New-age Finance Advisor: Sonal Kotak
Sonal Kotak started her career in banking in the year 2000. Initially with HDFC bank, she moved on to Citi bank wherein she became a CitiGold wealth management specialist in 2001. But how did Kotak acquire clients when starting out on her own? She had an advantage there in the form of existing client base since she had worked for banks. However, instead of products, she made her company very client-centric.
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The founder of Integriti Investments Group, Sonal Kotak started her career in banking in the year 2000. Initially with HDFC bank, she moved on to Citi bank wherein she became a CitiGold wealth management specialist in 2001. She was a top achiever at CITI during her stint. After 7 years of banking experience, she started Integriti Investments, a boutique financial consultancy firm. The Baroda-based company offers services in the area of financial planning and wealth management, and offers complete digital solutions to its clients across India and abroad to NRIs.
Post 2007 came the global financial crisis and that phase helped us to deepen our relationship with our clients."
The company clientele includes corporates, HNIs, Multi-family office and NRIs. In its 15th year of operations, the company has a fullfledged team handling operations and services for clients, and offers online transactions for its clients through website and mobile App. The company has an AUM (Assets under Management) of 350cr+ across various assets spread over 150+ families. Says Sonal, "My profession helps my clients to reach their life goals and financial goals with ease and peace of mind. We secure the higher education and marriage expenditure of their children, plan a secured income for a special need child, and help them plan their own tax efficient cash flow in their retirement years."
But how did Sonal acquire clients when starting out on her own? Sonal had an advantage there in the form of existing client base since she had worked for banks. However, instead of products, Sonal made her company very client-centric. "Back then, banks were pushing MFs and insurance to the clients, and mis-selling was rampant. Post 2007 came the global financial crisis and that phase helped us to deepen our relationship with our clients. They appreciated the merit of unbiased advice. We became a one-stop shop for all advice and execution related to all the investment products."
Sonal recalls that when she started her consultancy in 2007, the market was predominantly male-driven. "Most of my clients were male and it was perceived that why they will follow advice from a female in money matters. However, when they interacted with me and assessed my knowledge and experienced the systematic ethical approach, they were on board. They in fact developed a better trust factor with me and my team. This helped me to break this psychological barrier. Also, during Global Financial crisis in 2008-09 and also during Covid, we were able to hand hold the clients and counsel them very effectively," says the gold medallist in MBA Finance.
Going forward, Sonal wants to reach out to more clients. "We are also evaluating a tie-up with global wealth management firms to offer off-shore products to our NRI clients and also to offer high end exclusive Investments to HNIs in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. We are currently exploring and offering specially curated start up investments at different levels. There is a huge demand for them not only from the HNIs but also from professionals and young Investors with high risk appetite." The company with an "All women Financial Advisory team" wants to focus more on financial literacy for women and students. "Young India has to carry forward the Indian ethics of savings and investment," says Sonal.