Mrin Agarwal, Founder of Finsafe India Private Limited, has more than 24 years of experience in wealth management and has worked with Citibank, Deutsche Bank, and Birla Sunlife. She has extensive experience in investment advisory and banking, debt and stock markets. Mrin was an Independent Investment Advisor, managing a multi-family office for exceptionally high net worth clients, prior to starting Finsafe. While managing portfolios of prominent IT promoters, she saw a huge gap in the financial literacy of the educated in India. Seeing an opportunity here, she quit and began to work on remedying this, and starting something never done before in India.

Mrin founded Finsafe, a pioneering financial education organisation in 2014, focused on equipping Indians with strategies to handle their money, based on goals, growth, and safety. Finsafe works with large corporates across India on financial wellbeing of their employees. Though sceptics felt that the model would not be sustainable as a for profit, not only has the company already impacted over 60,000 people in the last six years of its journey, she has done so without external funding. Mrin is also the co-founder of Womantra, a financial awareness program for women, professionals or otherwise.

She has won the CNBC Grand Jury Prize for work done towards financial education & inclusion in the UTI CNBC Financial Advisor Awards 2015 & 2017. Mrin has been interviewed by top business media houses and regularly contributes articles as well as monthly columns to print media. She also has a significant presence in Online media. She has been a judge on the show “Hunt for India’s smart investor 2015” and “Sensex ka sultan”. Mrin has also been the treasurer at FICCI-FLO, Bangalore chapter and is a Sheroes Mentor. Her relentless passion for financial education is aimed at addressing India’s financial literacy gap and transforming the economy through empowering people to make informed choices. Here’s what she has to say about the world of finance and beyond.

How did you decide to become a financial advisor?
Through my life as a financial advisor, I did not have any women clients and neither did I see women interested in managing money. Also, I saw that most people manage money in an unstructured manner and hence do not achieve financial freedom. After 20 years of being one of the top advisors in India, I decided to purse my passion for financial literacy and set up a financial education company.

Did you have to face any challenges in this field that is dominated by men?
People in India think they know everything about managing money. Financial Wellbeing for employees, is a new concept in India and many of the personnel at corporations were not aware about this or how it works. Banks and insurance companies give these sessions free with an intent to get business and end up selling what they want. My company, Finsafe is an unbiased financial education company and it was a challenge to get people to understand why they need to pay for the education we were providing. We approached many industry bodies and even financial services companies, who talk a lot about financial literacy and empowerment but didn’t find them interested in promoting financial literacy. It was a long hard struggle to convince companies that this is an essential part of employee wellness.

Please share some of the highpoints of your journey?
The highpoints of my 25-year journey have been to manage investment portfolios of very prominent and respected business leaders. I was among the top 5 independent investment advisors by assets under management. I was one of the first to open a multi-family office for managing ultra HNI wealth and now I am a pioneer in financial education, which has a huge social impact.

It’s not easy the way we women juggle around so many things- our work, homes, families, social life, fitness etc. Some tips on how you balance it all so beautifully?
Women are diligent and perseverant and helpful to others and have the ability to multi task. I am very ambitious and committed to my work. My work drives me completely. At the same time, I ensure I take off enough time for personal needs. Yes, it is a struggle to always keep the balance and I constantly wish I could do better.

What is your finance mantra?
Financial freedom is a necessity!

How do you keep evolving in your work & staying ahead of the game?
I believe it is important to be well read and get deep into whatever you do. Apart from that keeping up with the trends in business is important. While managing promoter level clients, I was fully tuned into different investment strategies etc and now I built up knowledge on the financial needs of the retail investor. I am also doing new things – I started writing columns & started appearing as an expert speaker in personal finance TV shows plus did you tube videos to spread financial awareness.

What are your other hobbies and passions?
Travelling, cooking and hanging out with my friends!

What is in the pipeline in terms of your work currently?
Financial wellbeing is gaining importance and Finsafe is partnering with global HR consultancy firms as well as having a continued focus on Corporates based in India. Finsafe has engaging content on you tube and we are looking at bringing out more content in Hindi and Kannada.

– By Namita Gupta