SBI Securities is now curating tailored products for younger audiences: Deepak Kumar Lalla

SBI Securities is now curating tailored products for younger audiences: Deepak Kumar Lalla

Deepak Kumar Lalla, MD & CEO, SBICAP Securities Limited, explains the need for a refreshed brand identity, and connecting all the dots to bring forth a powerful narrative for the brand

Srabana LahiriUpdated: Monday, February 13, 2023, 10:27 AM IST
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Deepak Kumar Lalla, MD & CEO, SBICAP Securities Limited |

SBI Securities just announced its refreshed brand identity. Can you talk about the intent and scope of the brand transformation and why it was necessary at this point?

Although the brand State Bank of India (SBI) is India’s largest banking conglomerate and is a banker to every Indian, its retail broking arm SBI Securities wasn’t known to many. Hence, the aim was to redefine the brand’s core values, mission and vision statements to lay a strong brand foundation and create an identity that blends well with the parent brand SBI. Different aspects that would influence the brand strategy, the company’s vision, and its plan of execution, customers, and their mindsets – all were taken into consideration to bring forward the new brand identity.

Creating brand awareness was needed and with this refreshed brand identity launch, we are now set to increase the brand visibility as well. It was necessary at this time as now we are ready with people, processes and tech capabilities in place to take the competition head on. We now want to establish SBI Securities as India’s investment partner with this new brand identity.

Tell us about your tagline ‘Investment Aur Trust, Dono’, and insight behind bringing in the element of ‘trust’ from parent company SBI for it. What are other innovations in the ‘trust’ space?

Our tagline ‘Investment Aur Trust, Dono’ is a manifestation of our belief in our customers. Our leadership team understood that we as an organization are focused to embrace the digital investment landscape with our deep-rooted legacy of ‘trust’. This is where the idea to bring in the element of trust from our parent SBI and owning the investment category took form. It was a straightforward brief - focused positioning and memorable messaging. This gave us an opportunity to showcase the trust in handling our clients’ investments by depicting it through the metaphor of a handshake in our logo, aesthetically, while retaining the iconic SBI logo which is a symbol of trust. We were able to connect all the dots to bring forth a powerful narrative for the brand.

We pivot around customers and deliver connected, personalized experiences to enhance trust and deepen financial relationships with our customers. The biggest driver of trust is our customer confidence in us with respect to their money. Besides the quality of product and services we offer, affordability and the ability to help meet their financial goals are big drivers of trust.

We have started investing in targeted digital strategies and we leverage data more effectively to improve our understanding of customers and curate value propositions that foster trust. At the same time, the benefits of a physical presence as a touch-point for solving problems and receiving services cannot be overlooked and our pan-India presence is a testament to that.

How do the four verticals of SBICAP Securities - Retail Broking, Retail Sales, Retail Distribution & Retail Assets - contribute to the overall business?

The company reported overall revenues of Rs 844.88 crore and broking revenue of Rs 310.22 crore till YTD Dec ‘22. The company has a total client base of 33,48,607 (as of YTD Dec ’22).

Now, the DIY mode is growing among investors. What advice would you give to the investor with regard to managing his or her assets out there? What is the volume of first-time investors coming into the system?

The world of finance is being reframed faster than ever before, driven by customers’ changing needs and expectations.

What we have witnessed over the past two years is that the discount broking accounts are used by DIY investors or traders. However, even today in India, there is a large proportion of investors who prefer to pick up the phone, call their relationship manager (RMs), dealer or distributor and place the order. These are the investors who use demat accounts offered by full-service bank-led brokers. These investors generally invest in large amounts and might not have time to explore the DIY route. Hence, they rely on their trusted relationship managers. Having said that, we are also redefining our DIY journey for demat account opening, keeping in mind the young audiences who prefer it that way. We want to give them a seamless and connected experience, simple and fast.

Deepak Kumar Lalla, MD & CEO, SBICAP Securities Limited

Deepak Kumar Lalla, MD & CEO, SBICAP Securities Limited |

Our data shows that younger audiences are more focused on planning for their financial future. They also care more about personalized communication and we at SBI Securities understand their life situations and values. We are in the process of curating tailored products and services for the younger audiences that seamlessly anticipate their life and financial triggers; this will be crucial to winning their business.

DIY depends on how seamless and hassle-free the onboarding journey is, and then once onboarded, the customer is on his/her own. Therefore, DIY investing may seem a bit overwhelming as you have to rely on your judgement. There is no one to help you or take decisions on your behalf. However, such an approach can be a success as long as the customer stays focused and backs his/her investments on solid research.

What have been the top three learnings across your 37-year career at SBI? How have you seen the overall financial services sector evolve? 

My top learnings in the banking industry are:

Know your customer (and know what influences them)

Embrace technological progress

Collaborate & co-create with consumers to create a better product

Embed responsible business practices into your corporate DNA

Have a smarter architecture behind every smart multichannel strategy 

Retail banking used to be a relatively straightforward business back then. Banks understood the needs of their customers, they knew who their competitors were and they operated under fairly predictable levels of regulation. 

Today, technological advancement and wider reach of banking and related services are changing the face of the industry. The consumer is king in the digital world; experiences are the new product. This represents a different way of thinking about achieving growth, and requires a re-engineering of how the financial services companies should act, organize, invest and measure.

We have made giant strides in bundling products and services for customers with the objective of creating connected, ‘super-fluid’ experiences that can make managing financial lives as seamless as buying a shirt. We are taking that next step by embracing our credo of ‘Har Nivesh Ke Liye, Har Niveshak Ke Saath’ wherein we use incisive research, back-tailored advice and predictive capabilities to help guide customers’ digital investment journeys — this is our new objective going forward. 

Finally, tell us about yourself as a person, beyond the realm of work. What takes up your time outside the worksphere? 

By nature, I am an early riser. My internal clock wakes me up early and ready to take on the day without an alarm clock. Once I’m up, I exercise and then practise yoga. Post that, I typically read the newspaper and enjoy soft instrumental music to ensure that I put myself in the best mindset. Post work, I spend quality time with my family. I spend some time watching popular TV shows and check news headlines. I also connect with friends. Being able to make time for those everyday moments with my family is special to me. As the evening winds down, I take time to unplug from technology because I find it to be one of the best ways to innovate and drive the company’s success in the future. 

Personal development is another way that I like to unwind. I love to read the latest books and magazines. In our ever-changing world, I find that it’s important to continue to develop a competitive edge in leadership and business in addition to working on personal development.

LEADERSHIP MANTRA 

The leadership mantras Deepak Kumar Lulla practises are:

Connect with Empathy and Lead with Compassion: A leader without empathy is like an engine without a spark plug. Compassion is empathy plus action, and it enables us to connect with others, while also doing the necessary hard things that leadership requires.

Be Clear and Open: As leaders, we need to be clear and open, it helps to create a culture of transparency that fosters a greater sense of psychological safety. For me, transparency means getting ideas and thoughts out in the open - to make the invisible visible.

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