I want to become a SEBI registered advisor but worried if I will succeed

Published: July 16, 2022 at 6:00 am

A reader who prefers anonymity asks, “I would like to become a SEBI registered fee-only advisor. However many people in financial services have discouraged me. They either ask me to do something else or become a commission-based advisor or charge a fee based on the AUM of the client. I find these models unappealing. I am worried if I will succeed as a fee-only advisor. Please advise”.

On further discussion, we found that the person satisfies the necessary qualifications to become an individual SEBI registered fee-only advisor – NISM level 2 certification, a relevant PG degree with five years of experience working with an online intermediary and a net worth of Rs. 5 lakhs.

So there is no technical issue in becoming a SEBI registered investment advisor. However, there are many practical issues.

  1. Becoming an SBI RIA is a full-time job. So do not get into it unless you have at least 5 years of expenses ready for use.
  2. Many SEBI RIAs are struggling to get clients on a regular basis (regardless of their fee model). Of course, there are many successful ones but they are more exceptions rather than examples. This is true of even commission-based agents.
  3. SEBI is an annoying regulator. There are too many compliances to worry about and potential changes in regulations in future.
  4. Unless you are absolutely sure that one-to-one client advisory is your calling and nothing else will make you happy, do not go down this path. Even if you do, have a backup plan ready if things do not work out!
  5. If you are sure about this and if you do not mind the struggle in the initial years to get clients, then this is what you will need. A practical approach is to follow these steps (without offering advisory services) and create content regularly to appreciate what readers expect and build a community around you.
  6. Once your readers or viewers send you requests about getting your advice for a fee, you know that you are ready and can get registered with SEBI with much more confidence.
  7. A friendly website that tells the viewer the scope of your services clearly is crucial. Here are some excellent examples:
  8.  What is much, much harder, and what most advisors do not have, is a client attraction strategy. How will you make people realise that there is an advisor like you on the planet? If you can crack this, you can become a successful advisor – whether the revenue comes in via commissions or is AUM based or is a flat fee.
  9. Once the clients start coming and if you are good and only if you are good, they will send other clients your way by referrals.
  10. You can consult any of the RIAs on our list of SEBI registered fee-only advisors.

So the goal should be to build a diversified client acquisition strategy via

  • Articles on your website
  • Videos on your website or on YouTube or on social media
  • Posts or Tweets on social media
  • Quotes in newspapers (for which a good Twitter presence makes a difference)
  • Community outreach etc.
  • guest posting on popular websites or newspapers.
  • Your friends and colleague circles.

But will you say in these articles or videos or tweets? There are so many examples of what not to say!

Join over 32,000 readers and get free money management solutions delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to get posts via email!
🔥Enjoy massive discounts on our robo-advisory tool & courses! 🔥
  • importance of financial planning
  • importance of an advisor
  • I will help you sort your finances
  • oh look how smart I am!

These are things that would drive away most clients! A potential client is looking for two things: (1) Is this person competent? Where can I see evidence of this? (2) Is this person approachable and friendly? The second question will be answered in part by your online behaviour and in part by the initial discussion or con-call.

A client decides competence if she finds answers to her questions in your content. So it is imperative that the advisor writes from the point of view of a client. Many advisors fail to do this.

We have a course which can help wannabe advisors build a client attraction strategy by systematically showcasing their competence: Increase your income by getting people to pay for your skills!

In summary, we recommend those aspiring to become SEBI registered advisors to first spend time understanding what clients want and creating content that caters to their needs. Build a community of loyal readers or followers first (while continuing with your present job) and then get registered with SEBI and start advisory services to immediately work on an interested client base (and potential referrals thereon).

Inspiring fee-only advisor stories (exceptions maybe but inspiring nonetheless)

Do share this article with your friends using the buttons below.

🔥Enjoy massive discounts on our courses, robo-advisory tool and exclusive investor circle! 🔥& join our community of 5000+ users!
Use our Robo-advisory Tool for a start-to-finish financial plan! More than 1,000 investors and advisors use this!
New Tool! => Track your mutual funds and stock investments with this Google Sheet!
We also publish monthly equity mutual funds, debt and hybrid mutual funds, index funds and ETF screeners and momentum, low-volatility stock screeners.
Follow Freefincal on Google News
Follow Freefincal on Google News
Subscribe to the freefincal Youtube Channel. Subscribe button courtesy: Vecteezy.
Subscribe to the freefincal Youtube Channel.
Follow freefincal on WhatsApp Channel
Follow freefincal on WhatsApp
Podcast: Let's Get RICH With PATTU! Every single Indian CAN grow their wealth! 
Listen to the Lets Get Rich with Pattu Podcast
Listen to the Let's Get Rich with Pattu Podcast
You can watch podcast episodes on the OfSpin Media Friends YouTube Channel.
Lets Get RICH With PATTU podcast on YouTube
Let's Get RICH With PATTU podcast on YouTube.
🔥Now Watch Let's Get Rich With Pattu தமிழில் (in Tamil)! 🔥
  • Do you have a comment about the above article? Reach out to us on Twitter: @freefincal or @pattufreefincal
  • Have a question? Subscribe to our newsletter using the form below.
  • Hit 'reply' to any email from us! We do not offer personalized investment advice. We can write a detailed article without mentioning your name if you have a generic question.

Join over 32,000 readers and get free money management solutions delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to get posts via email!

About The Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
Our flagship course! Learn to manage your portfolio like a pro to achieve your goals regardless of market conditions! More than 3,000 investors and advisors are part of our exclusive community! Get clarity on how to plan for your goals and achieve the necessary corpus no matter the market condition is!! Watch the first lecture for free!  One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos! Reduce fear, uncertainty and doubt while investing! Learn how to plan for your goals before and after retirement with confidence.
Our new course!  Increase your income by getting people to pay for your skills! More than 700 salaried employees, entrepreneurs and financial advisors are part of our exclusive community! Learn how to get people to pay for your skills! Whether you are a professional or small business owner who wants more clients via online visibility or a salaried person wanting a side income or passive income, we will show you how to achieve this by showcasing your skills and building a community that trusts and pays you! (watch 1st lecture for free). One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos!   
Our new book for kids: “Chinchu Gets a Superpower!” is now available!
Both boy and girl version covers of Chinchu gets a superpower
Both the boy and girl-version covers of "Chinchu Gets a superpower".
Most investor problems can be traced to a lack of informed decision-making. We made bad decisions and money mistakes when we started earning and spent years undoing these mistakes. Why should our children go through the same pain? What is this book about? As parents, what would it be if we had to groom one ability in our children that is key not only to money management and investing but to any aspect of life? My answer: Sound Decision Making. So, in this book, we meet Chinchu, who is about to turn 10. What he wants for his birthday and how his parents plan for it, as well as teaching him several key ideas of decision-making and money management, is the narrative. What readers say!
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower (small version)
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower!
Must-read book even for adults! This is something that every parent should teach their kids right from their young age. The importance of money management and decision making based on their wants and needs. Very nicely written in simple terms. - Arun.
Buy the book: Chinchu gets a superpower for your child!
How to profit from content writing: Our new ebook is for those interested in getting side income via content writing. It is available at a 50% discount for Rs. 500 only!
Do you want to check if the market is overvalued or undervalued? Use our market valuation tool (it will work with any index!), or get the Tactical Buy/Sell timing tool!
We publish monthly mutual fund screeners and momentum, low-volatility stock screeners.
About freefincal & its content policy. Freefincal is a News Media Organization dedicated to providing original analysis, reports, reviews and insights on mutual funds, stocks, investing, retirement and personal finance developments. We do so without conflict of interest and bias. Follow us on Google News. Freefincal serves more than three million readers a year (5 million page views) with articles based only on factual information and detailed analysis by its authors. All statements made will be verified with credible and knowledgeable sources before publication. Freefincal does not publish paid articles, promotions, PR, satire or opinions without data. All opinions will be inferences backed by verifiable, reproducible evidence/data. Contact information: letters {at} freefincal {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
Connect with us on social media
Our publications

You Can Be Rich Too with Goal-Based Investing

You can be rich too with goal based investingPublished by CNBC TV18, this book is meant to help you ask the right questions and seek the correct answers, and since it comes with nine online calculators, you can also create custom solutions for your lifestyle! Get it now.
Gamechanger: Forget Startups, Join Corporate & Still Live the Rich Life You Want Gamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantThis book is meant for young earners to get their basics right from day one! It will also help you travel to exotic places at a low cost! Get it or gift it to a young earner.

Your Ultimate Guide to Travel

Travel-Training-Kit-Cover-new This is an in-depth dive into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when travelling, and how travelling slowly is better financially and psychologically, with links to the web pages and hand-holding at every step. Get the pdf for Rs 300 (instant download)