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Heeding her dad’s advice of pursuing a career in finance, Bangalore-based Dilshad Billimoria has established herself as a prominent advisor in the south.
Dilshad was keen to pursue a career in hotel management but her father spotted her knack for numbers. He encouraged Dilshad to get into finance and she agreed. Today, Dilshad is among the most respected advisors in the south. In 2008, Dilshad was nominated by CNBC Financial Advisor Awards as one of the top 3 advisors from the South. She also has been a MDRT qualifier since 2002.
She attributes her success to her father’s timely advice. After graduation, Dilshad earned a Bachelor’s in Business Management majoring in Finance. She began her career in 1998 with a large distribution firm for a brief stint of 1.5 years. She was always keen on setting up her own advisory firm and so she floated Dilzer Consultants in 2001. “The passion to strike out on my own was all consuming,” says Dilshad.
Starting with insurance and mutual fund advisory, Dilshad became a CFP to offer full-fledged financial solutions. She has written 30 financial plans so far.
Many of her clients whom she was catering to at the large distribution firm continued to take advice from her. Newsletters and referrals helped her grow the client base further. Referrals came to her without any solicitation. “My client base has been consistent from 12 years and gets new clients mainly through references. Though my clients are spread all over India, a majority of them are in Bangalore. I have a few NRI clients too in Dubai and US,” says Dilshad.
Being in the Indian ‘silicon valley’ – Bangalore, Dilshad tried to tap younger workforce in the IT companies through presentations. However, the turnout was disappointing as saving did not seem to be a priority for them. Wiser with this experience, she prefers to work with older clients. “The age profile of my clients is between 35 to 60 years, since I am comfortable with clients who consider their finances important and are also well-informed of the market and their goals,” says Dilshad.
Dilshad’s well-timed advice during the 2008 crisis helped protect her clients’ portfolio. “We insist on goal based asset allocation for our clients but with the recent market volatility in 2008 and 2010, we have protected the downside risk in most portfolios by changing debt equity allocation to 60: 40. We feel this stance would remain for the next six months,” explains Dilshad.
Post the entry load ban, Dilshad started charging a percentage fee based on the assets under advisory from over 120 clients. She gets 80% of income from 20% of her clients.Dilshad refrains from enrolling clients who seek advice from multiple advisors. In fact, she has on occasion severed relationships when her recommendations were ignored.
Dilshad only works with well-performing fund houses that sustain their performance over the long term and are able to protect the downside during a crash. She is usually cautious in empanelling with new fund houses until they have a performance to boast of. She doesn’t encourage advising new fund offers either.
Though she has a team of three women who deal efficiently with back office and customer queries, Dilshad single-handedly writes all financial plans herself for all her clients.
Her Success Mantra
“Our USP has been ‘deliver’ more value than asked for, understand needs in detail, understand risk, provide for active portfolio management, engage with the client, share and imbibe trust, and walk through his/her goals as if they were yours,” says Dilshad.
Dilshad’s case again proves the fact that though less in number, women advisors have been successful in making their mark in the mutual fund industry.