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BW Businessworld

'We'll Be Having 1,000 Clients With Rs 100 Crore Each By 2022'

Rajesh Saluja, Chief Executive and Managing Director of ASK Wealth Advisors, speaks with BW Businessworld's Roy Varghese on asset management and emerging areas

Photo Credit : Subhabrata Das


ASK Wealth Advisors works with high net-worth individuals (HNI) and families in India and abroad offers three distinct services -- wealth advisory, wealth management and family office. It is credited for being a pioneer in fee based wealth advisory to the ultra HNI segment in India. ASK Wealth Advisors currently manages assets worth over Rs 20,000 crore. Rajesh Saluja, CEO and Managing Director, ASK Wealth Advisors shares his perspective with BW Businessworld’s Roy Varghese. Excerpts:

How do you define your three service portfolios…
ASK Wealth Advisory is a fee based advisory service that tailor makes investment portfolios for high net-worth individuals based on the holistic assessment of their financial status and life goals. The key objective is to grow their wealth through various market cycles in a disciplined and risk controlled manner.

ASK Wealth Management service offers unique investment opportunities to high net-worth clients, through a bouquet of well researched products across asset classes like listed equities, real estate, private equity, bonds, fixed income and other alternate investments.

ASK’s Family Office works exclusively with ultra-high net-worth families to efficiently solve complexities and challenges that come with significant wealth. It creates and implements a holistic strategy for creation, preservation and transfer of the family’s wealth.

How do you view the investment climate and your strategy ahead?
Our focus is on ultra HNI segment and we try to help our clients to get 40-50 per cent y-o-y growth. We understand the needs of our customers and accordingly we advise them. A lot of people are trying to separate family wealth from their business investments and profits. There is a huge opportunity here since huge wealth is created/accumulated each year.

The investment climate is changing day by day. Real estate market is over exposed and the investors from the North and the South shifted from real estate market. More and more HNI investors are considering global and offshore assets now-a-days.

How do you manage in this kind of a market situation?
We provide services such as private wealth management, fee based investment advisory, family office services, trust and tax planning services, along with co-investment opportunities in real estate and new businesses through VC funds.

We understand the needs of our customers, accordingly we advise them about the opportunities in bonds and mutual funds. Even though the real estate market is down, ASK real estate fund has raised Rs 4,500 crore in the last eight years and is possibly the only fund which has given 2 - 2.5 X in its peer group, in the last three years to its investors. Currently the team is raising its fifth fund of Rs 2,200 crore. The funds have a targeted investment philosophy of project level equity investing, focussing on mid income housing - residential projects, investing in top 5 cities i.e. Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Chennai, Pune and Bengaluru, partnering with prudent and reputed developers in a superior risk management framework. The risk management is efficiently managed by investing only at a project level. Also, we don’t give loan against land to the developer; instead we co-invest along with developer and become equity owners. An escrow account is created for each investment and we become co-signatories for effective cash management.

You mentioned about global and off shore assets earlier. Where do the most customers prefer to invest?

It depends on the customers. Some prefer global assets which is an option… But, 95 per cent of our customers prefer to invest in India itself.

Can you give an investment preference mix?
Well, 50 per cent of the investors prefer to invest in equities since they want to stay invested for a longer period, 40 per cent prefer fixed income schemes and 10 per cent prefer to go for private equity funds.

How do you see the way ahead and the challenges before you?

By the year 2022, we will be having 1000 clients with Rs 100 crore each. We will be extending our present network (Mumbai , Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Goa) in India and also looking at opportunities in Dubai, Singapore, London and Hong Kong to cater or services to NRIs. Our strength is leveraging our client base. And our challenge is to convince them why asset allocation is important even though our metro clients are exposed to wealth management.