Posted on: February 20, 2012
Interviewer: What is your designation at Wealth Creators?
Sunil Kataria: I started this job about three years back and our basic motive was to handle SME, MME and corporate lines. We started this in December 2000 and today we are located in Delhi and Chandigarh and have a small franchisee office in Ahmadabad.
Interviewer: We understand this is your own venture. Please tell us your story about your journey and this enterprise.
Sunil Kataria: Through campus placement I went into Kirloskar in the automotive component division and luck took me to a place called Meerut. I then headed the entire Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal area for the automotive component department in the distribution channel. I was fortunate because this post was to be taken up by an area manager and they did not have anybody at that point of time because all the other area managers were settled in their own areas.
They sent me to Uttar Pradesh, I worked for more than one year and there my job involved travelling to remote areas of Uttar Pradesh. From there, I came in touch with and moved to Dr. Reddy’s Foundation which is basically a NGO from Dr. Reddy’s Labs and this NGO was working in livelihood development training. This is basically to train economically challenged people for livelihood training and there I also worked for the CII (Corporation of Indian Industries).
I had some problems at Dr. Reddy’s foundation so I joined ICICI Lombard handling the entire ABN Amro relationship with ICICI bank. This was my entry into the financial sector it was the first time I started to understand what debt and equity was. Otherwise I was far, far away from what finance was. I worked for ICICI for two and a half years and at the end of 2006 ABN asked me to join them. The entire gamut of products had a penetration of four per cent in the market and by that I mean for every product of ABN four per cent would have an insurance policy with them. After one-and-a-half years of my joining it went up to 52 per cent, so every second product of ABN had an insurance policy with them. So that was the kind of growth that we saw there. ICICI asked me to join but there was a no-poaching agreement between ICICI and ABN. Next a very important person from ABN got placed into Hutch and he arranged a job for me in Hutch for three months and after 70 days that agreement clause got segregated and I joined ABN. I was handling the entire north soon for all insurance for ABN and Aviva. Then I shifted to Times of India which is basically ENIL (Entertainment Network India Ltd.) to handle the event management – which is basically to handle IPR’s which was like handling property rights for Times of India.
I was doing events like the film fair awards, Femina Miss India, so the entire thing was handled by us. There I introduced a concept of an invest in India tour which was about a summit which happened in London which involved the 30 top companies of India going to London and interacting with private equity funds. And toward the end of 2007 the concept was the in vest India tour creating wealth and from that wealth I started this company called Wealth Creators Financial Services. We started on our own and basically we used to take care of the promotive fundings, the low interest shares. All the top 50 companies listed – we used to get them funds at a margin rate and our job was to basically liaison with the financial institutions and get the funds as and when required. Our first transaction actually happened after our start-up in 2008.
So from there we started. We were doing 20 to 25 deals a month for the debt side in our Delhi Chandigarh and Ahmadabad office. And at the equity side we were doing two to three transactions.
Interviewer: What are you currently handling? Tell us more about your current profile.
Sunil Kataria: My profile right now involves developing relations with corporate houses. Small and medium enterprises, MME’s, small corporate groups and again listed companies. Last year the stock market behaved very well so there have not been many transactions. So basically, the SME and MME we’re structuring their debt and we have paneled with 18 different banks and financial institutions. We have direct relationships with these banks. When I say banks, I mean banks like HSBC, HDFC, ICICI, Standard Chartered and these are the banks with which they have direct relationships.
Interviewer: What is your advice for those who want to become entrepreneurs on their own?
Sunil Kataria: One thing that I would like to tell them is that get into any area where there is something special – something unique to offer. There is a competitive world outside and you have to have something which is different from that what is currently available. It is very difficult to enter into any field until you have something different to offer. There is no field untapped today. I don’t think there is anything where we can say one can have a monopoly or can be the only one.
Interviewer: What about the students who have it in them? What advice would you give them?
Sunil Kataria: A group of 40 people might say that you are the best here in marketing, somebody was good at finance, somebody was good at HR, but that doesn’t really mean that when you go outside it is going to be true. Today my entire business is running with the help of balance sheets of which earlier I was really scared of. So you actually realize your potentials once you go out. Even if somebody wants to start something new what you really need to do is go outside and explore yourself. It becomes very difficult when you go out and face the world when you realize that you are nowhere close to what you actually thought of yourself.
Interviewer: Please share three things that you like and dislike about your job.
Sunil Kataria: What I like about my job is that for example when I’m talking to you this other phone is ringing and I am always on my toes after three years because somebody is calling me up for some kind of financial advice. And the best part about my profile and the only passion that you can have in this profile is money. So you don’t have to go out and say I like my job because it gives me satisfaction, my job gets me money. I don’t get into a self-actualization mode. Every aspect of my job takes care of my every financial need.
What I dislike about my profile is that I work for 19 hours a day; it doesn’t give me any time off. When everybody’s sleeping on a Sunday we are still on because that is the time when corporate clients meet consultants like us and discuss what exactly do they want. So in the last two years I have not taken a single day off.
Interviewer: What are the two most important skills required in your field? How can an MBA student work toward it?
Sunil Kataria: One most important thing is understanding what the debt requirement is and what the equity requirement is. There are hundreds of structures a company would like to have funds for. So you need to have the knowledge of how funds will move into the company and keep the balance sheets healthy at the end of the day. You can get them funds at a very high rate but the challenge is to lower the rate of funds acquisition. So that requires knowledge. And every bank and financial institution has different kinds of products. Somebody might fund this guy but the next one might not even touch him. You have to understand which of the 20 financial institutions will fund this guy – to understand the client requirements is very important.
Patience and diligence have to be the top most things in you because you have to face it every day that there is a rejection possibility.
Interviewer: Do you have any advice for the current KIAMS students.
Sunil Kataria: One thing I would like to tell them is that after constant hard work of two to three years you can move yourself anywhere to any opportunity irrespective of how far it is.
Interviewer: Would you like to share any interesting event of student life with the current students of KIAMS?
Sunil Kataria: Yes there is one event that I would like to share with them. It involved me and two of my classmates at KIAMS. At that time entering competitions was not very popular and there had not been a single competition in which KIAMS had participated. So there was this one which happened at Bangalore and there were 17 teams and 11 teams were from IIMs. Other teams were from IMS, SMC, ICFAI and ours was the team which was selected. And we actually defeated about 40 IIM people and got the third prize there. Me, Kapil and Bharat. So that was how our journey started and I can say that the first money that I earned was at KIAMS. So me and Supriya went to Mumbai again and won the third prize and I guess the trophy is still with Dr. Gopal Iyenger. That is when we realized that we can do something on our own and we do not need to completely rely on the brand. So KIAMS was really fun.