Eight decades ago, Fred Schwed wrote a book titled “Where are the customers’ yachts”. The question was inspired by a visitor to New York, who after seeing the yachts of Wall Street bankers, wondered where the customers’ yachts were. The book takes a hard look at Wall Street in the 1940s, showing how the business of giving financial advice is more lucrative than that of receiving financial advice! Unfortunately, the question and the book aged well and the assertion holds true to this day.
As the emerging affluent segment in India grows they face a similar challenge. Tech-led, transparently priced, customer-obsessed products have disrupted many sectors over the last century - travel, commerce, local services, food delivery, mobility etc. However, the wealth and asset management industry remains slow in product innovation, stubbornly opaque, and is heavily mis-sold. To start with, the odds of successfully managing wealth are significantly against the average investor. 80%+ of large cap mutual funds underperform the index benchmarks, quality advisory is difficult to come by, and differentiated asset classes are usually inaccessible. Consequently, this emerging affluent segment invests sub-optimally or doesn't invest at all!
These 30M+ emerging affluent households remain poorly served for their investment needs; the existing solutions just don’t work! DIY tech platforms offer a marketplace of products, but they lack the sophistication in advisory and personalization. Meanwhile, traditional wealth advisors cater only to the high net worth individuals.
A large emerging affluent segment, poor experience and outcomes that haven’t changed for a long time - We have long believed that this space is ripe for disruption!
A truly disruptive customer-first model will be curated by high-quality advisors, while remaining low cost; tech-led, while providing the ability to consult experts; tailored to individual needs, while being a breezy experience; and, in the end, deliver superior risk-adjusted returns and help fulfil financial and life goals! These feel like dichotomous goals when we look at solutions available today. dezerv. aims to bridge precisely this gap.
dezerv. offers a refreshing approach to tech-led investing for the emerging affluent segment in India. As soon as we met the founders - Sandeep Jethwani, Vaibhav Porwal and Sahil Contractor - we were awe-struck by their insights and customer obsession. Within a week of our first meeting, we signed up to lead the seed round! We are delighted to have been joined by Matrix and other marquee investors as we lead dezerv.’s seed round.
The founders are former Senior Managing Partners at IIFL Wealth, who each have decades of investing experience. They come from ‘within’ the industry and therefore know exactly what needs to change. At IIFLW, they worked with high net worth clients to structure investing solutions and provide expert advisory that helped significantly grow their clients’ wealth. Along this journey, however, they realized that the majority of working professionals in India lack access to such differentiated solutions and an expert investing approach. In April 2021, they decided to launch dezerv. with the aim of helping underserved Indians better manage their wealth.
The product is bringing in something new to the world of tech-led investing—an Integrated Portfolio Approach. An approach that is built for the customer (and not the advisor), one that is transparently priced and almost effortless for the customer. Going beyond just helping select individual mutual funds, this approach enables investors to create superior multi-asset portfolios that are tailored to individual needs. Moreover, dezerv. members unlock access to differentiated asset classes and products, an access so far available only to high networth individuals.
We are excited about the increasing financialization of savings among Indians and are big believers in democratizing access to financial products for customers across the affluence spectrum. That’s why we are super thrilled to invest in dezerv. and partner with them on their journey to redefine how Indians invest and grow their wealth. Next time you are by the coast, start looking for the customers’ yachts!
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