Angel One is the largest listed retail stock broking house in India, in terms of active clients on NSE. It is a technology-led financial services company providing broking and advisory services, margin funding, loans against shares and distribution of third-party financial products to its clients. The broking and allied services are offered through online and digital platforms and network of Authorized Persons.
Angel One extensively uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to create a superior digital experience. The company has built a host of digital properties like Angel One Mobile App, Angel BEE Mobile App, ‘ARQ Prime’ a rule-based investment engine, ‘SmartAPI’ a free-to-integrate API platform, ‘Smart Money’ an investor education platform, ‘SmartStore’ a marketplace for fintech products, learning platform and social forums for 8.76 million clients.
In an exclusive chat with Medianews4U, Prabhakar Tiwari, CGO, Angel One Ltd speaks on the Fintech scenario in India, the use of AI & Mi and much more…….
Today you are the largest listed broking house on NSE, what is your mission?
Angel One is a Fintech company catering to 8.76 million clients on the back of digital-first, technologically-advanced wealth creation solutions. It was established as a stockbroking company – Angel Broking in 1996. In 2021, we rebranded the company from Angel Broking to Angel One to position ourselves as a digital-first company. We are on a mission to provide a one-stop, digital-first solution for all financial needs of an individual. We are offering products and services like rule-based recommendation engine ARQ Prime, Angel BEE, Smart Money and SmartStore. We ensure that our clients have a seamless user experience while investing through our platform. Our soon-to-be-launched super app will further make the client experience smoother.
Today, there is a plethora of Fintech companies. What is the USP of Angel One?
India has just over 6% equity penetration, which is far lower compared to China and the US, which means there is a lot of untapped potential in the country. Since the young generation makes up the most part of the population, we are targeting them as our potential clients and building products and services that cater to their needs. We understand that new-age investors want everything at the touch of a button. They expect a seamless experience and we provide the same with an easy-to-use platform. We offer state-of-the-art platforms that make investment a smooth journey. With the knowledge that there isn’t much awareness among youngsters about the capital market, we have introduced a platform like Smart Money, which is a carefully designed educational platform. It has lessons for everyone, from beginners to experienced investors and traders.
Apart from this, we also keep introducing new features in our app like Insta Trade for Options trading. We are democratizing equity investment in India. Our rule-based recommendation engine ARQ Prime scans all types of stocks to pick Winners across Value stocks, Quality stocks, High Momentum stocks and Growth stocks across the market cap. We also have third-party integrations with platforms Vested, Streak, smallcase, Sensibull, etc. Vested enables our clients to invest in US equities. They can buy curated baskets of stocks or ETFs based on an objective, theme, or strategy through smallcase integration. Streak further equips investors with plans and manages their trades by deploying systems that do not require prior coding knowledge. Our clients can also leverage platforms like Sensibull to undertake Options trading using tools on the platform. Using all these features, our clients leverage a superior investing experience through our app. We have built our app based on the client’s needs. It reflects that we understand them and have built various journeys within the app to give them a better experience, all at a simplified price.
The pandemic hit everybody irrespective of the sectors, how did it impact you, and what was that one mantra that kept you going both personally and professionally?
Unlike other sectors, the retail capital market participation increased multifold during the pandemic. However, the growth during that period was not because of the pandemic. Fintech companies like ourselves had growth drivers in place even before COVID. COVID only acted as a catalyst that accelerated the outcome by a few months/quarters. Our all-encompassing, fintech-oriented, and client-centric approach rewarded us well as we expanded our client base to 8.76 million. Our Average Daily Turnover (ADTO) has grown to Rs 8.9 trillion in February 2022 from Rs 41.3 billion in FY 2020 (before COVID struck) Our monthly gross client acquisitions surpassed the 4-lakh mark in FY 2022 from the monthly average of 0.5 lakh in FY 2020. Now, we are further enhancing our suite of services while penetrating deeper into tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India.
On the personal side, remaining busy with work made it easier to deal with the ongoing situation. It is all about channelizing your energy towards productive activities.
You say that you use AI & ML to give your customers a better digital experience…. can you elaborate on this?
Angel One has an established history of using technology to its advantage. It is visible from our robust business performance. We are leveraging advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, to continue with our innovation journey. We are using better dormancy prediction models when it comes to AI and ML. These technologies have been integrated across platforms to provide clients with seamless trading and investment experience. Using AI, we deploy the data with temporal signals to give out personalized recommendations and journeys. We also use the cloud to leverage elasticity to manage our cyclical load patterns.
What would be your focus for 2022?
Since the stock market participation in India remains extremely low, it means there is still a lot of scope for growth by exploring the untapped markets. Therefore, we will continue our efforts to encourage GenZ and millennials to participate in the capital market and help them in their wealth creation journey. This year, we will be expanding our range of services and will be venturing into distribution of third-party financial products. We will be scaling up our mutual fund distribution business and redefining ourselves as a formidable player in the Wealthtech domain. The highlight for this year would be the launch of our super app, which will enable us to offer a wide array of financial products to our clients. Currently, our tech teams are working on the app, which is in the beta testing phase and is scheduled to be rolled out in the next quarter.
What are the communication/marketing strategies for Angel One to reach out to your customers?
Angel One has a strong presence across social media platforms. We have several award-winning marketing campaigns to our credit like Aage Badne ka Smart Sauda and #ShagunKeShares. Our campaign Aage Badne ka Smart Sauda talked about iTrade Prime which offers our clients plans such as zero charges on delivery trades and a flat fee of Rs.20 for others. Another campaign #ShagunKeShares empowered people to gift shares as a ‘shagun’ around festival season. Last year, we also had a campaign called ‘Ek Nayi Shuruaat’ campaign. Its aim was to familiarize more people with the basics of stock trading and investments. Our major focus in the marketing campaigns is on digital platforms as the target audience, GenZ and Millennials are widely present on social media.
We also ran a successful rebranding campaign, which was part of our strategy to draw Millennials and GenZ while positioning ourselves as a Fintech company in the market. Our Smart Sauda 2.0/Very Smart Campaign was another successful campaign that targeted new-age investors like GenZ and Millennials and encouraged them to be part of the Capital Market. Understanding the needs of our client base, we also launched the #BudgetKaMatlab campaign. It simplified the Union Budget 2022-23 for investors, who are mostly GenZ and Millennials. It focused on identifying new opportunities for investors by decoding the key aspects of the Budget.
All our initiatives are based on data-driven marketing. Social media plays an effective role in reaching out to the audiences in Tier 2, 3 and beyond cities. Taking into account the language challenges, we also promote content in vernacular languages.
In regards to the financial sector, what are the trends you are and will be seeing in 2022?
Markets have performed well over the last few years, driven primarily by the healthy participation of retail investors. India is poised for robust growth over the next decade as more retail investors participate. Digital players are gaining market share and we expect this momentum to continue. As a fintech player, we are pinning on our digital capabilities to consolidate our leadership position further.
The overall industry will see an increase in market size with retail participation, thus leading to further diversification of asset class for retail investors. This will lead to broad basing of the markets which will provide greater stability. With low inflation and interest rates, we foresee greater participation in equities as they offer superior returns over other asset classes.
Where do you see Angel One in the next 3 years?
We want to emerge as the top-most choice among people when it comes to wealth creation solutions. In the next three years, with our technologically-advanced solutions, we want to be the leader in the segment.
The stock market has, until now, largely remained accessible to those in urban areas, specifically with insights into its day-to-day functioning. We want to introduce equities as an asset class to more people, especially when they are young, across the country, i.e., from Tier 2, 3 and beyond cities. As digital brokers, we want to drive future growth in the industry. We are largely going to focus on improving the client experience. GenZ and millennials are digital natives and give extreme importance to their experience while using any app or website. Hence, we give a lot of emphasis to feedback. We use client feedback to improve user experience and evolve as a fintech company. In the future, our super app will offer a variety of financial services and not just investing and trading, thus building a stronger and longer relationship with our clients during their journey of wealth creation.