Brainchild of investment guru, Pranjal Kamra, Finology is a financial education and investment platform. It offers e-learning courses, a commission-free robo-advisory solution, and ‘Ticker’, a stock research interface. Finology’s journey started back in 2017 as a YouTube channel that cleared the industry’s biggest misconceptions. In 2018, it transformed into a dedicated fintech platform following a strong demand by Finology’s YouTube subscriber base. Kamra talks to TOI about how the platform aims to capture the entire lifecycle of an investor from training to research and, ultimately, investments. Excerpts:
When and why did you start Finology? Take us through your journey.
The journey of Finology began as a YouTube channel back in June 2017. My years of experience at the National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) made me stumble upon a major need-gap. Financial services are heavily missold in India and abroad, especially when it comes to investment advisory. India has also been a laggard in terms of equity investments. On average, the world’s second-most populous nation attracts a mere 3% of spends in the equity space as compared to the global average of 40%.
With the problems identified, I set out to find their solution and brainstormed with multiple industry experts on various issues. Our hours of contemplation and research finally took shape as Finology. Our guiding principle was to eliminate the sheer lack of awareness amongst investors through unbiased pieces of advice. My childhood friend Priya Jain joined the team shortly after as a Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer. It has been a smooth ride ever since. We today cater to a growing user base of 12,000+ customers with a strong team of 41 employees. We enlighten people with all relevant topics of the investor lifecycle. At the same time, we also drive transactions, investor education, and advisory. The response has been really well with constantly growing traction.
Are you a SEBI registered company? When does a company qualify to be SEBI registered?
Yes. In fact, we are the first and only SEBI-registered investment advisory company in Chhattisgarh. To qualify as a SEBI-registered investment advisory firm, the company needs to meet the net worth requirements and the minimum qualification criteria. For companies, the current net worth requirement is Rs 50 lakhs. Also, before applying for the registration, one should have a post-graduate degree/diploma plus 5 years of relevant experience alongside NISM certification.
You’ve recently launched a new product as a website, Select. What kind of problems does it solve?
Retail participation in India is constantly increasing. However, individuals can only invest in stock markets via a stockbroker at present. Now, every brokerage firm has its unique pros and cons. While a broker might be cost-effective, it could also face technical snags frequently. Its customer support might also not be as satisfactory. Since people – especially first-time investors – are not aware of such intricacies, they end up losing critical time and money owing to these factors. We have launched our Select platform to solve this challenge.
How India’s growing startup ecosystem is playing its part in disrupting the fintech sector?
Over the years, several innovative fintech startups having the potential to scale globally have emerged in India. Some of them have already initiated their global expansion across advanced markets including the U.S., Japan, and Europe. Such expansions have only been possible because they offer a unique proposition to the relevant customers and the market at large. They are addressing major pain points that prevail in the domestic and global markets. So, it can be said that the disruption has only begun. With a dedicated startup ecosystem in place, we have perhaps not even scratched the surface yet.
Indian stock markets have hit all-time high despite the lockdown, is it a good sign or bad?
Stock markets are a barometer of market sentiment. As we know, growth is integral to any market. It is why even after the worst of meltdowns, we have seen sectors bouncing back and reclaiming new highs. I believe that the current all-time high reflects the optimism of the market and the sheer growth potential in the short and long terms. However, valuations are something that any investor must stay cautious about. An all-time high is never a good entry point for investors because of the market cycle. It’s usually a downward trajectory as the market corrects its prices after hitting its peak. So, the entry into the market is quite dangerous at present. Investors must wait till the prices correct and buy during the dips.