Armstrong Ensures That All The Transactions Are Transparent And Fosters A Bond Of Trust With The Clients
Armstrong Capital is an investment management firm providing oversights and strategic management of every aspect of a person’s financial activity from asset management to financial planning, risk management to retirement planning. Armstrong strives to provide the best suitable solution to clients according to their risk taking appetite and their long term financial goals. Their advisory services are predominantly related to equity and debt avenues which includes mutual funds, corporate bonds, alternate investments, annuities and Insurances. Whether you are an individual or institution you want your investments to be managed by someone you can trust therefore Armstrong ensures that all the transactions are transparent and fosters a bond of trust with the clients.
About the CEO
The very talented and a visionary Mrs Manju Mastakar, who is currently the CEO of the Armstrong Capital & Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. She established the company in the year 2010, whose office is located at Bangalore. Under the leadership of her, the company is smoothly running with 25 highly professional and skilled employees.
Actually, her entrepreneur journey started in 2009, while she was working in an investment advisory firm and soon after the subprime crises, the firm had a lay off in the organisation and the clients that she worked with were left without any Advisor. This is the instance where she came up with a belief and vision to start her own business. The earlier days were completely full of struggle but yet she managed it with her strong will power and determination. It was like a one man show for her. Her motherhood and the entrepreneurship started at the same time. She set up the office at her home itself and would make calls and execute market trades. She actually is an inspiration to many.
But how far these things were going to last in her life. She wanted to grow and coincidentally in the year 2010 she met a person with a nobel idea, which actually turned the table for her. He was an investment banker, who proposed the idea of funding her so that she could do the things in more professional manner. The beam penetrated into the chaos of life and added a wonderful spectrum for her.
There were no time restrictions; she didn’t have to report to a boss, she could take rest from work to look after her baby. So here everything was in her ground. Her family also played a major role by supporting her to fulfil her ambitions.
In spite of having 10 years of experience into the corporate sector, entrepreneurship was completely a new challenge for her. The initial years were full of struggle for her. She started with 1 employee who would set up calls and handle the back office work. It was all about- “do it yourself and at the minimum cost.”
“Where there is a will there is a way” as it is rightly said. Her hard work and determination paid a price and finally from 2014 onwards the organisation grew rapidly, which got a good client base and more strength of employees to work. After that she never looked back.
“All the stories of hardship that I went through summed up into 1 word that’s call ‘struggle’.” – She added.
How do you stay on top of changes in the industry? What changes are you going to look more at now?
Our industry has been through a lot of changes, especially the complete digital transformation that took place during COVID-19 times. We were always a forward-looking organisation and adapt to technology changes very fast. What is more important, is adapting to the changing mindset of our clients. At every stage of life, the mindset of the client is different, and we do a lot of handholding to take them through the wealth-building journey.
Why choose ARMSTRONG CAPITAL?
We listen to and understand our customers better. Listening and understanding are two different processes. Many times customers come across as very aggressive investors but when we design an investment strategy, we use our judgement. Generally, clients choose us over the competition because of our honest advice, online execution, long term planning and most importantly, trust. We spend a lot of time with customers in the initial years, explaining to them and educating them. Once they believe that we have the right knowledge and we are working in their best interest, then the trust factor is built.
How are clients benefitting by doing business with ARMSTRONG CAPITAL?
We bring in the discipline of saving that was missing in the clients. We have instances when clients have raised concerns that ‘I have been investing in market-linked products over the last two years, but I haven’t seen any returns. Why should I continue to invest?’ Our reply to them is that no fund manager, portfolio manager or wealth manager can create returns or wealth. It is the client who has to build the discipline of monthly savings and stay invested over five years patiently to create wealth. Our continuous efforts to convince the clients with relevant data to prove this, helps them to be convinced, and over 10+ years is when clients really thanks us for helping them build a fortune.
Do clients typically accept your recommendations? In what way does the treatment of employees come into play?
Every recommendation is not a winning idea. I tell my clients to look at the long term. The stock market will fluctuate and in the short term, every recommendation we make may feel like a losing proposition. We stick to our shortlisting process and give a couple of options to clients. We explain to them the rationales, the various scenarios that can occur and involve them in the decision making.
Our employees are the face of our organisation. We encourage peer-to-peer learning since we deal with a lot of emotions of customers. By sharing these experiences employees learn from each other. We also focus a lot on internships and have a programme designed for them. We are open to accepting new ideas from newcomers and often give a chance to students who join from other professions. I believe that
“To innovate you should not have learnt about it before”.
What are your views on today’s industry scenario? What is your strategy to reach new industries and new customers?
I feel there is going to be a huge transition in the industry. I feel the individual practising persons will be going through a huge turnaround. The old ways of doing business are shifting gears, and app-based online trading is evolving. Social media is feeding clients with a lot of information, so to challenge that a lot of effort needs to be put onto researching for right fund picking. The blind faith kind of advice which existed a decade ago is fading and clients have become more aware and demanding.
With a lot of Fintech companies coming up, where do you see the industry headed?
Fintech companies and wealth management are both parts of the same ecosystem. Fintech companies are focused on more retail and entry-level investors. After a particular asset size, the investor realises that they need professional guidance and starts looking for that professional. The entry-level small investor is not our target client because to manage wealth we require a minimum portfolio size, then our expertise comes into play. With more Fintech companies coming up, it’s beneficial for wealth management companies as they create small fish.
What is the best advice you would give to first-time investors?
Stock markets will reward you with exponential returns if you are patient, but it will not give you lateral returns. If you are going to look at your portfolio every month and every year, comparing it with fixed deposits is not going to help. The market will take its own time to deliver returns over two years. The returns can be negative but over a longer time period of five years, it will definitely deliver exponential returns.
For investors who say “I don’t want to lose any money” what kind of advice would you give them?
There are no gains without pains. I get a lot of calls from investors in the first three years of their portfolio building journey. I tell them that if you’re feeling nervous, if this thought that you are losing money wanders into your mind, you need to keep looking at your portfolio every day and as soon as it comes to breaking even, then withdraw. These are normal feelings. Your risk appetite is being built up and the returns that you get are for going through this pain. A lot of the new generation of investors like to do it themselves. What would you tell them?
It’s good to explore, learn and teach yourself. When you make mistakes and especially mistakes that cost you money that is when you look for guidance. Our experience has been that a lot of such investors place their bets on past performance and star ratings. Unfortunately, both of them are not consistent, and over time, they look for guidance.
Is there a future in wealth management or will Fintech take over?
Human to human communication cannot be eliminated. Our job as a wealth manager is to manage our clients’ emotions more than money. Until, and unless, clients don’t talk to us, they don’t feel convinced and we also encourage that. Execution can happen online and we can use Fintech for that, but our personalised advice is what they cannot replicate. I feel both models will continue to co-exist and human advice and swift online execution are both required for an investor.
|Year of Founding:||Dec 2010|
|Funding Information:||10Lakhs (USD 13k)|
|Founding Members :||Manju Mastakar|
|Office Locations :||Bangalore|
|Company Strength :||25 employees|
Sources and references : Armstrong
Story Edited by : SwiftNLift Business Magazine Company