Given that there are over 30 million global Indians across the world, the Indian diaspora is one of the largest populations. They contribute to over USD 900 billion in Assets Under Management (AUM) in India, which includes real estate as a preferred asset class, because of inherited properties. They also have inheritance and estate management requirements and resultant taxation and remittance needs.
Global Indian Solutions (GIS) is India’s first Integrated solution provider for global Indians looking for assistance in managing their assets in India. The Tech Panda spoke to GIS CEO Chavvii Prabakar, who says that global Indians often feel daunted by the various processes they have to face while attempting to transact financially in India.
“Often they are not comfortable or aware. They don’t know how to navigate the Indian system and thus need someone they can trust to provide them with solutions in a transparent manner. They expect professional service because that is what they are used to overseas. They also want privacy. So, our attempt is to use technology in a manner that provides them a secure service,” she says.
Global Indians comprise Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), and Returning Indians (RIs). However, they face multiple challenges with managing their assets in India due to complicated processes and documentation requirements in India, too many vendors, and lack of trust and transparency.
“GIS is an outcome of the challenges we have seen over the years. While dealing with NRIs, grappling with various challenges, we conceptualized and thought of having an integrated platform that would offer a one-stop solution and end-to-end services to NRIs over a wide range of areas,” she says.
How they do it
GIS has been co-founded by Prabakar and Shammi Khanna, along with a team of professionals with diverse experience in NRI Banking, Private Banking, Real Estate Management, Advisory and Estate Planning with Global Organizations. They provide a wide range of services in the areas of real estate management, taxation and FEMA services, estate planning and documentation services, such as Aadhar and PAN card, banking, and other legal documentation assistance. Backed by its wide network of curated and verified service providers, the company offers a single window digital interface for delivering services to global Indians across the globe.
Based in Gurugram, the young company started its operations in April 2018 and has already gained customer traction with clients spread across the United States, Singapore, and the Middle East. It plans to build a global brand with over 10,000 clients across the world over the next few years.
Aware that after transferring funds to them, their clients like to be aware about how their work is progressing, they have put up a dashboard and a Digi Locker, where they hold the documents in a secure manner, giving them the right value for money. Prabhakar promises that the entire experience is quite different from what usually global Indians share.
“Over the years, we realized that there is no single platform that can cater to this in a transparent and effective manner, at the right price. There should be integrity and commitment, which, I think, they find missing when interacting with the Indian systems,” she explains.
GIS has developed a CRM, which is being integrated into their system, and is in testing stage. Clients can apply for fifty odd services through a password-protected dashboard, where they can transparently monitor the work that GIS is doing. A timeline display also helps clients monitor when tasks will be executed. They can make a payment online, uploading all the documentation through a secure digital Locker. They are also using digital channels like WhatsApp and e-mails to connect with clients.
“We are using a digital platform and technology to reach out to the maximum number of global Indians across the world. Many are responding to us, because they do not visit India that often, and many tasks cannot be left pending till the next visit. Our commitment is that the next time you visit India, you will not be spending time with your service providers and trying to run around and put your paperwork together and all of that. That all can be done when you interact with us online,” Prabhakar explains.
How it helps the Indian economy
Prabhakar’s vision for the business is to help NRIs become true contributors to India’s growth and economy. She believes wholeheartedly that the services GIS provides will help improve the investment climate in India, ultimately facilitating more investment into India.
Several reasons bring NRIs to invest in India. For example, the depreciating Indian Rupee is an opportunity. Also, many global Indians wish to have real estate property in India as a retirement plan or because of family ties and emotional reasons. GST is also bringing about a change in the Indian regulatory environment, for which, she says, many people have called to find out the impact.
“I think, a platform like ours can provide NRIs with the confidence to go ahead and invest. If there is someone to guide them through the various complications that they need to undergo and handle for managing their assets in India, they are going to start confidently assigning a lot of their funds to India as a market. All of that actually would go a long way in helping India and the economy also,” says the CEO.
Being a woman entrepreneur
Prabakar is an experienced banker with a career spanning over 20 years in NRI banking, wealth management and private banking. She has worked with leading banks like Citibank, Societe Generale Private Banking, American Express Bank and Axis Bank.
At Axis Bank, she realized the critical gaps that exist in services for NRI to help in managing their Indian assets, an area, which even friends and family were not able to fulfil effectively. Her association with close to 25,000 high net worth individual (HNIs), with nearly a third of them being NRIs, was instrumental in the genesis of GIS.
Contrary to common perception, she says, as a woman entrepreneur, she enjoys more privileges. “I don’t face any kind of constraint because I am a woman, rather I am made to feel privileged and special. Since I became an entrepreneur, the number of forums and events I have attended because I’m a woman entrepreneur are many. So I would say that I feel privileged to be a woman entrepreneur in the India that exists today,” she says.
According to her, clients too have only looked at the huge experience she brings with her. “Irrespective of age and other factors, women are doing things. If you have the conviction and the passion, today nothing is going to stop you. You will not feel that because you’re a woman there are things you can do and cannot do,” she says.
Though, she admits that having lived in cities like Delhi and Mumbai, her experience might be different from someone from a smaller city. “But I hope we are able to inspire more women to venture out and go where their heart takes them. When they have passion, women are known to take things head on,” she says.