IndiaFintech zeitgeist! Every Monday, we might look back at last week; look ahead to this week; share a few thoughts (our own or others); or discuss anything that catches our eye.

This week, Soumik Roy looks at how India has quite a lot of fintech activity in its retail market. Did you notice?

For the majority of the young and the young-ish workforce in India, saving for retirement or investing for the long-term isn’t a priority, but around 31 March every year, everything changes for about a week.

Investments become a hot topic of discussion everywhere – around the water cooler, in the queue for the elevator, and even in the gym. All because the end of the financial year is also the last date for making investments that can provide some ‘discount’ on the annual tax bill.

Sound (and unbiased) advice is hard to find in financial markets, especially when you wake up one week before the deadline. Fintech can change all of that. In fact, it already is, in some shape or form.

Regulators are doing their bit to make investing online simple and effective. Know your customer (KYC), a mandatory hurdle for investors looking to park their money in mutual funds, has been simplified with the introduction of the eKYC process. The new process uses Aadhaar, the nation’s biometric ID card, to replace the need for documents and in-person verifications, and makes the experience more user-friendly and truly digital.

New-age platforms like Scripbox, FundsIndia and Zerodha are helping India’s digital-first generation learn, understand and invest in different financial products, while also saving on commissions, fees and charges they would pay to brokers and advisors for similar facilities.

These new age platforms not only simplify investments but can also play a role in forming a savings habit. Most of the platforms in the market advocate using systematic investment plans (SIPs) and offer a strong collection of blogposts evidencing the benefits of consistent investing and cost-averaging.

Want to steer clear of stocks because you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, but don’t know which mutual fund is right for you? Robo-advisory and algorithm-based investment services like Wealthfront and Betterment are emerging in India now, check Scripbox for example.

Looking for thematic investments and impact investing solutions? Smallcase is making headway in that space, doing something similar to motif. Need some insurance to secure your health and cover your life? Well, compare policies on Policybazaar or CoverFox.

So, this year, when I asked where colleagues were investing, I heard about platforms and solutions rather than brokers, and my faith in fintech grew a little more.

Last week’s Monday mindset was good! As in “Collaboration for Good” – all about the world’s first banking industry charity challenge.

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