Nilesh S. Bajaj: Your Trusted Navigator to A Secure Financial Future

Nilesh S. Baja
Nilesh s bajaj

Think of your wealth as a mountain you build throughout your life. Storms (financial setbacks) may threaten to erode its slopes, and economic shifts may alter its landscape. However, just as a mountain endures these challenges, your wealth should be built with resilience in mind. Like the steady accumulation of rock and sediment, your wealth should be ever-growing, forming a solid base for your future. Through sunshine and snow (good times and bad), your financial resources will serve as a sturdy peak, providing security and stability for your life’s journey.

At Cedrus Consultants Pvt. Ltd., we believe your wealth should be an unwavering compass, guiding you through any financial storm. That’s why we offer ‘All-Weather Investment’ advice, tailored to navigate all market cycles,” says the FounderNilesh S. Bajaj. “Our vision is to be your ideal wealth partner, proactively understanding your financial needs and orchestrating winning strategies. We partner with you, not just for you, ensuring you achieve your financial goals with clear and actionable solutions.

Our core values are the bedrock of your financial well-being:

  • Resilience:We stand strong with you, weathering any market condition.
  • Strength:Our expertise empowers you to make informed financial decisions.
  • Longevity:We’re committed to your long-term financial success.
  • Beneficence:Your financial well-being is our guiding principle.”

Nilesh spoke in an exclusive interview with CIOLook India, the highlights of which are given ahead.

As a trailblazer in the investment management industry, could you take us back to the beginning of your journey? What motivated you to step into this dynamic field?

The idea called Cedrus was born in 2007 when I left my lucrative job in an MNC bank to incorporate a solutions-oriented investment advisory profession unheard in those days. In those days, investment products were sold more than recommended based on investors’ needs and requirements, which led to rampant mis-selling by intermediaries. Investors were provided transaction-based advice as and when funds were available. There was no holistic advisory concept whereby one proactively engages with the investor and understands his needs and requirements and risk-taking ability. Today, we offer financial planning and Wealth Management Solutions to more than 900 families collectively managing upward of ₹2500 crores of Assets under advisory. We are also SEBI Registered Investment Advisors providing pure fee-only advice.

Cedrus has emerged as one of India’s best investment management companies. Could you share the guiding philosophy that has propelled your organization’s success?

I strongly believe that values determine the success of any organization, and we have some guiding principles which we will never bypass, even at the cost of business. At Cedrus, we believe in the “Investor First” philosophy, which puts our investor’s success before our success. We strongly engage with our investors and have wanted to participate with them in their wealth creation journey for generations, which we call the “Cradle to grave” approach. We have some investment philosophies like the “All Weather investments” and “Principal Protection” philosophies, whereby we advise on investments resilient to market movements and stable portfolios. We also endeavour to protect investors’ wealth by not taking undue risks. These are some of the guiding philosophies that have not only made us successful but also helped our investors create more sustainable wealth.

The investment management landscape is continually evolving. How do you ensure that Cedrus remains adaptable and ahead of industry trends, providing innovative solutions to your clients?

When we started with a clear solution-based advisory approach, it was unheard of and way ahead of time. Even today, we have continuously adapted to continuous regulatory changes and thrived. We constantly study new ideas and products and how they can add value to investors. Our solution-based strategies have ensured that investors have always invested in instruments to help them achieve their financial goals. Digitization has enabled us to throw new challenges, which we have adapted by providing paperless transactions, a touch-of-the-click reporting of reports to investors, and regular engagement in online or in-person periodic reviews. This has added stickiness to our investors and has given us many new investors through referrals.

Your leadership style is often recognized as a driving force behind your company’s achievements. Could you shed light on your approach to leadership and team building within the organization?

We at Cedrus always believe in transparency, which is what we practice by having an open office culture where ideas and creativity thrive. Our young team provides us much flexibility when adapting to new technologies and regulations. I have a participative style of leadership, which has provided a free flow of information and feedback among employees.

The essence of investment management lies in seamless operations and enhancing the business ecosystem and industrial efficiency. How does your company strike a balance between operational proficiency and client expectations?

Operations are the backbone of this industry, and we have always upgraded systems in line with new regulations and changes in the government’s operational guidelines. Investors require regular updates, convenience, and hassle-free transactions. We have built a robust system that provides a seamless experience for investors in their transaction, reporting, and engagement requirements.

In the realm of investment management, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency. How does your company leverage technology to optimize its services and stay ahead in a digital age?

Technology has been a major disruptor, and any player who hasn’t embraced it hasn’t grown on par with the industry. We at Cedrus believe that technology can enhance our engagement with investors as well as give investors real-time investment updates at the click of a button. We actively have virtual meetings with our investors, making engagement more efficient. The Cedrus App provides real-time updates on their portfolios and markets. Paperless and convenient transactions are possible with a best-in-class technology platform, which helps individuals to transact from any part of the globe.

The workforce is the cornerstone of any successful organization. How does your company foster a culture of growth, skill development, and empowerment among its employees?

Cedrus has a young and vibrant work culture. We do not believe that only formal education can help individuals excel in their careers. We have regular training and skill development workshops to ensure employees are ahead of the curve. We have a flat organization with an open-door culture that has fostered employees’ creativity. We have an employee stock option scheme for our core resources, who are now stakeholders, not just employees.

As a leader in India’s investment management sector, your company has likely faced its share of challenges. Could you share an instance where your team’s resilience and ingenuity triumphed over adversity?

Robo Advisors and online platforms have disrupted this industry, which was earlier more focused on personal connections. During COVID-19, when the markets fell, our team individually spoke to investors and handheld them to make the right decisions, which was impossible for Robo Advisors. This helped investors make the right decisions and not lose out by cashing out when the markets were low.

Your experience in the investment management niche has made you a stalwart amongst your peers. What is your advice to budding entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into the niche?

With wealth being created in India, there is a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to manage it. There is a huge opportunity for young budding individuals who can take this as a career. My advice to them would be to work on behalf of the investors with honesty and integrity. Build this profession patiently and participate in investors’ wealth creation journey. Like health, wealth should be handled responsibly by advisors, as wrong decisions could adversely impact investors.

Looking to the future, what is your vision for Cedrus Consultants? How do you aspire to continue making a significant impact on India’s investment management landscape?

We have a 17-year legacy with an impeccable track record, which would help us grow in an environment where wealth will be created at a faster pace in the future. We need to continue doing the right things and avoid mistakes. We need a team that shares the same values that have helped us grow. Technological advancement, bespoke advisory solutions, and investor engagement would help us grow to the next level of participation not only among investors but also in India’s wealth creation journey.

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