Having completed five years in India with Rs 7,800 crore as assets under management and a customer base of 17 lakh, Ashu Suyash, MD and country head, Fidelity Mutual Fund, is eyeing a place in the top five. Excerpts from an interview with HT.
You are still a small player. What do you plan to do now?
We have grown faster than any player who came in at the time of our entry. We will do roadshows and talk about our funds. We plan to increase penetration in the existing 300 cities and will grow branches.
As an established global brand do you think it is tough to compete against domestic brands?
Initially it is a challenge but with time investors will start differentiating between banks and the capability on investment management. There is scope to bridge the gap. There is no doubt that local players are good but the key will be how do you do those different things, which a consumer lifecycle has gone through in other markets.
And how long will it take to bridge that?
We will begin to see that happening over the next five to 10 years. We want to be in the top 5 in the long-term.
Do you still see problems on distributors front?
We have found that our distributors find it uneconomical to serve small customers under the new regulatory environment. We are in the process of launching a platform in the next two to three months to help them.
What are the challenges here?
It is still the first generation investing in mutual funds in India. Also the debt market has to develop. In India, you ask the consumer to migrate from fixed deposits to equity products. Internationally you have a bond fund and balanced product. Here the entire thinking around MF is equity.