Manju Mastakar: The Power behind Armstrong Capital Advisory
As there is no single official definition of "Financial Services," it is impossible to answer the question, "How many women are there in financial services?" By the way 'fortune favors those who work hard' whether a person is male or female. The male dominated world was always reluctant to even acknowledge the fact that women were as good as men on parameters of hard work, intelligence quotient (IQ) and leadership traits.The new generation women across the world have overcome all negative notions and have proved themselves beyond doubt in all spheres of life including the most intricate and cumbersome world of entrepreneurship.India too has its own pool of such bold and fearless women who have made a mark for themselves both within the country as well as overseas. One thing we can all agree on is that female entrepreneurs don't get enough press, even the successful ones. Here The CEO Magazine has recognized one of inspiring ladies Manju Mastakar, Director of Armstrong Capital Advisory Pvt. Ltd. who could be considered an inspirational personality for us.
Manju is one of the most recognizable financial guides in the country. Her financial empire includes a variety of expertise like Finance Planner, Investment Advisor and a Wealth Manager. This one stop financial planning empire covers every area of your financial life and she works closely with understanding of clients' requirement.
Manju's relentless zeal, incessant quench for success and willingness to walk the extra mile has broken all myths about their inborn limitations that were supposed to be major roadblocks on her success expressway.
While speaking to The CEO Magazine, Manju says – "I started my career in the stock markets of Mumbai in the year 2000, I worked with various brokers like Rosy Blue securities, MotilalOswal, MF global as dealer, relationship manager. Later in the year 2007 I came to Bangalore and worked with HSBC and ASK wealth advisors. In the 2008 financial meltdown I lost my job. Industry was going through a very bad time and there were no jobs, so I decided to start on my own. I had few customers and I had initiated contact with a couple of more people, I started operating from home. I got empanelled with few service providers and started doing Mutual fund and direct equity advisory. Later in 2010 I met an angel investor who agreed to fund me and I started Armstrong Capital Advisory."
"The basic motive behind starting Armstrong and continuing it was that the way wealth management was dealt it the back end was not very encouraging. All the organizations were focused in getting the big buck quickly, selling insurances, selling structured products and I felt it's necessary to build up the relationship, understand the needs and then offer a solution", she asserted.
In a chat with The CEO Magazine
Please share the differentiating factors of the firm.
The biggest challenge that clients faced was frequent change in their Investment managers, frequent change in portfolio strategy, products with lock in were sold and everyone whom they met as Advisors would sell a product and move on.
When we meet prospects we looked at the whole picture, all the investments done till date like PF, PPF, LIC, Real estate, mutual funds and Insurances. We also looked at their liabilities. We gave a holistic view about asset allocation, plan to help them pay out their liabilities, plan to get an annuity so that salary is not the only source of Income. We set up review meeting at ever interval and touch back on the plan.
We had only 1 plan and 1 prospective through the wealth creation journey that what addressed the customers need and they stayed with us for a long time.
What are the future plans of the company?
When we meet customers they never knew that there is a profession like a Financial Advisor, our focus for the next couple of years will be to make awareness for this profession, people still have a lot of misconception and fear about Mutual funds. We want to reach out to more and more new investors and make them aware about Investing for long term.
Have you ever failed in your initiatives? What have you learnt from your failures?
Yes many times, I still keep doing something new every time. I believe that no books and no MBA's can teach you how to do business; it's only mistakes that teach you how to do business.
How many hours a day you work on an average?
I work for 17 hrs a day 10 hrs at work and 7 hrs as a mother and homemaker.
What is the best decision you've ever made?
In the initial journey of entrepreneurship when I was struggling a lot to survive I used to be tempted with many lucrative job offers. The best decision was to stay on and continue with the struggle.
Do you think your personal life is affected by your professional life? How?
I believe that there is nothing like work life balance, it's always work first and the rest of the things in life balance along with it. I take vacations twice a year and that's the quality time I spend with my son.
Whom do you attribute your success to?
I attribute my success to my husband Nihar without his support I wouldn't have reach where I am. Many startups fail in the second or third year due to financial crunch I thank him for all the financial support rendered during those years and also being accommodative with my long working hours.
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