Customer Experience in the Mutual Fund Industry: Roundtable Discussion

This blog discusses the topic of customer experience in the mutual fund industry. Industry stalwarts chime in discussing the current trends and future of the industry. 


The mutual fund industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years. However, the customer experience provided by asset management companies (AMCs) has always been a topic of discussion (and confusion). 

On 24th June, Cashfree hosted a roundtable discussion to dig deeper into this topic. Many mutual industry stalwarts discussed their views on driving customer experience for the next generation of mutual funds investors. They discussed how digitization and customer experience are driving growth for mutual fund houses.

This blog will list out all the major discussion topics and the predictions made by mutual industry experts.

Simplified Onboarding Account

The first topic of discussion focused on simplifying the customer onboarding process. Experts mentioned that it is much easier to make a Demat account with the adoption of E-KYC. In fact, online finance and investment companies like Zerodha and Groww are leveraging easy onboarding processes to grow their customer base.

Moreover, some experts question the relevance of KYC in a time when banks carry out their own KYC procedures. They predict that KYC (electronic or not) may be completely rolled out in the coming years. 

Evolution of Payment Collection and Disbursal: Role of Fintech Players in Mutual Fund Industry 

The panellists unanimously agreed that if any industry has to do well, the surrounding infrastructure has to be equally good. This is where the topic of payment collection and disbursal came in. 

In order to provide an optimized customer experience, the mutual fund industry needs to partner with fintech players. For instance, payment gateways can help them accept and disburse payments in diverse payment modes. For example, cards, wallets, net banking, UPI, EMI, Pay Later, etc. 

Moreover, as customer habits evolve, the industry has to evolve with them. For instance, UPI has become the preferred mode of payment in India. Evidently, mutual fund industry players need to offer it as a payment mode.

Another important aspect of payment is Autopay. Mutual fund industry players may require recurring payments. Payment Gateways can help them create a plan and add/notify the subscribers. Finally, they can use NACH E-mandate, credit/debit cards or UPI for recurring payments.

Usually, mutual fund industry players are concerned about lower transaction success rates. Experts opined that this issue can be resolved by using a payment gateway that uses dynamic routing. This can help route transactions to ensure the highest success rates. 

Change in Investor Behaviour

There has been a shift in investor behaviour which India has not seen before. A sizeable proportion of investors are involved in profit-booking. Post Millennials and millennials tend to liquidate holdings at peaks and increase their investments during the period of market correction. 

Lack of Financial Literacy 

In the retail segment, education about financial penetration or investment is limited among the masses. Regulatory bodies and AMCs have dedicated budgets to disseminate information about mutual funds. These campaigns have yielded significant results in informing the masses about mutual funds. However, there’s still a long way to go. 

To fill the gap, a lot of fintech players are aiming to educate the masses to streamline the buyer’s journey. This has helped change the mindset of the masses towards mutual funds. As financial investment becomes accessible to every socio-economic segment, it can become a popular way to build assets. 

The pandemic has definitely accelerated the adoption rate as more companies use content marketing to spread awareness. For instance, Paytm, Zerodha, and Grow use videos, long-form blogs and interactive content to educate the masses about their product and how it can add value. 

Future of the Mutual Funds Industry

Most experts unanimously agreed that the adoption of mutual funds platforms will skyrocket.

Affordable internet and smart devices are bound to accelerate this adoption. 

Moreover, as financial literacy about mutual funds increases, more millennials and GenZs may be attracted to investments. Social media channels may play a huge role in information dissemination and engagement levels. 

Furthermore, as technology evolves, regulatory bodies are bound to evolve with it. Experts opined that this might lead to a system where regulation work in favour of the investors as well as the platforms. The onboarding processes may evolve to be more seamless and smoother. 

Interestingly, it might be possible for customers to use their mutual fund assets to buy products on eCommerce platforms. Experts predicted that liquid funds might act like wallets as a mode of payment. Consequently, payment gateways would need to adapt to the change. 

However, it goes without saying that AMC’s services are a major part of customer experience in the mutual funds industry. From AMC’s point of view, managing funds responsibly and meeting customer expectations will be key to satisfy and retain customers. 

Conclusion

One of the experts brought in an excellent point. There are almost 9 crore tax-paying citizens in India, However, only 2.21 crore people invest in mutual funds. Evidently, there is a huge chasm in between. Experts opine that there is a lot of scope for development in the mutual fund industry. 

Interestingly, even during the uncertain period of the pandemic, there were 80-82 lakhs new investors in the market. This trend shows that with digital adoption and higher financial literacy, the mutual fund industry can grow multifold. Needless to say, the customer experience in the mutual fund industry will evolve likewise.