The end of a calendar year also heralds the beginning of the last quarter before the financial year concludes. It provides an opportunity to not just reflect on the past nine months but also take corrective steps forward to ensure that this fiscal ends on the right note.
Since insurance and mutual funds happen to be the preferred instruments for most individual investors, we asked three experts to analyse how they were specifically impacted during 2013 and going forward, how one should deal with them as 2014 commences.
Vineet Patni, Chief Distribution Officer, Bharti AXA Life Insurance, shared that the shift to traditional products from ULIPs is almost complete. The shift has resulted in the need for better education for the customers to understand the more complex traditional products. Overall 2013 also witnessed an improved regulatory regime and better processes.
Life stage planning
“Year 2014 will see higher customer focus from insurancers and they should make full use of this. Life insurance plays an important role in a personal portfolio as it is not only an investment tool but protects the customer’s family in case of any emergency. Insurance products can be very useful for life stage planning as they provide guaranteed returns on future dates. Customers should ensure that they know exactly what they are buying. They should ask the insurance advisor to help them in their life stage planning and offer the correct product as per their needs,” he feels.
K. K. Mishra, CEO, TATA AIG General insurance Company Limited, opines that competition has led to product innovations and heightened choices for the end consumer. “We believe that this trend will persist and lead to higher penetration of non-life products. 2014 will see enhanced customer service levels at each touch point and seamless claims handling by general insurers.”
Vidya Bala, Head of Mutual fund Research, FundsIndia.com, advises individuals to take stock of their asset allocation before 2014 begins. If you are either underexposed to equity, debt or gold, when compared with your original asset allocation (based on your time frame and risk profile) then up your investments in the required asset classes to ensure that you remain asset balanced. Exit dud stocks/funds and stay invested or increase exposure to ones with a good track record, she says.
Look for more insights and the second part of this article in next week’s issue