Team Optimist spoke to Kredent CEO Vineet Patawari — also Director of Kredent InfoEdge — who believes West Bengal is poised to become the next FinTech hub of the country…
Team Optimist: Kredent InfoEdge is now a leading financial literacy and education provider, offering certification courses in all aspects of financial markets in a tie-up with the stock markets and academic institutions through offline, online and mobile platforms. What are your future plans for this academy?
Vineet Patawari: We’re more than just an academy. The objective of our organization, Kredent InfoEdge, is to simplify finance. And to do that, we need to simplify various areas, starting with learning about finance, analyzing the available data and information and then planning investments and, finally, making investments, or executing the strategies that one learns. We want to help people in all these aspects and we’ve started training people, for which we’ve started the Kredent academy brand, which is a classroom-based training platform.
We’ve been running it in Kolkata for the past 10 years and we’ve got students from all over the country and even abroad who want to learn the financial markets with us. We’ve collaborated with the NSE, MCX, NCDEX for certification. We’ve become a very unique player focusing on the very niche financial markets, from where we created elearnmarkets.com to take the whole exercise online and we did that sitting in Kolkata.
Now, we have 150,000-plus learners from across the country and overseas — people who wish to learn about the Indian financial markets. To help people analyse the financial and stock markets, we launched Stockedge in 2014. Now, people can track their investments and find new stocks to invest in by using it.
About our future plans, we’ve built an app to help people in the last step, which is investing and tracking investments so that their money grows, for which we’ve launched the Kredent Money App. Here, people are able to plan their financial goals and investments.
Team Optimist: Tell us about elearnmarkets.com and how students from different streams can educate themselves about the financial markets on this platform…
Vineet Patawari: Our elearnmarkets.com is a platform where we have 100-plus courses covering all aspects of the financial markets — including fundamentals, technical, derivatives and various other areas — which are required for people to effectively trade, invest, or make a career out of the financial markets. We’ve got certifications, too, to help people build their resumé further and we’ve got courses targeted at professionals to study the courses on weekends and improve their trading and investments. These 100-plus courses are run by over 50 experts from across the country. Apart from that, we have a YouTube channel with 170,000 subscribers, where we share a lot of content for free to educate people in various finance areas.
Team Optimist: As a chartered accountant and entrepreneur, what suggestions would you give the government on policy-making?
Vineet Patawari: At times, I feel fortunate to be part of West Bengal, where we have a huge talent pool and that’s an advantage which sets this state apart from others in our country. I feel the start-up ecosystem in West Bengal isn’t bad at all, but can be improved. I believe West Bengal is well-poised to become the next FinTech hub of the country. After Mumbai, if there’s any city in India that’s got talent, it’s Kolkata. The city is good in terms of participation in the stock markets, trading and investment.
Team Optimist: As an alumnus of St Xavier’s College and IIM-Indore, what are your views on the education system and unemployment situation in the country?
Vineet Patawari: Our DNA is learning and we want to train people. That’s what we’re doing and that’s why I have a strong opinion of India’s education system. There’s a big void between what’s being taught in schools and colleges and what’s actually required at the workplace. Youngsters, too, feel the same. Fresh graduates are at a loss to understand what’s happening in the workplace. So, there must be a practical aspect to whatever’s being taught. That’s what we’ve tried. In a stock market, you need to trade, so we want that to be implemented across the board — in commerce, arts or science. Students should also be taught how to choose their careers. They are thoroughly confused after they graduate as very few colleges have placement cells, or actually assist students in getting jobs. It should be taken up at a mass level, where practical experience becomes an integral part of each and every curriculum.
Team Optimist: What are the career opportunities available to a financial market student?
Vineet Patawari: It’s been empirically proven that finance provides the most viable and lucrative career opportunities. But the financial markets are a sector which has very low penetration in India. There are less than one and a half crore Demat accounts — less than around 1% of our population that is directly investing in equity. This is going to surge. The same holds true for mutual funds, insurance and all other aspects of the financial markets. I think the future is very bright and there are new areas, such as algo trading, big data and so on coming up.
Show students who are trying to make a good career that they can also look at finance as a subject which has very well-defined qualifications. We’re trying to make such qualifications. One of our flagship programmes is an eight-month course for certification in research trading and advisory that gives a proper career path to a student of financial planning. We also give job assistance to people who do this course. So, I believe the future is quite bright.
Team Optimist: Recently, Kredent Money App, a financial goal-based app, was launched. How will it help a person who has limited knowledge about the stock markets and mutual funds, but wants to invest? How will it help fulfil the goals of people of different age groups?
Vineet Patawari: That’s a very good question. Our entire philosophy of creating Kredent Money was woven around this question. The assumption was that most people don’t understand finance and ‘finance’ is a complex term for most. So, when you enter the app and register yourself, it doesn’t ask you where you’re going to invest. It asks you what you want to achieve in life. If you say, ‘I want to retire by age 60 and want such and such kind of a lifestyle,’ it provides you with suggestions based on the questions asked and on the algorithm we’ve put and tells you where you can invest and how much you should save. It actually does the financial planning for you step by step and that, too, without much human intervention.
Similarly, if you want to go on a vacation about five years from now, it tells you this is your goal and this is the amount of money you will need. So, if you start investing today, you have two options: either you put in a lump sum money in mutual invest, or you go for a regular plan where, every month, you invest something. We, generally, call it SIP. So, it hand holds you in a very simple way, where a person with zero knowledge of finance can understand and start investing.
Team Optimist: Nowadays, middle income group people are showing an interest in mutual funds, SIP and lump sum investments. Your views on this trend?
Vineet Patawari: I think this is a very healthy trend. Overall, this has been possible by some very good brand campaigns, such as, “Mutual funds sahi hai,” and the amount of SIP going every month is Rs8,000 crore. Irrespective of the markets, SIP has been consistent. It’s a good trend that Indians have started investing in equity, which is an asset class and can give inflation-beating returns over a long period. But, at the same time, I’d like people to be cautious when investing in equity. It’s a more risky asset class compared to fixed deposits, real estate and so on.
You cannot enter, or exit, the financial markets very quickly. You must stay invested. So, when you go for an equity-based mutual fund, you should remain invested for a minimum period of 7, 10 or 15 years. The longer, the better. So, you should not jump onto the bandwagon because everyone else is doing so. If you don’t have the patience to remain invested and continuously keep investing and testing for 7 to 10 years, then ‘Mutual funds aapke liye sahi nahin hai.’