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The money multipliers

High net worth individuals, or the very rich, are a growing breed in the country. That is why wealth managers like Vaishvik Toprani are sought after — they tell the rich how to get the most out of their money.

mumbai Updated: Dec 13, 2010 01:23 IST
Sandeep Singh

While most of us prefer not to bring work home, Vaishvik Toprani is on the job even when he is with family. When the 32-year-old private banker is not multiplying the wealth of high net worth individuals, he is using his expertise to secure the future of his wife, Samiksha, an information technology consultant, and five-year-old son Avyay.

Toprani has a challenging job — to manage the wealth of senior executives, including chief executive officers, who belong to the high net worth category and know exactly where their money is going. High net worth individuals or HNIs are those who have investible assets worth more than $1 million (Rs 4.5 crore approximately).

According to the Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Global World Wealth Report 2010, India had more than 1.2 lakh HNIs in 2009, twice the number in 2008. The number is only expected to rise and that means wealth managers like Toprani have a lot of work coming their way.

After seven years of experience with HDFC Bank, managing people’s wealth comes naturally to Toprani. He was clear he wanted to make a career in the equity markets when he joined Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration, with a major in finance.

Eight years after getting his management degree, he is doing exactly that—advising people on investing in the equity (stock) and the debt markets, where debt securities such as bonds are traded, to get maximum returns.

“Private banking offers an entrepreneurial role and drives us to work independently within the compliance and research of the bank. It is very satisfying and there is no upper limit to your growth,” says Toprani, who started his career in 2002 with Motilal Oswal Financial Services and joined the private banking arm of HDFC Bank a year later.

The financial markets have seen bad days and those, Toprani says, are the most challenging to deal with. He recalls the financial crisis of 2008-2009 when the stock markets fell sharply and the Sensex dropped from over 20,000 to a little above 8,000.

“It was challenging to manage clients’ emotions because many of them lost money in equity. We had to give them the right advice at that time to retain them,” he says.

Today, the market has a lot of opportunity because the economy is growing and many domestic players and multinational players have entered this space, Toprani says. “With economic growth, many people have seen their money multiply several times over the past four to five years so the target segment is much larger now and the industry has a lot of potential,” says Toprani.

Playing in the global markets means people like Toprani have to update themselves on developments, not only in the domestic market, but also internationally. “The pressure is positive, but there is barely room for error.”

Apart from academic qualifications and skills, operating in the equity and debt markets requires a high level of integrity. “Winning the client’s trust and maintaining it is the key to success. It is important to pass on the right information to the clients at all times,” says Toprani.

His family, of course, trusts only him when it comes to managing their finances. Toprani has invested in mutual funds through systematic investment plans for Avyay’s higher education. He has also taken adequate life cover to ensure his family has a security net.

Toprani feels he was lucky “to be in the right segment at the right time” and says the kind of products, opportunities and money coming into the market ensures high growth. “The vision is to get more money and manage it well and try to become the primary wealth managers for clients,” he says.