My List of popular Fee-only Financial Planners in India (Part-3) | Based on my interactions & observations

In my constant endeavor to provide right investment advice to our blog readers, I make sure that whatever information provided here is UNBIASED.

I am proud to say that ReLakhs.com is one of the very few personal finance blogs in India that has nothing to SELL. We do not have any product or service to market or sell through this platform. So, rest assured, we will keep doing things this way only 🙂

Though I am extremely satisfied with my blogging work, it is next to impossible to provide comprehensive financial planning assistance to blog readers through blog posts/comments alone (not advisable also).

Hence, have been suggesting and referring them to a few fee-only financial planners (but I am not associated with them) whom I believe are very talented, honest and follow good business ethics. I have been following their work closely & interacting with them for the last many months and I can confidently say that these individuals are some of the best financial planners (FEE ONLY) that you will come across in India.

Before introducing them, let us first understand the term ‘fee-only or advice-only financial planner’. Who is a fee-only financial planner? Who is a SEBI registered Investment Advisor?

If you are a DIY investor (Do It Yourself), you wish to create a financial plan and manage your finances all by yourself. In case, you would like someone else to assist you to manage your personal finances then you look out for ;

  • A mutual fund distributor or an Independent Financial Advisor
  • An Insurance Agent
  • A relationship manager who works for a bank/NBFC/Financial institution (or)
  • A SEBI Registered Investment Advisor

There are two broad categories of financial advisers/ financial planners as below;

  • Product sellers (advice can be ancillary or incidental to business) – They generally do not charge any fee from their clients but receive commissions form financial services providers. For example ; Mutual fund distributors, insurance agents and banks fall in this category.
  • Pure Advisors : They charge only for the advice offered and do not accept/receive any commissions from financial service/product providers. SEBI Registered Investment Advisers fall in such categories.

As per SEBI Investment Advisers Regulations – 2013, the SEBI registered IAs are prohibited from accepting any commissions. They can only charge fee to their clients.

Who is a Fee-only Financial Planner? – A planner who charges a flat fee to his/her client is a fee-only financial planner. He/she does not get commission from any other sources. The fee is not linked to the assets being managed. Hence, it makes sense to opt for a fee-only financial planner.

I had already published two articles on ‘popular fee-only Financial Planners in India’. Suggest you to kindly go through the below links..

Let me now present ‘my list of best fee-only financial planners (Part-3)‘. Kindly note that this is definitely not a comprehensive list and is just based on my personal observations and interactions (directly / indirectly) with them.

It’s just that I am fortunate enough to know about these financial planners and have been learning a lot from them. I am sure there are many more such popular & best financial planners who are equally talented (if not more) that I am not in touch or may be not aware of (personally)..

Let’s learn more about them in their own words. Below are their responses to the questionnaire that I have requested them to complete.

My List of Popular & Best Financial Planners (Fee-only) in India

Below is my list of popular fee-only Personal Financial Planners in India ;

  • Abhishek Kumar of SahajMoney.com
  • Gursimran Singh of ParamAsa Wealth Advisory
  • Preeti Zende of Apana Dhan Financial Services (ApanaDhan.com)
  • Vikram Krishnamoorthy of Insightful.in
Popular Fee-only Personal Financial Planners in India

Abhishek Kumar – SahajMoney.com

Abhishek
  • Are you a Fee-only Advisor/Planner? : YES
  • Type of your firm (LLP/Pvt..)? : Practicing as an individual RIA.
  • Is your firm registered with SEBI as IA? : YES
  • Year of Starting your firm/advisory services : 2017
  • Year of starting fee only planning services : 2017
  • Brief about your Firm : We at Sahajmoney provide comprehensive financial planning services on a fee only basis. Over the past few years we have had the fortune of working with clients across the length and breadth of the country and the world. As our tagline goes “Investment Simplified” we work towards simplifying the investment journey for individuals and families.
  • Do you provide Comprehensive FP services? : YES
  • Do you provide Financial plan execution support? : As part of our fiduciary responsibility we are platform-agnostic, but we provide support to our clients in executing the plan by guiding them about the same. We do not execute the transactions on their behalf in order to protect the client’s interest..
  • Brief about yourself (qualification, total work experience, num of years as fee only planner, hobbies, interests etc.,) : I am an MBA from IIM Bangalore and have a total work experience of 14+ years. I was advising friends and family for almost 10 years before I started providing fee only planning services from 2017 onwards. I like reading and researching about finance and economy. I like to watch and participate in quiz.
  • Number of clients (only FP clients) : 100+
  • Fee range (approx) : INR 12,000/- (First Year of Engagement) and INR 6,000/- (current Renewal Fees)
  • Do you provide services through online or offline or both modes? : ONLINE
  • Types of other value added services offered (ex : Insurance claim processing, real estate consultancy, NRI taxation matters etc.,) : We provide entire gamut of investment advisory services across spectrum.
  • Do you receive commission from financial products directly or indirectly (through sister concern or family member)? : NO
  • Do you blog? If so, kindly provide your blog url link : www.sahajmoney.com
  • Your email Id (official) : abhishek.kumar13@alumni.iimb.ac.in
  • Kindly share few sentences, ‘Journey before becoming fee only planner’ : Prior to becoming a fee only planner I was and still am a DIY investor and all I tried to do was not make imprudent decisions with money. I was motivated by words of my idol Mr. Charlie Munger that ,” All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there.” These words always helped me in following the path of fiscal prudence and I felt that I could help others in their personal finance journey.
  • Kindly share few sentences, ‘Journey after becoming fee only planner, your opinion on fee-only FP & your learnings’ : As personal finance has been my passion hence helping our clients in their personal finance journey without conflict of interest has been a personally satisfying journey for me and I look forward to tap dancing to my work everyday. The satisfaction of providing a conflict free advice to our clients has helped us sleep better at night.
  • Your future plans or initiatives? : We want to democratize financial planning services from the realm of fortunate few to a large populace so that a large section of society can achieve their financial goals. We are trying to do this by keeping our costs low and passing on the benefit of same in terms of better pricing to our current and prospective clients.
  • Any other insight you would like to share with us.. : Our clients has been over biggest referral network and to our surprise, it has happened in spite of the fact that we do not seek referral from them.

Gursimran Singh – ParamAsa Wealth Advisory

Gursimran
  • Are you a Fee-only Advisor/Planner? : Yes or you can say Advise only and No commission Advisor.
  • Type of your firm (LLP/Pvt..)?  : Individual.
  • Is your firm registered with SEBI as IA? :  Yes.
  • Year of Starting your firm/advisory services :  Formally in 2018.
  • Year of starting fee only planning services : 2018
  • Brief about your company :  We are a Boutique Advisory Firm , which means all the clients will get uniform attention and will be served directly by Myself only and solutions will be customized according to their requirements, not a standard approach which is common across Industry.
  • Do you provide Comprehensive FP services? : Yes.
  • Do you provide Financial plan execution support? : We Advise clients on How to buy and from where to buy financial products so that they can save money on commissions, this is part of plan creation services.
  • Brief about yourself (qualification, total work experience, num of years as fee only planner, hobbies, interests etc.,) : I have total work ex of around 20 yrs working with Fortune 500 companies in heading and managing their operations in various capacities and  qualifications from Delhi University, Symbiosis Institute of Management  Studies and IIM Calcutta also various certifications from NSE and SEBI. My Hobbies and Interests are – Travelling, Acting in Plays and Playing Piano.
  • Number of clients (only FP clients) : We are probably only one in  India who don’t follow Annual Fixed Fee/Retainer model which according to us is an inefficient model, we believe in the concept of Cash and Carry Advice, so we don’t have fixed number of clients.
  • Fee range (approx) : We have 2 models for this, per hour fees and one time Plan creation Fees and it depends on the case to case basis , so that clients can enjoy ample flexibility in paying fees as per their requirements only.
  • Do you provide services through online or offline or both modes? : Both Modes.
  • Types of other value added services offered (ex : Insurance claim processing, real estate consultancy, NRI taxation matters etc.,) : We cover everything in comprehensive financial Planning for Both Resident Indians and NRI,  also do specialized wealth sessions for families and program called “Saksham” for corporates.
  • Do you receive commission from financial products directly or indirectly (through sister concern or family member)?? : No
  • Do you blog? If so, kindly provide your blog url link : Facebook Page link.
  • Your email Id (official) : paramasawealth@outlook.com
  • Kindly share few sentences, ‘Journey before becoming fee only planner’ : Financial Markets have been my childhood passion , I started investing in Markets since the Age of 14  from my pocket money in my DAD’s Name and “Graduated “ in helping my seniors in their money and advising on them, so that is the reason I mentioned that “ Formally” my practice has been started in 2018 but informally its been 26 yrs long journey.
  • Kindly share few sentences , ‘Journey after becoming fee only planner, your opinion on fee-only FP & your learnings’ : I wrote many articles on Fee only advisory and spoke about its future in various industry bodies in India and USA. My article like “Difference Between Fee only and Fee based” is published on relakhs and articles like cash and carry advice etc on various other blogs, you can check my page to find those articles.
  • Your future plans or initiatives? : My only future plan is to make difference to my clients life, I have no intention to grow big or set up a company with multi offices as Financial Advisory is very personalized and Customized service and the service should be wholesome , undiluted and backed by decades of experience. This profession requires passion to serve your clients, a person who take this as another Job for salary etc can’t do justice to the service provided.
    • As Initiatives are concerned, have been doing lot of media interaction with Times of India etc to  make people aware of Fee only Financial Planning, also planning to start a weekly show on Fee only financial planning with a Regional Media House, also regularly conducting  Workshops on Financial planning for corporates.
  • Any other insight you would like to share with us..? : Fee only Advisory is the future, as unbiased Advice cannot be commoditized and Technology advancement will be the enabler in this.

Preeti Zende – ApanaDhan.com

  • Are you a Fee-only Advisor/Planner?: Yes, I am a Fee only Financial Planner.
  • Type of your firm (LLP/Pvt..)?  : Individual.
  • Is your firm registered with SEBI as IA? : Yes, I am registered with SEBI as individual IA with Membership number INA000012777.
  • Year of Starting your firm/advisory services : March 2019.
  • Year of starting fee only planning services : March 2019.
  • Brief about your Firm: I own my financial consultancy firm named ‘ApanaDhan Financial Services’. At Apana Dhan, we understand clients’ needs for financial planning. Clients need an expert and experienced financial planner. They can count on us for this. We Understand clients need and I work with them jointly to help them plan their finances and enable them to make well informed financial decisions. As an expert financial planner, I at ApanaDhan Financial services understand these priorities and I work in sync with my clients for the same.
  • Do you provide Comprehensive FP services? : Yes, I do provide comprehensive Financial  planning to my client. Comprehensive Financial  planning  includes and not limited to ;
    • Insurance planning both Life and Health
    • Retirement management,
    • Goal-based investing,
    • Children education planning and
    • Long term wealth creation plan.
    • Debt Management
  • Do you provide Financial plan execution support? : Yes, I do provide execution support in the form of need based guidance if client requires. I educate on timelines and set their schedule of investment.
  • Brief about yourself (qualification, total work experience, num of years as fee only planner, hobbies, interests etc.,) :  I am based in Navi Mumbai India. I am an Associate of Insurance Institute of India ( AIII ) and has a post-graduate Diploma in Business Finance from ICFAI university. I also hold a Masters degree in Commerce from Pune University. I am associated with Insurance and Finance industry since long having experience in both administration and marketing of Financial products. I had worked as Medical and Non medical Underwriter and was heading a Quality check team in Reliance Life Insurance Company. I also worked with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company’s sales and marketing team.
    • Apart from my busy schedule as SEBI RIA professional I am serving society by getting involved in many social initiatives. Women empowerment is my interest. I am first woman secretary of my housing society. I am trained Katthak dancer and took part in many plays in school and college. I am involved in many public speaking events and one of the popular writer in personal finance domain. I am happy go lucky person and do my work sincerely and honestly.
  • Number of clients (only FP clients) : Cant disclose because of privacy clause with my clients.
  • Fee range (approx) : It is Rs.15,000 for Resident Indians and Rs.18,000 for NRIs for the first year. From second year onwards it is Rs.7,000 for Resident Indians and Rs.9,000 for NRIs. I also provide REVIEW service under ‘Express Plan’ for client’s existing Equity linked and Debt mutual funds investments. Charges of the same depends upon case to case basis.
  • Do you provide services through online or offline or both modes? :  Yes I do provide both online and offline services.
  • Types of other value added services offered (ex : Insurance claim processing, real estate consultancy, NRI taxation matters etc.,) :  Apart from Financial Planning services  I provide value added services in the form of letting my clients know about Personal Finance, investment process, different types of investments avenues,  orientation about equity as a asset class, Apart from that I do provide references based on the need and complexity of the client case.
  • Do you receive commission from financial products directly or indirectly (through sister concern or family member)?? : No I am a pure Fee Only Financial Planner and I don’t get any commission or remuneration from financial products directly or indirectly (through sister concern or family member). Such kind of act is prohibited as per SEBI regulations.  
  • Do you blog? If so, kindly provide your blog url link : I do not blog frequently. But I write blogs for my website www.apanadhan.com and I am very active on Quora where with 250 answers and around 3000 followers I connect with readers daily. I am also active on on LinkedIn, Twitter and on my individual Facebook page as well as firm’s  Facebook page Apanadhan Financial Services.
  • Your email Id (official) : preetikz@gmail.com
  • Kindly share few sentences , ‘Journey before becoming fee only planner’ : Finance and related professions have been my passion since my academics. I completed all my degrees mentioned about in flying colors. Before becoming SEBI RIA I was working in the Insurance Sector in sales as well as underwriter. Apart from my job I always helped my relatives and friends  in managing their investment portfolios without any remuneration. While working in Insurance sector I always tried to be in touch with other fields of Finance such as Mutual funds, portfolio management, share market, financial planning process etc.
    • I had been reading all famous personal blogs about Personal Finance such as Jagoinvestor, Freefincal, BasuNivesh, Relakhs, Valueresearchonline etc. This  reading helped me to be well versed with the all aspects of financial planning and personal finance.
  • Kindly share few sentences , ‘Journey after becoming fee only planner, your opinion on fee-only FP & your learnings’ : While I was top performing in my job I always felt that I was missing something. I was searching for such kind of carrier option which gave me full work satisfaction and can give me flexible working hours. Meanwhile I came to know about SEBI RIA. This professional is very well suitable for my liking so I decided to go for SEBI registration. After SEBI RIA life has changed drastically and that too for better. It helped me to connect with people offline as well as online through social media network such as Quora, LinkedIn, Twitter and FB. Quora helped me to build my independent identity and help spreading financial literacy.
    • Fee only financial planning work is a noble profession where I work for my client’s interest. I be true to my clients feelings and feel happy to be their partner in their financial planning journey.
  • Your future plans or initiatives? : Apart from Financial Planning I am keen to take awareness program  and spread financial literacy about Personal Finance specially for ladies. Today in this modern era too, many ladies know very less about financial planning and personal finance. I want to help such ladies with my expertise.
  • Any other insight you would like to share with us.. : I am confident that Fee only concept has a great future in India. People want professional, well-researched, value-driven suggestions and advice from the expert on whom they can trust. Fee only planners’ advice is personalized keeping individuality in mind. SEBI RIA is your guide, friend and philosopher in your financial journey. If you walk with him/her in this journey you will experience lesser bumpy rides, lesser headache and lesser panic attacks compared to walking alone. Financial planner will hold your hand firmly and help you sail through the trouble if any smoothly. Trust them. Have faith. And be with them.

Vikram Krishnamoorthy – Insightful.in

Vikram
  • Are you a Fee-only Advisor/Planner : Yes
  • Type of your firm (LLP/Pvt..) ?  : Individual
  • Is your firm registered with SEBI as RIA? :Yes, as an Individual RIA.
  • Year of Starting your firm/advisory services : 2015
  • Year of starting fee only planning services : 2015
  • Brief about your company : INSIGHTFUL is a fee-only financial planning service provider, built on the uncompromising foundation that financial advice should be unbiased and honest, not driven by product sales.
  • Do you provide Comprehensive FP services? : Yes
  • Do you provide Financial plan execution support? : I aid clients to do the implementation of the plan on their own and do not transact on their behalf. I only act as a consultant.
  • Brief about yourself (qualification, total work experience, num of years as fee only planner, hobbies, interests etc.,) : I have been in the personal financial planning field since 2006. I went to Canada after my MBA in India, to specialize in Financial Planning and did my CFP there. I worked in Canada as a planner for 8 years and came back to settle in India in 2014 and started my fee-only practice here since.
  • Number of clients (only FP clients) : I have worked with over 500 families since 2015.
  • Fee range (approx) : Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 25,000. The fee is not based on the person’s net worth or income, but only based on the depth of service the client needs.
  • Do you provide services through online or offline or both modes? : Both. However, over 80% of my clients are from other cities around the world and we interact purely through video conferencing.
  • Types of other value added services offered (ex : Insurance claim processing, real estate consultancy, NRI taxation matters etc.,) : Although I give generic inputs on other aspects, my expertise is in Financial Planning and I always recommend interacting with an expert in that specific field.
  • Do you receive commission from financial products directly or indirectly (through sister concern or family member) ?? : Absolutely not. Not directly or indirectly.
  • Do you blog? If so, kindly provide your blog url link : I write guest blogs on other sites like Freefincal. You can find the links to all those blogs on the About page of my website.
  • Your email Id (official) : vikram@insightful.in
  • Kindly share few sentences , ‘Journey before becoming fee only planner’ : Ever since my MBA days, I was interested in personal financial planning and wanted to specialize in it. However, in 2005, there was not much of scope for this in India. I got the opportunity to specialize in it in Canada. So I went there to do my post-grad course in Financial Planning and also completed my CFP there. I then took up jobs with banks there, but never enjoyed my work, as all that was expected of me was to ‘sell’ financial products and meet ‘targets’, not necessarily ‘advice’ what is best for clients.
    • Although I did well in my jobs, it did not feel right. I was then fortunate to get a job as an Advisor with the government’s pension board, where I did not have to push products, but just advice what was right for clients. This was what I always wanted to do, to provide unbiased advice. However, we decided to move back to India as my kids were starting school and we always wanted to settle back in India by then. I was quite intent on starting my own fee-only practice in India and I passed the necessary exams and got my RIA license to do that. There has been no looking back since.
  • Kindly share few sentences , ‘Journey after becoming fee only planner, your opinion on fee-only FP& your learnings’ : I could not have asked for a better career than what I have now. I have always been passionate about personal finances and for me to have a practice of my own, in the field that I love, has been a dream come true. I have had the immense pleasure of helping hundreds of families and providing conflict-free advice.
    • In the last 5 years, I have seen the awareness of fee-only advice grow multi-fold in India and I strongly believe that we have not even scratched the surface. The unfortunate thing is that the advisor community has not taken up this model as much as they should. They are stuck in their old ways of commissions, not realizing soon that the future of this advisory is ‘fee-only’. Another misconception they have is that this model is not viable. From my own practice and interacting with many other fee-only planners, this model is not only viable but lucrative. I only hope that more advisors come to that realization and take up this ethical model.
  • Your future plans or initiatives? : I have built my practice on having one-on-one relationships with individuals and families, and creating financial plans is what I enjoy the most. I do not see myself turning this into a ‘business’, having many employees and diluting that experience. I wish to grow my practice sustainably without letting go of the core values of ethical, personalized, relationship based financial planning services.
  • Any other insight you would like to share with us.. : There is a lot of misunderstanding of what ‘Financial Planning’ itself is, and we often confuse it with ‘investment planning’. Just investing into the best Mutual Funds and getting the best returns does not necessarily give us financial success. Financial Planning is about the bigger picture of how your money can be used optimally, to live a better and peaceful life. Money is only a ‘tool’ to achieve something. You can achieve financial success better, if you have clarity about the bigger picture, rather than just focusing on products and returns. 

Final Thoughts :

My sincere thanks to these wonderful and awesome financial planners for responding to my questionnaire and accepting my request to ‘feature’ in my blog post.

In case, you are actively looking for a fee-only financial planner who can guide and lead you through today’s financial jungle with ease, you may kindly contact the above financial planners or visit below links for a comprehensive list of fee-only financial planners.

As my journey in ‘Personal finances’ field continues, will definitely come across more fee-only planners. So, I will keep posting similar posts (list of popular Financial planners) as and when it is required.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Whether you plan your finances by yourself or through an advisor, it’s is your choice. But, have a financial plan!

Continue reading :

(Kindly note that ReLakhs.com is not associated with any of the above mentioned Financial planning service providers. We have not received any monetary benefit for publishing this article. This post is for information purposes only and not to endorse any service provider. We are not biased towards any specific Firm.)

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net) (Post first published on : 23-October-2019)

This post was last modified on August 23, 2023 2:16 pm

Sreekanth Reddy

Sreekanth is the Man behind ReLakhs.com. He is an Independent Certified Financial Planner (CFP), engaged in blogging & property consultancy for the last 13 years through his firm ReLakhs Financial Services . He is not associated with any Financial product / service provider. The main aim of his blog is to "help investors take informed financial decisions." "Please note that the views given in this Blog/Comments Section/Forum are clarifications meant for reference and guidance of the readers to explore further on the topics/queries raised and take informed decisions. The information provided, therefore, should not be viewed as financial, legal, accounting, tax or investment advice."

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