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HomeWOMEN INTERVIEWSManju Mastakar- Fostering Female Leadership in Financial Markets!

Manju Mastakar- Fostering Female Leadership in Financial Markets!

Give us a bit of background about yourself and Armstrong Capital & Financial Services Pvt. Ltd.

Over the course of my 22-year journey in the finance industry, I’ve passionately dedicated myself to mastering the intricacies of the field. Starting as an intern for a Chartered Accountant in the early 2000s, I’ve evolved through various roles, including Assistant Accountant, Account Manager, Portfolio Manager, and eventually a Wealth Strategist.

In 2008, a pivotal moment unfolded in my corporate life when I faced a job loss. Turning adversity into opportunity, I ventured into freelancing and, by 2010, embarked on a transformative journey by founding Armstrong Capital & Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. The inception took place in a shared office space, where we initially offered guidance on Direct Equity, Derivatives, Commodity, and Currency Futures. Over time, we evolved into a comprehensive Wealth Management firm, adapting to the dynamic needs of our clientele.

At Armstrong Capital, we pride ourselves on delivering more than just financial solutions. We are provide, goal-based financial plans meticulously curated by dedicated personal investment advisers. What sets us apart is our commitment to a robust investment policy framework, the cornerstone of our impeccable financial planning for clients. Our journey has been marked by recognition and awards, a testament to our unwavering commitment to client success and financial excellence.

Give us insights into the significant offerings of the company. And how does the company support people with its offerings?

At Armstrong Capital & Financial Services Pvt. Ltd., our flagship product is the Goal-Based Financial Plan, which lies at the heart of our client relationships. We believe that every financial journey should commence with a comprehensive understanding of past investments, strategically aligned with life goals. Our systematic approach to financial planning ensures that each client can identify and achieve their unique financial objectives.

Each client is serviced by Personal Investment Adviser along with a Service Manager backed by in-house research and technology platform.

What sets Armstrong Capital apart is our commitment to excellence at every stage. From meticulous execution to a robust investment policy framework, our services are underpinned by a rigorous due diligence process, with a particular focus on identifying future winners in the market. We believe in empowering individuals to make informed financial decisions, and our offerings are designed to provide comprehensive support throughout their financial journey.

What makes Armstrong Capital & Financial Services stand out in the market?

What truly sets Armstrong Capital apart is its commitment to holistic financial planning.

Unlike services that offer more transactional solutions, Armstrong Capital takes a comprehensive approach, considering all facets of a client’s financial situation. The financial advisors at Armstrong Capital specialize in specific areas, such as retirement and tax planning, allowing them to offer highly personalized advice and solutions rooted in deep expertise.

The firm leverages cutting-edge technology to deliver services that are not only more efficient but also more effective and engaging for its clients. This commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements underscores Armstrong Capital’s dedication to providing a forward-looking and streamlined financial experience for its clientele.

Why working women are important to India?

Encouraging and advising women to actively pursue and maintain their careers is paramount. While the demands of raising children may necessitate a temporary break of 5-6 years, I strongly advocate for women to re-enter the workforce or embark on their entrepreneurial journey thereafter. Achieving financial independence is not only empowering on a personal level but also contributes significantly to the overall stability of a family.

From a financial advisor’s perspective, the benefits of having working women in the workforce are noteworthy. A double-income family is inherently more financially stable than a single-income household. The additional source of income not only provides a buffer against economic uncertainties but also opens up avenues for increased savings, investments, and overall financial security.

The presence of working women in the workforce contributes to diversity, innovation, and a more inclusive society.

Share some experiences of your career that can encourage young women entrepreneurs

In reflecting on my career journey, a pivotal experience stands out, dating back to 2001 when I interviewed for an equity dealer position at MOSL. Initially met with resistance due to the traditionally male-dominated nature of the dealing room, I was granted an opportunity to break the mold and prove my capabilities. Stepping into a room of 60-70 men, I embraced the challenge and, over time, earned my place through dedication and competence.

Further, transitioning into a role as a financial advisor presented a different set of challenges. Confronted with skepticism, it was often difficult for individuals to accept financial advice from a woman. Breaking through preconceived notions that typically discouraged seeking financial guidance from wives or mothers.

These experiences serve as a testament to the fact that success knows no gender. Despite the initial skepticism and barriers, I navigated through a predominantly male-centric industry, proving that dedication, competence, and passion for one’s work can triumph over gender stereotypes. To young women entrepreneurs, I encourage you to embrace challenges, defy expectations, and let your achievements speak for themselves.

What would your words of advice be for other young women aspiring to foray into the field of finance as entrepreneurs?

For aspiring young women looking to venture into the dynamic field of finance and investment management, my advice is it’s not a profession to be taken up casually.

In finance, the commitment to continuous learning and staying abreast of economic and market dynamics is crucial. To thrive in this field, one must possess a clear vision, genuine passion, and an unwavering perseverance to succeed. Finance and investment management require more than just technical expertise; it demands the ability to convince clients, navigate complex market landscapes, and adapt to evolving trends.

What are the qualities of a woman that make them a good leader?

Women possess a unique set of qualities that make them exceptionally effective leaders.

One standout attribute is their innate ability to multitask, as they seamlessly adapt to and excel in various responsibilities. Additionally, women are known for their judicious calculation of risks, approaching challenges with a thoughtful and measured perspective. Furthermore, women leaders often bring a collaborative and inclusive leadership style to the table. They excel in fostering a positive work environment, encouraging teamwork, and promoting open communication.

According to you, what essential traits should an women entrepreneur should possess to thrive in the present-day cutthroat business ecosystem?

The first thing is very high level of commitment, one has to put in those extra hours and go that extra mile to move the needle. Efficient time management is essential, especially when juggling roles as a homemaker, mother, and entrepreneur. Embracing the reality that one can’t do it all alone, effective delegation and building a reliable team are crucial.

Managing family expectations is another key aspect. Women entrepreneurs often face scrutiny regarding the additional time and commitment invested in their ventures. Developing emotional resilience to handle criticism, believing in the long-term vision, and communicating the importance of the entrepreneurial journey are essential components of overcoming such challenges.

Is it difficult for women entrepreneurs to start a business in India?

Yes, starting a business as a woman entrepreneur in India can be challenging due to how society thinks and the expectation to handle personal and work life perfectly.

To overcome these challenges, I recommend that women entrepreneurs focus on areas where they have expertise and domain experience. It’s crucial to start small, be financially prudent, and dedicate a significant amount of time to their entrepreneurial pursuits. Survival is the first principle; therefore, concentrating on generating free cash flows is essential. Establishing robust support systems at home and embracing delegation rather than attempting to be a superwoman are key strategies for navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship effectively.

What have you learned about entrepreneurship in your journey?

In my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve learned that in this technology-driven era, possessing the right talent, vision, and passion empowers you to overcome any obstacle. It’s essential to recognize your capabilities, often greater than you realize. The road to success is undoubtedly challenging, marked by hurdles, but those who focus on addressing these challenges emerge victorious.

Hard work remains irreplaceable. Going the extra mile, setting ambitious goals, and maintaining high benchmarks for oneself are crucial. Courageously taking calculated risks is part of the journey. Keeping a close eye on customer needs and providing effective solutions is key.

Continuous learning, growth, and exploration are fundamental to staying on the right path.

As a source of inspiration for many, what would your advice be for female entrepreneurs planning to start a business?

As a source of inspiration for aspiring female entrepreneurs, my advice is rooted in building the right foundation for success. The initial step is to hire the right people, emphasizing where you want to go over where you come from. When faced with choices, prioritize ambition over academic records or experience. For startups, consider hiring individuals with an open mind, as they bring a fresh perspective to the evolving business landscape.

The journey of shaping business ideas into successful ventures requires adaptability. Be flexible to accommodate clients’ needs, creating an infrastructure that is both accommodating and competitive. Additionally, remember to take short breaks to rejuvenate yourself with hobbies and interests, such as music or traveling. Balancing work and personal well-being is essential for sustained success in the entrepreneurial journey.


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