11-hour Customized Process. Not the 3-hour Robo++ Process

  • The 3-hour Robo++ Process is the prevalent model in India
    • The 3-hour Robo++ Process (with new clients) provides almost the same plan to all clients, just like a Robo-Adviser does
    • Additionally the Robo++ Process provides the client with around 1.5 hours of interaction with the RIA to clarify some aspects which are unclear 
    • The Robo++ Process typically requires the RIA to put in 3 hours of effort with new clients
  • I follow a 11-hour Customized Process with each client
    • The Customized Process involves 5- 6 hours of discussion and 5 hours of back-end work to go into sufficient detail with each client:
      • To identify at least one important issue that the client had not realized (e.g. that the client was taking too much investment risk) or address at least one critical question that the client has in mind (e.g. should the client retire now or later)
      • To explain the recommendation and reasoning in detail so that the client understands it and is hopefully convinced by it
      • To educate the client about critical aspects of financial planning and investing e.g. how do you calculate how much you have to save for retirement; asset allocation between equity / real estate vs. safe assets
    • I co-created the Customized Process in India along with one other Hourly-Fee RIA 
      • The 10+ hour Customized Process is similar to the approach of best Hourly-Fee RIAs in the US, where financial planning is far more evolved
    • The Customized Process in India typically requires the RIA to put in 10+ hours of effort (including discussions and back-end work) with new clients
      • The second half of this article provides an illustration of one part of the Customized Process in one particular situation
      • And this article in MoneyControl provides a bigger-picture illustration of the Customized Process
      • My process, with new clients, involves 5 - 6 hours of discussion (5 - 6 calls of 1 hour each, spread over 1-4 months).  Clients have to put in an additional 4 hours of effort apart from the discussions. Hence if it is not possible for you to dedicate that much of time, then this approach is not a good fit for you

Risk-averse Approach


  • I advise clients and occasionally, where critical, I try and convince a client
  • Clients take the final decision about whether or not to partially / completely accept each recommendation


  • Clients are responsible for implementing the Financial Plan. Typically, this is done online
  • I try to guide the client through the implementation of the Financial Plan, but I do not have any direct or indirect control over the client's investments

Logistics of the Process

  • Clients interact only with me and I do all the client work
    • There are (deliberately) no team members
    • So life-or-death recommendations about the client's future are not being made by a 23 year-old (unlike some RIA firms that have a large team of junior employees that provide such recommendations to clients) 
  • With existing clients and potential clients:
    • The primary mode of discussion is over pre-scheduled audio-calls 
    • I do not do face-to-face meetings  / video-calls with anyone 
    • I do not do calls when the (potential) client is in a noisy environment and / or traveling by road
    • (Potential) clients should use a headset (i.e. not speakerphone) during the call (Note: This is feasible even if the client and the client's spouse are both on the call together)
  • With existing clients:
    • Pre-scheduled audio-calls are typically, from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm
    • The only mode for formal investment advice is over email i.e. all other modes of discussion are only informal discussions (Note: This is due to SEBI regulations)
    • The client should be able to access a laptop / computer during every audio call
  • With potential clients:
    • Pre-scheduled audio-call are typically, from Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm
    • I do not provide any investment advice during this introductory audio call

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