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Winning with empathy and a listening ear

Anooshka Soham Bathwal, CEO and Founder of Dhanvesttor, analyses women’s perspectives towards financial services and shares her business growth plans:

Winning with empathy and a listening ear

Ravi Lalwani: What inspired you to start Dhanvesttor? How do you aim to make a difference in its industry or community, and what sets you apart from competitors?

Anooshka Soham Bathwal: I was inspired to start Dhanvesttor after recognizing a glaring gap in the finance industry: the lack of spaces where women felt comfortable and empowered to engage with financial matters. While managing my family office, I often found myself in rooms dominated by men, feeling intimidated and underconfident to ask questions or participate fully. Through coaching and mentorship, I realized this wasn’t about my competence but about gender dynamics.

Our primary research confirmed a significant demand for a finance platform tailored to women’s needs – for investing and for learning and empowerment. Dhanvesttor was born from the idea of creating a space where women could confidently explore finance without fear of judgement, fostering co-learning and community building with empathy at its core.

What sets us apart is our commitment to driving empathy into finance. We recognize that financial growth is not just about numbers, it is also about fostering understanding and confidence. We prioritize client education and empowerment; and we offer community classes and resources designed to aid women to meet their financial goals.

Dhanvesttor’s unique approach to finance resonates with women seeking investment opportunities complemented with supportive community and a deeper understanding of financial principles. By addressing the gender imbalance in finance and creating a more inclusive space, we believe we can drive meaningful change within our industry and within our community.

What changes in demand for financial services have you seen among women customers in the last 2 years?

In the last 2 years, we’ve observed significant shifts in what women demand of financial services. One notable change is their increased focus on long-term financial planning over short-term trading. Our women customers have expressed a strong desire to prioritize stability and avoid capital erosion, indicating a preference for low-risk investment strategies.

There is another noticeable shift – while they still value guidance from our financial managers, they now seek more empathy and a listening ear during interactions. Women want to feel understood and respected, and they appreciate financial institutions that prioritize their concerns and perspectives.

Furthermore, there’s been a notable trend towards women relying more on their own intuition and rationale when making financial decisions. Rather than solely relying on the advice of professionals, women are increasingly trusting their gut feelings and personal assessments of investment opportunities.

These changes reflect a growing sense of empowerment and autonomy among women customers in the financial sector. With time, they are becoming more assertive in articulating their preferences and expectations from financial services.

What changes in demand for financial services do you expect among women customers in the next 2 years?

In the upcoming years, we anticipate a notable transformation. As women increasingly recognize their financial influence and distinct requirements, they will seek more tailored solutions from financial institutions. This demand will extend to personalized financial products and services that align with their individual life goals and circumstances.

Moreover, there will be a heightened emphasis on financial education and empowerment among women. Today, women seek accessible resources and guidance to enhance their financial literacy and confidence in managing their finances effectively. Financial institutions will need to prioritize clear and inclusive communication, to provide comprehensive support for women seeking to improve their financial knowledge and decision-making skills.

Further, there will be a growing demand for alternative loan options, particularly among female business owners and individuals facing unique financial challenges. Women will seek more flexible credit policies and customized debt products, such as maternity loans and education loans for upskilling, to address their specific needs and circumstances.

Financial institutions will need to adapt to these evolving demands by offering innovative solutions and fostering a deeper understanding of women’s financial perspectives and requirements. Doing so will help them build stronger relationships with female customers and gain a competitive edge in the market.

Compared to men, what financial products do women prefer more and prefer less?

As per my knowledge, women often gravitate towards mutual funds due to the benefits of better diversification, even with smaller investment amounts, resulting in reduced risks. This preference is particularly relevant for women who may not have the financial means to engage in portfolio management services or are hesitant to initiate investments with a large amount of money. However, women who like personal attention and have a larger lump of amount usually tend to prefer portfolio management services (PMS). This preference stems from the ability to have their voices heard and their portfolios customized to their unique needs and financial aspirations. This personalized approach gives them a greater sense of comfort, knowing that their specific goals are being taken into account.

Tell us about your financial literacy campaigns targeted at women customers?

At Dhanvesttor, our financial literacy campaigns for women customers are rooted in the trio of empathy, compassion, and inclusivity. We believe in creating small and intimate settings where women feel comfortable and supported to learn and grow without fear of judgment. Each session is facilitated by a moderator, ensuring that everyone feels valued and respected regardless of their level of financial knowledge.

Our campaigns focus not only on co-learning but also on fostering one-on-one interactions, allowing women to receive personalized guidance and support tailored to their individual needs. By prioritizing community building, we provide women with a network of non-judgmental peers who share similar goals and aspirations.

The essence of our campaigns lies in creating a safe space where women can explore financial topics openly and without inhibition. We recognize that financial literacy is not just acquiring knowledge but also building confidence and empowering women to take control of their financial futures.

Through our unique blend of compassion, empathy, and open-mindedness, we aim to bring out the best in each participant, facilitating meaningful connections and fostering a sense of belonging and growth. Our ultimate goal is to equip women with the skills and knowledge they need to achieve financial independence and security, and thus empower them to thrive both personally and professionally.

Can you share any upcoming projects or initiatives your company is working on? What are your long-term goals for the company?

Certainly, our focus at Dhanvesttor is on strategic growth and impactful initiatives. Currently, our primary goal is to scale our operations across India, with a particular emphasis on reaching women in tier 2 & 3 cities. While we have received interest from international markets like the UAE and Europe, our immediate priority is to establish a strong presence in our home country and ensure we’re meeting the needs of our target demographic effectively.

In line with this vision, we aim to develop a user-friendly mobile app in the long run. This app will not only provide access to investment products like Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) but also prioritize financial education through co-learning and community engagement features. Our aim is to make financial empowerment accessible to a wider audience of women, transcending barriers of geography and socioeconomic status.

We are also looking forward to expanding our services to include microfinance, thereby furthering our mission to empower women economically. However, we’re committed to prioritizing the quality of our offerings over quantity as we grow to ensure that each initiative aligns with our core values and contributes meaningfully to our goal of fostering financial literacy and empowerment among women.

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