to offer a wide array of investment products, and today, investors can invest in equities, corporate fixed deposits, 24 Karat gold, loans, insurance and more. Currently, FunsdIndia.com caters to over 4 lakh customers, with approximately 10 per cent of them being NRIs. Meenakshi, COO, FundsIndia.com, attributes the success of the platform to the fact that it is more than just a one-stop shop for different kinds of investments. He explains, "FundsIndia.com does not just function as an online store; we believe in going a step ahead and offering more to our customers through our value-added services. From free financial advisory services to flexible Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs), family account aggregation through a single login ID, investment triggers, Smart Solutions for important life events like retirement, children's education and marriage, Ready-to-go Portfolios, the system of a one-time mandate for any number of SIPs and more, our customers can make informed investment decisions for their future. All these services are complimentary with a free-for-life FundsIndia account".

Chandrasekar adds, "Prudent financial advice need not be expensive, need not be complicated and need not be hard to execute. We are making it simple, inexpensive, and convenient for everybody to execute good savings and investment practices. Once a customer registers himself through a quick and easy online process, he can start investing and using these services right away". Owing to the excellent quality of their advisory services and its scalability, FundsIndia.com was the recipient of the prestigious CNBC-TV18 � UTI National Online Advisory Service Award at the Financial Advisor Awards in 2014.

The platform is registered with entities like the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI), the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Credit Information Bureau Limited (CIBIL), the Central Depository Services Ltd. (CDSL), and the Central Insurance Repository Limited (CIRL). The biggest challenge for the organization has been that most people in India often overlook the value and importance of long-term investing using mutual funds. To help counter this fa�ade, FundsIndia.com has been striving hard to educate people on the many benefits of mutual funds through several online educational initiatives like FundsIndia University.

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