‘Financial markets are subject to risk’ is a statement familiar to everyone, for the market can be daunting to those averse to risk. But of the many lessons the pandemic has taught us, one is the importance of financial literacy, particularly during such turbulent times. In an attempt to demystify the same, Hiral Jani and Deepanshu Choudhary devoted their energies towards their newest venture – born out of an idea to introduce customers to financial markets and products like trading in CFDs, Indices, Commodities, Forex, Bullion, and cryptocurrencies, amongst others, while also aiming to provide technical training support and services along with strong risk awareness. The fruit of their labor, Richelieu Financial, has grown beyond what both had envisioned during its inception.
Born and brought up in India, Deepanshu completed his Bachelors in Business Administration from Guru Gobind Singh University in 2013 and moved to Qatar at the age of 21 after a few short stints in India. A young, aspiring entrepreneur with dreams in his eyes, Deepanshu worked his way up from a position of Business Development Manager to Associate Area Manager at a real estate start-up in Qatar, proving his mettle one deal at a time.
When he initially received the offer from a Qatar-based company, a lot of people dissuaded him, putting forth the challenges he might have to face in a foreign country. None could dampen his spirits. “In my mind, the world is a global village. If you stay in any part of the world, you can definitely make it your home. So I decided to give it a try, confident that I would learn something new,” he asserts.
Deepanshu recalls the days when their entire family was supported by his father, the sole earning member. “We were five members in the family. My father worked in the road transport industry. Thus, we have seen a lot of struggles, with the whole family dependent on a single source of income. When I used to go to school, occasionally, I would see both parents working. Nowadays, almost all family members are working. It makes me realize that having one source of income might not suffice for families,” he remarks.
Hiral, on the other hand, began working early in life while juggling college at the same time. “My favorite subjects were economics and accounting,” reminisces Hiral, hinting that finance had always been his passion.
Originally hailing from Mumbai and starting his journey as a trader, the stock market champion scaled great heights. He ventured into the volatile stock market as a stock trader with a reputed brokerage company in India and landed two promotions within his first year itself owing to his knowledge and professional acumen. After a stint with another successful broker, he decided to launch his own company in India as a sub-broker. ”Back then, I only had five clients; today I have over 500,” a gratified Hiral expresses.
The stock market enthusiast then moved to Dubai in 2019. He admits feeling blank and unsure about how things would unfold in an alien country, but a friend encouraged him to take the leap nonetheless. Despite personal woes and family problems coming his way, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” he says with determination. A largely self-taught person, he has bagged some coveted accolades for his work as a renowned broker in the client acquisition and revenue generation categories.
THE GENESIS OF RICHELIEU FINANCIAL
Deepanshu and Hiral first met at a company where they happened to work together. “We would discuss various aspects of business and stock market and saw a very organic and seamless connection between us, which triggered us towards our venture,” says Deepanshu.
Thus followed a flurry of discussions – with each other, with former customers, not to mention reams of market research on the financial market. The duo’s insights and instincts took charge, and they took the plunge. “When we started, it was only the two of us. Despite that, it started well. We would connect with a lot of people and got a ton of encouragement. So, we knew that we had to do it and had to do it in the best manner possible,” Deepanshu adds.
With their energies compatibly matched, the duo kept forging ahead to bring their idea to life. “I was looking for someone who would match my synergies, who can do the things that I cannot do. In our ethics, character, and beliefs, Hiral and I have certain similarities. He decided to teach me more about the things I didn’t know. For instance – he knew a lot about the stock market while I was good at sales. Before this job, I was in real estate. So, I understood the psyche of clients who had the money to invest but were hesitant to do so because they didn’t receive the right advice. This became the starting point of Richelieu Financial,” he tells us, satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment evident in his voice.
With the pandemic dawned the realization of the importance of financial independence and literacy. “When a company can suddenly decide that they can’t or don’t want to pay you, why should one stick to it? Why should one be dependent on just one source of income? Many people we have seen were working from home, earning only 30% of their salary but handling the same share of responsibilities. But the pandemic changed everything. That gave us a strong impetus to go forward with our entrepreneurial journey,” Deepanshu explains.
“I always knew I wanted to do something of my own. One night, Deepanshu and I were discussing our goals and vision. The conversation went on all night from 10 pm to 7 am the following morning, and we knew we had to do this,” Hiral shares. While plans for the venture had been floating for a while between them, he shared that the pandemic finally kickstarted it, and for a good reason. “We saw great support from clients and a really good response when we started, which has worked well in our favor,” he says.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT INVESTMENT
Hiral and Deepanshu firmly believe that financial education is imperative in today’s times. “Today, people don’t want to take risks. I have a lot of friends in different industries who shy away from gaining financial education. Discussions around the financial landscape, education, where one should invest, why they should invest are extremely important. For over a hundred years, our education system has been stuck on the same subjects. It’s about time our school curriculum added lessons about financial education,” says Deepanshu.
Breaking down the commonly used contract for differences terminology for laymen, Hiral asserts that the contract for differences in a product is when one invests in something properly by buying or by means of selling. “It’s like you’re predicting something. For example, we rely on technicals and indicators, plus a little bit of fundamentals. When we see a market-moving upside, it is a bullish market, so we buy it. For instance, gold or silver, we buy that and hold it for leverage. So, we take minor leverage, and then we wait for the market to go up. For example, gold is trading at $1800 and it moves up to $1810; there is a $10 profit. So, this $10 multiplied by the number of units that you have purchased,” he explains.
When it comes to selecting the right broker, Hiral advises that checking the background of the broker, their ethics, and morals is of essence. “Meet your broker frequently, keep a check on your statement and constantly monitor his way of working to ensure that you have made the right choice,” he advises.
Meanwhile, Deepanshu adds that diversification when investing should also come into play. “As Warren Buffet says, you have to put your eggs in different baskets. You also have to understand the power of compounding. If you invest and just forget it, that also doesn’t help. Keep tracking your investments, and carry on with the compounding to yield good results,” he suggests.
THE RIGHT TIME FOR RISK-TAKING?
When asked about the right time for investing, the duo asserts that any time is a good time to invest; one just requires the knowledge of the overall landscape and should follow their instinct. “As we have seen, certain industries and sectors didn’t work well during the pandemic. But certain other sectors like technology companies such as Tesla, Amazon, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in India, and Infosys have all grown because people moved from one kind of culture to another. While a lot of restaurants shut down, which was very unfortunate, a company like Zomato came up with their IPO and was a huge success.
You have to assess what kind of industry will work at a particular period. Right now, it may be a good time to buy gold or shares. Overall, you have to evaluate and assess where your goal lies in the next six months and thereby invest in those sectors. One has to understand what kind of macro and microenvironments are suitable. So, every time is a good time to invest,” Hiral explains.
The two believe that in the stock market trading environment, UAE provides an excellent opportunity for various stakeholders in the market. “You don’t have to pay taxes on your income, so that’s a huge benefit to the people staying in the Middle East,” notes Hiral. Both agree that the UAE market is conducive to growth and opportunities for a startup and scaling it as well, arranging employee visas and everything else in between. These easy and smooth processes encourage a plethora of business opportunities in the region.
Deepanshu adds that they have noticed a trend of people spontaneously leaving their job, investing in the stock market, and then losing their money, which should be absolutely avoided. “If a person is good at petrochemicals, he should be doing something that is related to petrochemicals. If you’re doing a particular job, you should continue to do it. Having a second source of income is a great thing and the right approach to take, rather than being fascinated with making money alone and leaving your primary job for it. You need to know where to take risks and where they should be avoided,” advises Deepanshu.
The duo has demarcated responsibilities based on their skill sets and interests, but they admit they end up merging responsibilities and helping each other in every way possible. While Deepanshu takes charge of the sales, marketing, and other aspects, Hiral helms the entire operations of the company. “According to me, together we can do everything as a team,” says Hiral confidently.
While differences in opinion are commonplace, they ensure they come to a common ground to resolve the smaller challenges as they work towards building their company. They are yin and yang; Deepanshu is calm, while Hiral is on the outspoken side. However, both complement each other, which keeps business running smoothly. “Somehow because of our contrasting personas, a balance is created,” observes Deepanshu.
Hiral is quick to laud Deepanshu’s patience and how it has really helped the team to keep going. “He is very patient, will think a decision through before making it, and very cool-headed, which is a great quality to possess in business,” asserts Hiral.
They recollect zeroing on the same office space in Business Bay from the sea of offices they had looked, despite approaching it separately. Hiral explains, “Deepanshu had bookmarked the very office that was on my mind as the perfect work setting, on an online property portal. Just like picking this office space, the venture was meant to be.”
While Deepanshu loves immersing himself in a good book after a long day at work, Hiral’s idea of recharging is swimming and cricket. The two also ensure they chalk out some time for fun team outings and playing cricket with the team as a way to de-stress after a grueling work week and to prioritize team bonding.
THE GRIT TO KEEP GOING
The company that started with the two has now grown to an enthusiastic team of 12. The duo has a vision to create a bigger organization with more people learning and growing with the company. “We want to give an opportunity to people who are actually in need of a company which can help them grow. We want to build a culture where people can learn, grow, and then move on with their careers. It’s not like they have to stick with us,” asserts Hiral.
Both Deepanshu and Hiral add that transparency with the customer is integral to their overall plan. “It’s not right to give your customers a rosy picture to get them to believe in you. We don’t want to lie to them or give them the wrong idea. The stock market is precarious. They can make money, they can lose money, and we firmly believe that honesty here really matters,” he opines.
It’s amazing how the company that started with a $5,000 portfolio has blossomed and grown exponentially to a $7.5 million portfolio in just a matter of a year. “Currently we have this portfolio of over 750+customers who have already invested with us. We are targeting to multiply this portfolio within a year. Our target is big, but we hope to get there,” share the chuffed duo.
Buoyed by their success, Hiral and Deepanshu have set their eyes on further expansion. “Most importantly, we are looking for more clients and are looking to reach out to more people in the market,” says Deepanshu. With plans to expand to other GCC countries, as well as other markets, there is no stopping the two. One thing is clear – having found their chosen path, Hiral and Deepanshu have “miles to go before they sleep.”