We Aim To Foster Responsible Investments Among Young Investors: Puneeth Bekal, HDFC Securities

The goal is to provide trusted guidance beyond traditional mutual funds through both digital and mainstream media, he asserts

The past years have been immensely invigorating for the Indian capital markets. While the primary market is bustling with unprecedented interest in initial public offerings (IPOs), the indexes of the secondary market are consistently touching new highs. A big chunk of first-time investors are flooding the stock markets, and brokerages are opening trading and demat accounts at a never-seen-before rate.

In light of the above, we spoke with Puneeth Bekal, the newly appointed EVP and CMO of HDFC Securities, on taking up the new role, the goals he has set for it, his plans to cater to a wide spectrum of consumers, contextualising meaningful messages for them, betting big on digital to drive marketing success, and more.

Excerpts:

Q. What motivated you to pursue this new role and how have you been adapting to the new responsibilities and challenges of the position?

My journey through various esteemed brands and industries has been marked by transformative experiences, particularly during pivotal moments of change. Joining HDFC Securities presents an exciting opportunity to leverage our expertise and platforms to empower young Indians seeking brands they can trust. Spearheading HDFC Securities towards its vision alongside industry stalwarts and a talented team is a thrilling prospect for me.

Q. What specific goals or objectives have you set for yourself in this new role?

We aim to become the premier brand in the industry, offering a comprehensive range of services catering to investors across different age groups and demographics. From digital platforms for entry-level investors to personalised managed services for seasoned investors, our goal spans across top metros and B30 cities.

Q. Take us through the present-day contours of online trading in India.

Technology integration has revolutionised wealth creation, witnessing a significant surge in SIP flows and fintech adoption. HDFC Sky, with its comprehensive offerings, is tapping into this trend, particularly from Tier 2 & 3 cities. Our focus lies in fostering responsible investments and awareness, especially among young investors, by providing trusted guidance beyond traditional mutual funds. SIP flows have doubled in 3 years and as per recent trends, fintech accounts for approximately 50 per cent of SIP accounts opened. And this is not limited to the Top 30 cities, for some fintech players, 2/3 of their customers and AUM are from B30 cities (Beyond Top 30).

Q. How do you perceive the role of marketing evolving in the financial services industry, particularly in the context of HDFC Securities?

Honestly, it’s a very exciting time to be a marketeer. I feel like marketing is finally getting its share on the table. Marketing in the financial services industry is undergoing a remarkable transformation, propelled by data analytics, AI/ML, and digital capabilities. It's not merely about campaigns anymore; it's about delivering relevant experiences to consumers at the right moment and through the right channels.

Q. How do you plan to collaborate with other departments to ensure alignment and support for your marketing efforts?

Collaboration across functions is integral to aligning the organisation towards a common business and brand vision. Working closely with product, design, sales, HR, and finance ensures synergy and maximises support for our marketing efforts.

Q. Could you share insights into the target audience for HDFC Securities and how marketing strategies are tailored to resonate with their needs and preferences?

Our digital platforms cater to a diverse audience, ranging from novice investors to seasoned professionals and UHNIs seeking customised solutions. By leveraging audience insights, we tailor our engagement strategies to deliver differentiated offerings that resonate with their needs and preferences.

Q. Can you give me a sense of your marketing budget in 2024? Which media will remain investment-heavy for HDFC Securities?

In 2024, our primary focus remains on digital channels to enhance investor awareness and promote responsible investing through a seamless, all-in-one platform. However, traditional media such as print and broadcast continue to play a significant role in reinforcing our industry leadership with valuable insights.

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