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KarloCompare closes angel investment round with a 7-figure funding

KarloCompare announced today that they have raised a PKR 7-figure funding from Hina Khawaja Bayat and Roger Dawood Bayat in their first angel investment round. The exact amount remains undisclosed.

KarloCompare, a finance startup, takes its functional model from other e-commerce stores where you can compare various products available. It serves as a one-stop place for consumers to browse through a complete range of credit cards, personal and auto loans, broadband packages, travel and auto insurances. The startup’s co-founders, Sumair Farooqui and Ali Ladhubhai, with their background as bankers are doing all the legwork by accumulating necessary information at one place, allowing people to make informed decisions.

Speaking on the massive effect their startup can have, Sumair said:

"Buying personal financial products in Pakistan can be a tedious process. With KarloCompare, Pakistani consumers will be able to discover and easily access personal finance products that match their requirements. We are confident that our efforts will help consumers in making more informed decisions about the financial products and services that they consume".

When they sat down for an interview with TechJuice in April, they had just started off. The funding they have raised in a relatively small time since their launch is worth appreciating. With their funding, however, the startup will also see some changes in their team. Roger Dawood Bayat will join the company as the Chairman of the Board to help direct the team in building out operations. Since launching, they have also added Farid ul Haque and Muhammad Rehan Qadri to their advisory board. Farid will provide strategic guidance to the team and board of directors, whereas Rehan will provide guidance and oversight in building scalable financial technology products for the company.

Investor Hina Khawaja Bayat, rather impressed with the startup, said:

"A service like KarloCompare is beneficial for both consumers and product providers. It allows the consumer to make an informed, independent choice at a bargain price. Since these are not physical products that one needs to feel, touch or see, it allows someone like myself access to them without the hassle of going out there and finding the best option suited to my needs. KarloCompare does that for me! And for many women out there who want to make independent choices, particularly regarding their own finances, KarloCompare will make their lives easier by giving them all the options in one place."

Since their launch KarloCompare has gone on to establish partnerships with leading insurance providers such as Jubilee General Insurance and EFU General Insurance, with other partnerships in the pipeline. At the moment the website hosts a total of 266 products and services in the multiple product categories that are live. Other categories are to be added in the near future.

Begin with the end in mind

Seeing only trees instead of the woods

Clients come to financial service professionals with one main goal in mind that is to grow their wealth. At the onset, I believe this much is clear.

Whether or not this goal is explicitly communicated to the financial services professional is immaterial because for all intents and purposes, every other course of action taken subsequently should ultimately be geared towards this one goal.

However, this is where the challenge lies.

Many financial services professionals whom I come across are, in fact, very experienced product specialists in their own right. The majority hail from the unit trust, banking, estate planning or insurance industry where they have in-depth knowledge on the personal financial products under their wing. Because of their experience and familiarity with the products they sell, there exists a sense of assurance for the clients to rely on recommendations given.

Financial services professionals, who are product specialists, will naturally build on their strengths and experience in what they do best. This often involves focusing strongly on selected products that they feel are the most competitive and beneficial to clients. Frankly, theres nothing wrong with it. In fact, knowing which products are best suited for the client is one of the hallmarks of an effective financial adviser.

Ironically, it is this high level of specialisation which causes the financial services professional to fail in his/her duty to support the client to meet their ultimate goal. How can they, when excessive focus is placed solely on products as a solution to grow wealth?

Inadvertently any financial services professional that practises this will lose sight of the end and ultimately override the clients ultimate goal.

This revelation may come as a surprise to both client and financial professional alike, but it is precisely what is happening on a daily basis.

I cant fathom the number of clients I have consulted who have deviated from the path and possess a trail of impractical products in the wake. Not only is this ineffective towards achieving the ultimate goal of growing net worth, but there is also a risk of there being overlapping investment choices that could cost money or even decisions which conflict one another.

Over time, the client becomes disenchanted with the ability of the financial services professional to meet his expectations and starts to lose faith in the service provided.

How to bridge the gap

Therefore, I urge all financial services professionals to reflect and rethink their role and obligation to clients, and adjust their bearings if necessary. They should ensure that they have a birds eye view of the clients financial position in totality in order to act in their clients best interest.

Instead of recommending financial products in silo, keep in mind the ultimate objective and assess how the recommended products fit into the clients big picture.

Moving your finances towards the same end

Likewise, I also call upon consumers to have more active involvement in the professional relationship with their financial adviser. Know what your ultimate goal is and be alert and attuned to all personal financial decisions made.

Should you feel that you are straying away from the end goal, it is your right and responsibility as the client, to remind financial services professionals of their role to keep both parties on the same track.

Think of it as a form of check and balance. Mutual monitoring will prevent any potential gaps from occurring and forge closer working ties between the financial professional and the client.

It may be easier said than done, given the complexities of personal finance, but its one that is achievable if a financial services professional has a strong and robust advisory system capable of supporting the financial services professionals true mission.

Ultimately, a financial services professional needs to stay relevant and remain engaged with their clients in order to deliver to his/her level best throughout the professional relationship. They must not lose sight or focus, and be able to ensure that their service offering, be it life insurance, will writing, unit trust, loan or banking products, has what it takes to support the clients objective of growing wealth.

If these circumstances can be realised, then and only then, I believe the financial services professional and client can find their way back into a loving relationship again.

Ive been looking for someone to shed some light,

Not somebody just to get me through the night,

I could use some direction,

And Im open to your suggestions.

[Chorus]

All I wanna do is find a way back into love.

I cant make it through without a way back into love.

And if I open my heart again,

I guess Im hoping youll be there for me in the end!

~ Lyrics from Way Back to Love from the movie Music amp; Lyrics

  • Yap Ming Hui (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) is a bestselling author, TV personality, columnist and coach on money optimisation. For more information, please visit www.whitman.com.my


PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union holds 80th Annual Meeting

PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union holds 80th Annual Meeting

MUNCIE, IN (May 17, 2016) PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union recently held its 80th Annual Meeting at the company's administrative headquarters in Muncie, Indiana.

The Annual Meeting featured a review of fiscal year 2015 financial performance and accomplishments as well as the election of Board members for 2016. Newly elected board members include: David Baney, Jeff Carter, and Lora Hildreth. They join Chairperson Marilyn Smith, Vice Chairperson Linda Mann, Secretary Annette Balfour, and Jason Webber. Brad Matheny, Melissa Pease and Jason Webber serve as the Supervisory Committee. All directors and committee members are volunteers.

Among the highlights cited by PrimeTrust President and CEO Jeff Sikora was the return of more than $138,000 to credit union members as part of the company's "Patronage Award" program. More than 10,500 members were awarded, a record number for the 80-year old institution. "We're delighted to be able to reward members for making PrimeTrust their primary financial institution", Sikora commented. "As a financial co-operative, we subscribe to the philosophy that when we strengthen one, we strengthen all."

Also noted during the meeting were the numerous contributions and sponsorships by PrimeTrust of local charitable endeavors and community events. In 2015, more than 70 local organizations were assisted with their philanthropic efforts by PrimeTrust which included numerous volunteer hours by PTF employees.

"As an organization dedicated to helping our members, we understand the critical importance of helping others and making our communities stronger. The financial and volunteer support we provide is an opportunity more than an obligation to give back, and one we've embraced throughout our 80 years in Muncie", Sikora added. "Philanthropy is part of our DNA at PrimeTrust and we believe one of the reasons our members continue to value the relationships we've developed."

Photo caption: David Baney, Jeff Carter, and Lora Hildreth were all elected at the 2016 Annual Meeting to serve on the Board of Directors for PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union.

About PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union

PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in Muncie (and 30th largest in assets in Indiana) and offers a variety of consumer and personal financial products and services. Founded in 1936, as Warner Gear Employees Federal Credit Union, PrimeTrust has three branch locations in Muncie and more than 75 employees. Credit Union membership is open to all residents of Delaware County, as well as any persons who work, worship or attend school in the County.

Contacts

Carol Bradshaw
Marketing Director
765-281-4228
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union works to fight hunger

PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union works to fight hunger

MUNCIE, IN (June 7, 2016) PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union recently partnered with several local businesses to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank.

The promotion dubbed as "FILL A TRUCK" encouraged credit union members and community residents to donate non-perishable food items to fill a Ford F-250 truck provided by Dellen Ford of Muncie.

The six week campaign was promoted by media sponsor WLBC, a division of Woof Boom Radio Group throughout the month of April and May.  Donation boxes were placed at branch locations along with large outdoor banners.  Dellen Ford displayed the F-250 truck at each branch throughout the promotion and WLBC broadcast live from the main branch location on West Bethel on April 30th.

Thanks to the generosity of our members and the community, the FILL A TRUCK promotion was able to raise $181.00 in monetary contributions and 651 pounds of food for Second Harvest Food Bank located in Muncie, Indiana.  Second Harvest is a regional partner of the Feeding America national food bank network.

PrimeTrust is headquartered in Delaware County, Indiana which has one of the highest percentages of impoverished residents in East Central Indiana with over 20,500 people living in poverty, based on federal poverty guidelines.  Second Harvest distributes nearly 9 million pounds of food annually to an eight county territory.

For more information on Second Harvest go to www.curehunger.com.

About PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union

PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in Muncie (and 30th largest in assets in Indiana) and offers a variety of consumer and personal financial products and services. Founded in 1936, as Warner Gear Employees Federal Credit Union, PrimeTrust has three branch locations in Muncie and more than 75 employees. Credit Union membership is open to all residents of Delaware County, as well as any persons who work, worship or attend school in the County.

Contacts

Carol Bradshaw
Marketing Director
765-281-4228
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



DIY financial planning – solution or illusion?

DO-IT-YOURSELF (DIY) the ubiquitous term that has, over the past half century or so, become more and more prevalent in consumer culture and is increasingly gaining a foothold in areas we would not have thought of decades ago.

It essentially refers to one taking on a task in an area without engaging the direct aid of experts or professionals.

In this age and time where almost every answer to a problem or question can be found on Google or YouTube, what cant we do ourselves?

A phenomenon that has seen a boom lately is DIY financial planning.

It is commendable that a growing number of Malaysians actually recognise and acknowledge the need to address financial planning at this point in their lives. They see themselves as well informed and primed to take the next step in planning for their financial future as the advancement in financial technology coupled with an increasingly tech savvy population has resulted in people empowerment.

Countless websites are offering free financial calculators, price and product comparison tools. Even virtual fund managers (aka. robo-advisors) are now a trend. Supported by the emergence of a plethora of personal financial products available online, it would seem that creating ones own financial plan is just a mouse click away without any involvement from a real life person.

Locally, we have seen the launch of platforms such as Fundsupermart back in 2008, offering a wide variety of unit trust funds at lower costs directly to customers. This was followed by the availability of life and general insurance policies online provided by insurance companies including the likes of U For Life in 2015. Even leading local banks are providing online will writing services these days. With so many financial tools at ones disposal, it is easy for one to take on the role of becoming ones own financial planner.

But is it really that simple? Can DIY be the solution or does it simply present itself as an illusion of one?

The illusion

The underlying reasons why many individuals are inclined to go down the path of DIY financial planning are deep rooted in their preconception towards how financial planning should be done, such as:

I am in the best position to know my own finances and investment style;

Privacy is important to me. I am not comfortable disclosing every single detail of my finances to an outsider;

By doing it myself, I retain better control over where my money goes;

I do not want to take unnecessary risks by outsourcing to a 3rd party;

I am a highly qualified professional myself (eg accountant, financial controller, banker) and thus am more than capable of doing my own financial planning; or

I have very simple, safe, straightforward strategies and lifestyle (ie money in fixed deposits, no debts or dependants) so I can manage myself.

Proponents of DIY financial planning would also argue that going direct into the online financial products marketplace by far and large confers the benefits of time saved, money saved and you get to have your own say with what to do with your hard earned money.

What the individual fails to realise when he steps into the shoes of becoming his own financial planner is that there exists a void between the financial planning tools he is using and the products that he subsequently buys. Not only are the tools and products completely independent and detached from each other, there is the total absence of follow through from the planning to the execution stage.

You see, there are 8 key areas that affect your wealth. You will need to view your entire financial situation in a holistic manner with the ultimate aim of optimising your money in the 8 key areas of personal finance. Failure to do so gives rise to risks that could potentially affect your overall net worth significantly, costing you millions even.

Eight key areas of personal finance

Even if a DIY financial plan somehow manages to cover all 8 areas one by one, the overall effect will be on a rudimentary level at best because it still lacks total cohesiveness. It would be a fallacy to assume that just because one has a complete checklist of areas covered in his DIY financial plan, it is set to carry him through the rest of his future.

When you are your own financial planner, you are in essence, only capitalising on your own experience and know-how and will not be able to benchmark your financial situation against others like yourself.

Ergo, it is easy to be blindsided by the illusion of DIY financial planning when one underestimates the complexity of wealth management while at the same time overestimating his ability to successfully carry out a comprehensive financial plan.

The solution

To bridge this gap, consider engaging an independent financial advisor (IFA).

Being a full-time expert in his field, your IFA is able to provide personal service that cannot be obtained from an online financial planning tool. He can help you to optimise your money in the 8 key areas of personal finance holistically. More importantly, you will be tapping into your IFAs vast experience, discipline and objectivity in handling your financial needs advantages that a DIY route sorely lacks.

Your IFA is in the best position to offer you more investment and money optimisation ideas, lay out more benchmarking references and implement better measures to assess and control risks. Frequent performance reviews and updates will ensure that you are continuously kept informed of your investment performance.

This will result in your financial resources being better managed and steered towards a more holistic picture that encapsulates your true financial objectives.

Even as you engage an IFA, you are still the ultimate decision maker. You are completely involved in the entire financial planning process from start to end. This is because the real concept of working with an IFA does not mean outsourcing your financial planning but rather, working hand in hand with your IFA in a symbiotic partnership.

Your IFA is able to complement what you do in order to help you achieve your desired financial freedom by maximising your strengths while minimising your weaknesses. Any potential problems can be resolved quickly and effectively, leaving you with more time to do things that matter more.

In conclusion, DIY financial planning may be able to address certain aspects depending on the individuals experience and expertise. However, you may find that you might excel in a few areas but would have gaps in others.

In that sense, optimising your money then becomes a behemoth task when each area of your personal finance is not managed as one cohesive function.

In fact, the DIY financial plan may even create a false sense of comfort, security and sufficiency, preventing one from reviewing his financial needs and requirements that may change from time to time.

As such, instead of doing it yourself, it might be worth your effort to sit down and have a chat with your IFA. Do it together instead. A little time spent now would save you more time (and pain) in the end.

Yap Ming Hui (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) is a bestselling author, TV personality, columnist and coach on money optimisation. He heads Whitman Independent Advisors, a licensed independent financial advisory firm. For more information, please visit his website at www.whitman.com.my