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The commoditisation of advice has its natural limits, even in India.

Just finished my first week in Mumbai, talking with advisers and fund managers. I love local travel: full of colour, noise and just a little movement. Average road speed less than 10 mph. Alternatives are faster but I am not brave enough yet to try trains and busses on my own. This limits meetings to no more than 3 a day. Mumbai is a big city with several business districts.

So what have a I learned about the local advice industry?

It’s big. Advisory numbers across India stretch into the millions

It’s being regulated. Following the UK’s Suitability Rules

Initial commissions on unit trusts were banned several years ago

Successful advisers here are not significantly different from their international peers.

Recognition, at least in the people who choose to meet with me, that change is inevitable. And the change is for the good.

Customers need to be treated as individuals not as ciphers is as readily understood here as anywhere else I work.

The planners I talked with readily agreed that the the only part of the planning process that was not subject to commoditisation was their relationship with clients. This bodes well for the enhancement of trust that is the primary requisite of capital market growth.

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