Top Fee-only Financial Planners in India (Part-4)

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Financial Planning is a very noble profession. I rate financial planning profession on par with other sacred professions like medicine and teaching.

The main responsibilities of a financial planner are to improve his/her clients’ financial health and also to wipe out financial illiteracy. Hence, I always believed that a financial planners’ work is as noble as doctors or teachers.

So, finding a competent and ethical financial planner is very important and can be a challenging task. You need to engage with a financial planner who acts in their clients’ best interests.

Just imagine going to a doctor and they recommend you take a drug, only to find out that they get kickbacks (commission) from the drug company every time they recommend it. While the doctor may say they are helping you, it leaves you wondering who they are really working for. 

Categories of Financial Advisors

There are two broad categories of financial advisers/ financial planners as below;

  • Product sellers (advice can be ancillary or incidental to business) – They generally do not charge any fee from their clients but receive commissions form financial services providers. For example ; Mutual fund distributors, insurance agents and banks fall in this category.
  • Pure Advisors : They charge only for the advice offered and do not accept/receive any commissions from financial service/product providers. SEBI Registered Investment Advisers fall in such categories.

As per SEBI Investment Advisers Regulations – 2013, the SEBI registered IAs are prohibited from accepting any commissions. They can only charge fee to their clients.

Who is a Fee-only Financial Planner? – A planner who charges a flat fee to his/her client is a fee-only financial planner. He/she does not get commission from any other sources. The fee is not linked to the assets being managed. Hence, it makes sense to opt for a fee-only financial planner.

If you are a DIY investor (Do It Yourself), you wish to create a financial plan and manage your finances all by yourself. In case, you would like someone else to assist you to manage your personal finances then you can entrust your personal finance matters to a fee-only planner.

I have been maintaining a list of popular fee-only financial planners (but I am not associated with them) whom I believe are very talented, honest and follow good business ethics. I have been following their work closely & interacting with them for the last many months and I can confidently say that these individuals are some of the best financial planners (FEE ONLY) that you will come across in India.

I had already published three articles on ‘popular fee-only Financial Planners in India’. Suggest you to kindly go through the below links..

Let me now present ‘my new list of top fee-only financial planners (Part-4)‘. Kindly note that this is definitely not a comprehensive list and is just based on my personal observations and interactions (directly / indirectly) with them.

It’s just that I am fortunate enough to know about these financial planners and have been learning a lot from them. I am sure there are many more such popular & best financial planners who are equally talented (if not more) that I am not in touch or may be not aware of (personally)..

Let’s learn more about them in their own words. Below are their responses to the questionnaire that I have requested them to complete.

My List of Top Fee-only Financial Planners in India

Below is my latest list of popular fee-only Personal Financial Planners in India ;

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  • Shashi Singh of Finmyn.com
  • S R Srinivasan of SriNivesh Advisors (Srinivesh.in)
  • Sriram Jayaraman of Arthagyan.com
  • Upasana Mondal of Dreamblueprintz.com
My list of popular Fee-only Financial planners India

Shashi Singh | Finmyn.com

Shashi Singh Finmyn
Shashi Singh
  • Are you a Fee-only Advisor/Planner? : Yes, I am a Fee-Only Advisor. This means that my fee is not dependent on the assets of my client. The fee is only for the effort and the time required to create a plan and support the client during the engagement period.
  • Type of your firm (LLP/Pvt..)? : Individual
  • Is your firm registered with SEBI as IA? : Yes
  • Year of Starting your firm/advisory services : 2018
  • Year of starting fee only planning services : 2018
  • Brief about your company : The name of my company is FinMyn (an abbreviation of Finance Mantra). More details available at finmyn.com. Ethics and integrity are the core of my company. I will not give any advice to my client if I am not willing to apply it to myself. I value honesty and transparency. My success is reflected in my client’s satisfaction and happiness. Their trust is my company’s greatest asset.
  • Do you provide Comprehensive FP services? : Yes
  • Do you provide Financial plan execution support? : I do not execute on behalf of my client to avoid a conflict of interest but I do provide them with all the necessary support to enable them to do on their own.
  • Brief about yourself (qualification, total work experience, number of years as fee only planner, hobbies, interests etc.,) : I have an MBA in Finance from Carlson School of Management,Minneapolis, US, in addition to a B.E. degree in Computer Science. Prior to joining this profession, I was in IT for 20+ years. Helping out people with their finances has been my passion for years. In 2018, I chose to do this formally by becoming a SEBI Registered Advisor.
  • Number of clients (only FP clients) : I do not disclose the number of clients but in a very short period, I am supporting clients from multiple geographies including Middle East, Singapore, Hong Kong and the US in addition to those from India. The extensive stint abroad has helped me understand and appreciate the unique challenges of NRIs and help them.
  • Fee range (approx& optional) : The fee is fixed Rs 25,000 (as of today) for the first year contract irrespective of the client’s assets. I educate my client so that they can do it on their own in the subsequent years but if they want to continue with the engagement in the subsequent year, the fee is 50% of the inflation-adjusted fee of the running first-year contract fee i.e. Rs 12,500 (in this case).
  • Do you provide services through online or offline or both modes? : Services are available both in online and offline modes and are customized to the client’s preference.
  • Types of other value added services offered (ex : Insurance claim processing, real estate consultancy, NRI taxation matters, WILL writing service etc.,) : While my services are comprehensive, for some of the niche needs I may guide my clients to use the broader eco-system to get the best available financial solutions.
  • Do you receive commission from financial products directly or indirectly (through sister concern or family member) ? : No
  • Do you blog? If so, kindly provide your blog url link : Yes, I love blogging. You can read my views at finmyn/blog. Please share your comments. I also write for media publications including Hindu Business Line, Mint and LinkedIn platform. You can find the references at finmyn.com/media.
  • Your email Id (official) : [email protected]
  • Kindly share few sentences , ‘Journey before becoming fee only planner’ : I have humble beginnings from a village in Bihar. I was fortunate to enter the computer science field when it was inits nascent stages. That gave me the opportunities to go abroad for some time and learn from experiences. While IT gave me the opportunity to earn my livelihood, Financial Advisory has given wings to my passion.
  • Kindly share few sentences , ‘Journey after becoming fee only planner, your opinion on fee-only FP & your learnings’ : So far, the journey has been wonderful. I have conducted many complimentary education sessions for companies, academia and societies. Various media publications have given me the platform to share my views. I am connecting with more people, understanding their personal finance challenges and helping them out.
    • Fee-Only financial planning removes the conflict of interest. It shifts focus from making money to helping out people and when you help people, money follows.
  • Your future plans or initiatives? : Right now the focus is to help, educate and advise as many people as possible. I am exploring the ways to institutionalize this so that I can help more people.
  • Any other insight you would like to share with us? : I want to contribute to society in small ways. I am exploring ways to educate people in Bihar about personal finance particularly those in lower strata and help them protect and grow their money. If successful, I would like to roll it out to other states.
    • Through your platform, I am requesting like-minded people to reach out to me if they have a similar passion and are interested in joining hands to make that happen.

S R Srinivasan | Srinivesh.in

S R Srinivasan Srinivesh
S R Srinivasan
  • Are you a Fee-only Advisor/Planner? :  YES!
  • Type of your firm (LLP/Pvt..) ?  : Individual; possibly a partnership in the future.
  • Is your firm registered with SEBI as IA? :  Registered as IA with SEBI
  • Year of Starting your firm/advisory services : 2019
  • Year of starting fee only planning services : 2019
  • Brief about your company : SriNivesh Advisor strives to be the trusted advisor for each of our clients and enable them to achieve their financial goals. We do this by basing our unbiased advice on data and analysis.Our advisory practice follows the letter and spirit of relevant SEBI regulations.
  • Do you provide Comprehensive FP services? – Yes. In fact we provide only comprehensive financial planning services and are not comfortable with point services like portfolio review, etc.
  • Do you provide Financial plan execution support? – We support our clients as they execute the plan. We do not transact on their behalf and we feel that this should be the usual practice.
  • Brief about yourself (qualification, total work experience, num of years as fee only planner, hobbies, interests etc.,) : I am a ‘lateral entrant’ into the world of financial advisory. I spent my career in software and worked for a variety of organizations. I learnt personal finance on my own, for making my plans and by teaching others. I have a degree in management(M.M.S) and have passed the certification requirements from SEBI.
  • Number of clients (only FP clients) : We have been fortunate to have more than 100 learning experiences so far.
  • Fee range (approx& optional) : Our main services have a fee of Rs 18,000 and above. To encourage young investors to start early, we provide a ‘Starter Plan’ for Rs 10,000.
  • Do you provide services through online or offline or both modes? : We strongly believe that a fiduciary relationship can be built online. We are not averse to meet over coffee.
  • Types of other value added services offered (ex : Insurance claim processing, real estate consultancy, NRI taxation matters, WILL writing service etc.,) : Our expertise is in financial planning and investment advisory – across all financial products. We ensure that our advice is tax efficient. We don’t provide formal guidance on insurance claims, real estate, advanced tax planning, etc., and we provide references to qualified professionals for these services.
  • Do you receive commission from financial products directly or indirectly (through sister concern or family member)?  – NO. We are passionate about the fiduciary role. We clearly document in our engagement agreement that we have no direct or indirect relationship with any of the manufacturers.
  • Do you blog? If so, kindly provide your blog url link :  As I prepared for the advisory career, I wrote a set of articles that detail our approach. This small set can be found at: srinivesh.in/blog  I write sporadically for other blogs – particularly freefincal. For topical items. I refer my clients to that site, relakhs and basunivesh.
  • Your email Id (official) : [email protected]
  • Kindly share few sentences, ‘Journey before becoming fee only planner’ : I became a DIY investor because the advice that I could find, in early 2000s, was shallow. I developed my own tools and calculators. I modeled my planning process on that of software engineering. I shared this process widely and received good feedback. Sharing my ideas helped me to get more ideas and improved my knowledge. I was impressed by the fee-only planners that I met after and decided to pursue this as my second career.
  • Kindly share few sentences, ‘Journey after becoming fee only planner, your opinion on fee-only FP& your learnings’ : We have been fortunate to have had so many learning experiences in a short time. The biggest learning was on the number of individuals who are more than ready to pay a fee for advice. The traditional advisors make convincing arguments that Indians don’t like to pay for advice; breaking this has been the biggest learning. We are grateful to our clients for placing trust in us and helping us learn and grow. An interesting experience has been that many people consider my lack of financial industry experience as a positive – they say that I am not ‘tainted’ by the traditional product pushing practices.
  • Your future plans or initiatives? – A) Make SriNivesh Advisors an ongoing business, with a strong team that can carry on forever. B) Make Fee-Only India (feeonlyindia.com) larger and larger and help the many who want unbiased advice
  • Any other insight you would like to share with us? : Less than 5% of our clients so far have both of these: a) Adequate life insurance b) No endowment or ULIPs.  Pushing of toxic insurance-cum-investment products does lasting damage to the investors’ financial health. These 95% people would have achieved their financial independence faster if they have not used these toxic products.

Sriram Jayaraman | Arthagyan.com

Sriram Jayaraman Arthagyan
Sriram Jayaraman
  • Are you a Fee-only Advisor/Planner? : yes
  • Type of your firm (LLP/Pvt..) ?  : Individual registration with SEBI
  • Is your firm registered with SEBI as IA? : Yes
  • Year of Starting your firm/advisory services : 2018
  • Year of starting fee only planning services : 2018
  • Brief about your company/firm : I started Arthagyan Financial Advisory in Nov 2018 after getting registered with SEBI. All my clients get good individual attention from me.
  • Do you provide Comprehensive FP services? – Yes
  • Do you provide Financial plan execution support? – For clients who are new to direct investing, I hand hold them for a limited period of time. I provide them online help if they require this support
  • Brief about yourself (qualification, total work experience, num of years as fee only planner, hobbies, interests etc.,) : I hold an MBA from Heriott watt school of Business, University of Edinburgh. I have worked for 26 years in India and abroad in top IT companies. I made the switch to personal finance as I am passionate about this. 
  • Number of clients (only FP clients) : 25
  • Fee range (approx& optional) : I have 2 models: 1. Financial planning for 1 year: Rs. 20,000 2. Hourly plan: Rs. 2,500 per hour
  • Do you provide services through online or offline or both modes? : Only online during these tough times. I have met some of my clients face to face if they live near my residence only for 1 meeting.
  • Types of other value added services offered (ex : Insurance claim processing, real estate consultancy, NRI taxation matters, WILL writing service etc.,) : I do help clients with basic details on NRI taxation, will preparation, HUF etc.
  • Do you receive commission from financial products directly or indirectly (through sister concern or family member)?? – No
  • Do you blog? – If so, kindly provide your blog url link : arthagyan.com/blog.
  • Your email Id (official) : [email protected]
  • Kindly share few sentences , ‘Journey before becoming fee only planner’ : I had used a planner to help me sort my finances in 2009. I was quite happy with the way the planner analyzed my portfolio and suggest suitable changes without conflict of interest. I was impressed with this profession as there is no conflict of interest. I thus chose this as my second career. Thanks to help from the fee-only planners community, it was possible for me to get registered with SEBI within the shortest timeframe
  • Kindly share few sentences , ‘Journey after becoming fee only planner, your opinion on fee-only FP& your learnings’ : I am very happy to see the progress of fee-only planning as a profession. However, there are still miles to cover. The current landscape is confusing for the layman, with everyone from a bank relationship manager, an insurance agent, Mutual fund distributor calling themselves as a financial advisor. There is lack of awareness among the general public about the conflict free advise provided by the fee-only planners. SEBI has moved in the right direct by creating regulation to prevent the misuse of the word “IFA” and “Financial Advisor”. However creating regulation is only the first step. Punishing those who do not fall in line is an important follow up action that needs to be done. I am very confident that the “fee-only” concept will grow and gain the confidence among the investor community.
  • Your future plans or initiatives? – My plan is to continue to provide fee-only planning services to the investor community. I have no plans to make it a corporate entity and loose dilute the experience which my clients get today. I will be more than happy to support and mentor new members in this community of fee-only planners
  • Any other insight you would like to share with us..? : The investing community has been misguided by the mutual fund distributors that the funds chosen by them will beat the rest of the funds in the future. This leads to investor community trying their best to predict which mutual funds will be the winners in the next few years. They expect the fee-only planners to also help to choose the future winners. We, the community of fee-only planners generally explain to our clients the futility in chasing the future winners as this is impossible to predict. The general direction from us is to lead the clients towards index funds.

Upasana Mondal | Dreamblueprintz.com

Upasana Mondal Dreamblueprintz
Upasana Mondal
  • Are you a Fee-only Advisor/Planner? : Yes
  • Type of your firm (LLP/Pvt.)? : Individual (Sole Proprietor)
  • Is your firm registered with SEBI as IA? : Yes
  • Year of Starting your firm/advisory services : 2018
  • Year of starting fee only planning services : 2018
  • Brief about your company : DreamBluePrintz is solely managed by me. I help create blue prints for dreams and translate them into goals to maximize chances of realizing them.
  • Do you provide Comprehensive FP services? – Yes, a complete financial plan would differ from person to person however it can generally cover overall analysis of current financial situation, Networth and cash flow analysis, Investment, Retirement, Insurance,  Emergency funds, Providing for education or wedding for children and all other goals.
  • Do you provide Financial plan execution support? – I do not provide execution services (directly or indirectly) however can help implement the plan with any generic information or technical support required.
  • Brief about yourself (qualification, total work experience, num of years as fee only planner, hobbies, interests etc.,) : I am a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Fellow of Insurance Institute of India, (FIII) in Life Insurance and an MBA. Worked with Canara HSBC Life Insurance, and with Ameriprise (leading financial planners in US) Worked on more than 500 financial plans for Indian and US citizens. Total work experience of over 12 years.
    • Personal introduction: I am a Bengali, grew up in Pune and Delhi. A travel geek by heart and it is the biggest reason why I work individually now. My husband has a start-up (can work from anywhere) and my daughter is homeschooled, so we all take travelling quite seriously.
  • Number of clients (only FP clients) : Undisclosed
  • Fee range (approx) : Rs. 5,000 (Stand Alone goal) and Rs. 20,000 (Complete financial plan) The costs are inclusive of taxes and flat for all.
  • Do you provide services through online or offline or both modes? : Online only (Calls and emails)
  • Types of other value added services offered (ex : Insurance claim processing, real estate consultancy, NRI taxation matters, WILL writing service etc.,) : I advise on all aspects of financial planning however consulting a professional in the respective field is recommended, if required.
  • Do you receive commission from financial products directly or indirectly (through sister concern or family member)?? – No
  • Do you blog? – If so, kindly provide your blog url link : I do post about financial awareness on FB and also on dreamblueprintz.com/financial-awareness-series.
  • Your email Id (official) : [email protected]
  • Kindly share few sentences, ‘Journey before becoming fee only planner’ : While working with Canara HSBC (Gurgaon, Head Office) and completing my fellowship in Life Insurance, I learnt about the workings of Life Insurance and how the products are designed. Later in Ameriprise I got hands on experience on making financial plans for large number of clients. This is when I realized I could do this individually so registered with SEBI and here I am.
  • Kindly share few sentences, ‘Journey after becoming fee only planner, your opinion on fee-only FP& your learnings’ : I think financial planning has picked up more so recently due to the crisis across the world. Many people have stopped being in their usual work routine and have time to look back and look forward in their financial lives. Though there is a lot of information available online, people have started realizing that taking help from an advisor is a feasible solution in the long run.
  • Your future plans or initiatives? – I plan to continue working as an individual fee-only advisor because I love what I do and the freedom I have in life due to this. This also reflects into my plans to help more people do what they love and live a worry-free life.
  • Any other insight you would like to share with us : Financial Planning is more behavioral than numbers and discipline is what makes it unique. Other than sharing a plan for achieving goals, I try to educate people on the simpler things that will make a stronger base for years to come.

Final Thoughts :

My sincere thanks to these wonderful and awesome financial planners for responding to my questionnaire and accepting my request to ‘feature’ in my blog post.

In case, you are actively looking for a fee-only financial planner who can guide and lead you through today’s financial jungle with ease, you may kindly contact the above top financial planners or visit below links for a comprehensive list of fee-only financial planners.

As my journey in ‘Personal finances’ field continues, will definitely come across more fee-only planners. So, I will keep posting similar posts (list of popular Financial planners) as and when it is required.

financial planning quote

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Whether you plan your finances by yourself or through an advisor, it’s is your choice. But, have a financial plan!

Continue reading :

  1. What is the difference between a Fee-based and Fee ONLY Financial Advisor?
  2. 5 Personal Financial Mistakes that I have committed…!
  3. My 6 Core Personal Financial Planning principles!
  4. List of Articles on the key Components of Personal Financial Planning

(Kindly note that ReLakhs.com is not associated with any of the above mentioned Financial planning service providers. We have not received any monetary benefit for publishing this article. This post is for information purposes only and not to endorse any service provider. We are not biased towards any specific financial planning Firm.)

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net) (Post first published on : 06-August-2020)



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