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Microfinance Now: Nachiket Mor

“Anything you do in India, whether you set up a large business or a small company in a sense implicitly speaks to the problem of poverty because we are a very poor country,” says Indian businessman and entrepreneur Nachiket Mor. Drawing on more than two decades as a successful corporate banker with India’s second largest bank ICICI, Mor has pioneered a new approach to wealth management for poor people living in rural India. With IFMR Trust Mor was part of a team that designed a holistic approach to financial advice for poor clients looking at the household’s cashflow and across the lifecycle of the family to consider what products are most appropriate to help the household manage their finances. The concept is now being rolled out across rural India. Microfinance has traditionally offered a simple, and restrictive, set of products to poor clients. But that’s not what poor clients need, says Mor. A more complex product may make a poor person’s life simpler: “Our belief was always that we have to own the complexity… so the client’s life becomes simpler.” The concept of wealth management relies on incentives for staff that encourage good financial advice across the whole lifecycle of a family. The model takes a holistic approach to the household, and a long-term approach to profitability. Companies that set out to serve clients well tend to survive and enjoy long-term profits because there is a natural strong demand for finance, according to Mor: “In that environment if you’re not profitable, you’re doing something wrong.”

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