Coaching people to master money matters

Nisreen Mamaji 

Popularly known as “solutions provider” Nisreen Mamaji has been in the field of Financial Planning and Advisory since 1993. Presently, she handles 150 relationships in the financial planning space. She has helped investors right from wedding plans to retirement funding to children’s foreign education and even to plan a foreign holiday or purchase a car. Nisreen has a certification in Life Planning that encompasses life coaching along with money management and her clients perceive her to be a friend & coach, not simply a financial advisor. “Let your dreams soar high- I will help you to make them a reality or fine tune them into achievable dreams”, says Nisreen passionately.

Nisreen is committed to helping women make their own financial decisions and conducts at least 4 annual investor awareness programs solely for women. Her corporate social responsibility targets include helping domestic workers and staff in starting systematic investment plans. These plans have been a source of comfort for many, since she has channelized their meagre earnings and ensured financial freedom in times of financial stress.

Nisreen started her career with the American International Group in Dubai. She became one of their leading sales personnel within a short span of 4 years. She worked with Lintas India as an Assistant Client Executive and upon return to India she became one of the first 2000 advisors with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance.  Her education is in sync with her career since she has completed her Bachelor of Commerce from Sydenham College ; LLB- General from Government Law College; Masters in Management Studies from Sydenham Institute of Management and Certified Financial Planning from Financial Planning Standards Board of India. Infact she is a Gold Medalist in FYLLB for the year 1986.

High point in career

“Making the switch from an Insurance Agent to a Financial Planner was the eye opener for me which pushed me to dream big and visualize myself as an expert on Investments and Personal Finance. Constant education and completion of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNING certification pushed me to realize this vision.”

Most challenging assignment so far

“Dealing with an HNI Non Resident Indian has been my most challenging assignment. His family had been dealing with a private bank for many years and had heard of me via my regular mails to them and my posts on social media. After regular meetings they decided to switch their investment account to my firm which is typically a boutique advisory firm with emphasis on knowledge, service and quick operational efficiencies.  This interaction boosted my confidence to a large extent and after that I was able to convert several HNI clients. My body language and mannerisms reflected this new found confidence and I discovered success breeds success.”

Greatest inspiration

“My mother is my greatest inspiration because of her ‘never say die’ attitude and her robust perseverance even at the age of 78. My strongest learning from her is that “Failures are the stepping stones to success” and one must rise at every fall. I’m hoping to pass on these techniques of life management to my children as well. Her joie de vivre is contagious and one yearns to be in her presence due to her positivity and magnetism. She has been a home-maker when I was growing up and became a business person after I left to get married. Till date she designs and sells customized jewellery pieces to her select set of clients. In her own words she keeps ‘Alzheimer’s at bay’.”

Most important milestone in life

“When my son went to Canada to pursue his BE in Materials Engineering, I had reached a milestone which filled me with exhilaration. My work entails creating Education plans for many families and ensuring that many children’s dreams are met. When I achieved that milestone for my own family I could truly understand the meaning of my work. The dreams that one can help materialize is a powerful motivator to not only me but countless others who I am grateful to advise.”

Women are the better halves. What does it mean?

“My opinion is that women fill their homes with grace, charm, colour and fragrance. She has the capacity to convert a house into a home, exude warmth, calm frayed nerves and be a confidante. The woman of the house necessarily has to play her roles with elan, and hence creates this wonderful positive energy for her family. A woman’s contribution to her family outweighs those of her partner simply because she is better at multi-tasking and is more intuitive by nature. She is a whole and a half at the same instant; that is the beauty of a woman.”

Experiences on being a woman entrepreneur

“I have been lucky since my husband has been extremely supportive of my ambitions and realized early on in our marriage that the only way to avoid a nagging wife was to help me realize my potential. He has wholeheartedly supported my endeavours and roles; been a hands-on father, decent cook and willing ear. The first step to being an entrepreneur is when the hygiene factors are taken care of, therefore my husband has played his part sensitively.

As far as my male clients go, initially they wondered if a woman financial advisor really could make the grade, but after successive meetings thought no more of my gender and completely trust my advice. Women clients typically find it easier to confide in women advisors and the trust factor is easy to establish.

Many women today find it extremely hard to balance their homes and careers/businesses since it is an accepted fact in Indian society that she has to be completely responsible for the family well-being. If she cannot manage to muster support either from her husband/in-laws/parents/staff; she feels she is pushed to giving up her ambitions.”

How did you believe in making dreams come true?

  • Wait for an opportune time to make your dreams come true.
  • Plan for every eventuality in detail
  • Always have an alternate plan in place
  • Network in every social or business situation
  • Constantly ideate
  • Regularly meet people who interest you and make you happy
  • Eat/sleep/exercise well
  • Stay happy

Challenges faced

I started my career in Financial Services with Insurance Sales in Dubai. This is an industry which is ruthless and can teach you everything about rejection and sales. Cold-calling in 45 degree Celsius temperature , facing doors being slammed, acquaintances not returning calls, walking miles since I could not afford a taxi are some of the challenges I have faced. On returning to India, I had two small children, little help and friends did not even bother to give me an appointment. I had to start building my contacts from scratch. I applied my learning’s from insurance sales and gradually expanded to provide comprehensive financial services.

Setbacks and lessons learnt

  • Follow a push not pull strategy. There are enough buyers for the service you are trying to provide. Let the buyer find you and not vice versa
  • Your best sales person is your client. Make that reference work
  • It’s not all about money. Service is the most important
  • Use technology effectively
  • Optimize your working hours so that you enjoy your non-working ones
  • Develop skills and hobbies which fill your hours post retirement
  • Be nice to people, everyone is walking the same tightrope
  • Go easy on your kids, childhood comes only once
  • Live your life by example