Mediq Financial Services' Ravi Agarwal discusses how he sought to build a financial advice practice with a focus on helping a very niche client base – medical professionals.
FOR RAVI AGARWAL, immigrating to Australia with his wife Selina in 2010 was all about "finding something new".
Following a career working for large corporations in the UK's financial services industry, Mr Agarwal was looking at the different options for starting his own business.
After working in financial services for a significant time, however, it is hard to "divert" to another industry, he says.
"The financial industry is one that I have always worked in, so there was a natural calling in that industry," Mr
Agarwal explains – and he decided that ultimately, the financial advice sector was where he wanted to place his focus.
"I had always worked in corporate financial services and upon arriving in Australia I saw an opportunity and I saw that the advice sector was a fantastic industry," he says.
"There are very few industries where you get to pick the hours that you work, you can pick your clients, and you pick how much you want to charge them.
"But to top it all off, you can really help people and show people a reality they may not be able to see themselves," he says.
A niche clientele
When Mr Agarwal began to think about his new business, he knew he wanted to provide holistic advice to a very specific target market.
"It didn't matter what niche I chose – I definitely wanted to deal with a very specific group of people," he says.
"When you pick who you want to deal with, first you have to make sure that they will be able to afford your fees, they are people you want to deal with, that are receptive to advice, that you can actually help and add value to."
Mr Agarwal decided his business would service those in the medical profession, a decision which stemmed from his experiences growing up in London, where he was surrounded by family and friends who were members of the medical fraternity.
"Almost all of my family, friends and everyone in my social circle were doctors and I have seen that full transition of my peers getting the grades to get into med school and from med school to choosing a specialty and starting up a practice," he says.
"I have been immersed – effectively in a cradle-to-the-grave transition – in the medical field and that gives me a great ability to relate [to my clients]."
Mr Agarwal says due to his background, he is able to use his experiences and knowledge to benefit his clients.
"I am not an outsider trying to come in on what they are going through; I can help them through [the stages of their professional career]," he says.
Building the business
When Mr Agarwal was first establishing himself in
Australia, he began by taking his idea to other advice practices.
"I contacted other full-service firms and said, can I come in and create a medical division for you, and build it for you," he says. "I must have contacted 50, maybe 70 different practices. But there really wasn't a huge appetite."
After months of spending time getting in touch with these businesses, Mr Agarwal says he made the decision to build the business on his own and so he contacted his current licensee, Synchron.
Nearly five years on from the launch of Mediq Financial Services, Mr Agarwal finds himself at the helm of a thriving and prosperous business which has grown incrementally. He has plans for it to continue to grow, but remains cautious about not taking on too many clients.
"We only want to deal with a small number of clients but be really deeply involved in their financial affairs and be able to offer that higher level of service," he says.
"We certainly want to remain boutique – we anticipate growing headcount-wise from 19 to about 30 to 40 ... and we want to deal with no more than 500 clients.
"I think if we get bigger than that, it will be hard to be able to offer the same standard of advice we currently offer.
"It is really about working with those limitations and what might the business look like. We challenge ourselves with that every year, and I put it out there to say that is the vision," Mr Agarwal says.
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