The MF distribution ecosystem has been through an extended turbulent phase since 2008. Multiple developments have repeatedly thrown spanners in the works and left a large number of distributors scampering for cover - the market meltdown, banning of entry loads, introduction of direct plans, caps on upfront commissions, the reintroduction of service tax and the introduction of SEBI Adviser Regulations, to name a few. The number of active IFA's has dropped perilously in the past few years, and very few sustainable pure play MF distribution models really exist today.
Considering their unmatched potential for Wealth Creation, it's ironic that the MF distribution ecosystem hasn't been able to evolve quickly and smoothly enough to take the overall penetration of MF's in Indian households beyond the currently abysmal sub-10% number.
The dynamics of building out a long term business based on MF distribution are complex and dynamic. Their gestation periods are longer (till trail incomes really start kicking in) and a single market crash could upturn the entire equation. To top it off, brokerage structures are wafer thin (compared to most traditional products) and keep 'evolving', so to speak – sometimes with unsettling frequency.
In such a scenario, how does a well-meaning IFA continue to provide conflict free advice to its client base, without succumbing to the temptation of migrating to the distribution of higher revenue products that may be ill fitted to client requirements?