Business Today

We see opportunity in financial services: Religare Enterprises

At Religare, we see a world of opportunity in financial services in India, which has a vast population and very low penetration of financial products, says Chairman & MD Sunil Godhwani.

     Last Updated: May 9, 2013  | 20:40 IST

Religare Enterprises Chairman & MD Sunil Godhwani
The last few months have seen slower growth, persistent inflation, weak corporate profits, a falling rupee, weak equity prices and a growing fiscal deficit giving enough indications that macroeconomic risks are increasing.

However, we firmly believe that the long-term growth story of India remains intact despite the slowdown that the economy and the BFSI sector as whole have experienced over the past couple of years.

At Religare, we see a world of opportunity in financial services in India, which has a vast population and very low penetration of financial products.

This can be gauged from the fact that there are only 35 million folios in mutual funds in India , a nation with over 1.2 billion population, a loan-to-GDP ratio of just 16 per cent as compared to over 35 per cent in developed markets, and just three per cent of household savings in the form of stocks.

Hence, while there may be short-term challenges such as high interest rates or stress in borrowers' balance sheets, we take a through-cycle view to business and have constantly been investing in new businesses over time.

As most people would know, Religare started its business as a retail broking house, but over the past few years, we have expanded our portfolio significantly to become a diversified financial services group offering an integrated suite encompassing SME lending, mutual funds, life insurance and global asset management. Recently, we also launched our health insurance venture. In fact, broking today accounts for less than 10 per cent of our business.

Banking is a significant milestone for any financial services company given the under penetration of financial services in our country. Being one of India's leading financial services group, we are keen on entering commercial banking as well since it is a natural progression to our existing bouquet of financial services and pan India presence which goes beyond tier-1 cities, and are currently awaiting the final guidelines from the Reserve Bank of India in this regard.

It is our strong belief that financial services is all about placing the customer at the core of what we do.

At Religare, we have in place a system where each of our top 100 managers go out and meet clients to solicit feedback.

We have also invested extensively in technology and have now set up a world-class shared services centre that serves clients across the country and enables us to scale up new businesses rapidly.

For example, our recently launched health insurance business started from over 30 locations across the country on day one.

Sunil Godhwani
Chairman & MD
Religare Enterprises Ltd

(As told to Business Today)

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