Symposium on Banking and Finance
On Saturday, 26th November, 2016, Symbiosis School of Banking and Finance held its flagship event Bankers’ Conclave – “Symposium on Banking and Finance.”
The Guests of Honour for the event were Mr. Sarat Malik (CGM, Securities and Exchange Board of India) and Mr. Pramod Kumar Panda (CGM and Principal RBI CAB, Pune).
In his inaugural speech, Mr. Malik spoke about the various guidelines SEBI has introduced for investor protection, rate cuts done by RBI and how India is now moving towards a cashless economy.
The symposium had two panel discussions. The first topic of discussion was on “Disruptive Innovation” from 11:15 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. The chair for the first panel was Ms. Mudeita Patrao (Head Digital, HDFC AMC). The moderator was Mr. Muthuselvan (Assistant General Manager, RBI CAB, Pune). The panellists included Mr. Ravi Srivastava (SVP & India Head, Jones Lang LaSalle), Mr. Vikrant Nagre (Cluster Head, HDFC Bank Ltd.), Mr. Kanchan Kulkarni (Regional Manager, ICICI), Mr. Ram Aparaj (Senior Manager, Staff Training College, Bank of Maharashtra) and Mr. Muralidharan R, (Group Head – Operations and Information Technology, L&T Financial Services).
The second panel discussion was from 2:15 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. on the topic “Changing Facets of Risk Management Strategies.” The chair for the discussion was Mr. Pramod Kumar Panda. The moderator was Mr. Biharilal Deora (Advisor, AIWMI). The panellists included Mr. Bhaskar Niyogi (Head Enterprise Risk and Policy, RBL Bank Ltd.), Mr. V. Hans Prakash (Head, Business Development, IL&FS Securities Services Ltd.) and Ms. Jayna Gandhi (Founder and CEO, Quant Mac Financial Services LLP).
The valedictorian speech was given by Mr. Panda where he spoke about the year 2017 being the best time for the finance sector. Sir spoke intensively on micro finance. His words motivated everyone to be able to do something for our country to make it reach new heights.
The event was concluded by a small quiz organised by the Corporate Interface Team for the students attending the symposium.
The event gave each student an opportunity to engage themselves in understanding the various facets of the BFSI sector. It exposed the students to a world which helped them learn a lot of new things about the industry.
The Changing Landscape of Financial Inclusion: Driving Inclusive Growth
No learning can proceed in a vacuum, and this is true especially for the BFSI. In SSBF’s tireless efforts to bring together academia and industry, we at Symbiosis School of Banking and Finance organized and hosted the Banker’s Conclave on July 25th, inviting eminent bankers and industrialists, to interact with the students and share insights on issues crucial to the business and banking worlds.
The 25th of July saw a large group of eager participants, including interns of RBI, College of Agricultural Banking, from University of Boston and New Castle University, and students from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management.
The event commenced with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp, and with the welcome address by our esteemed director, Dr. Manisha Ketkar.
Morning Session: Financial Inclusion
Any growth that a country bears witness to is perhaps meaningless if that growth cannot offer meaningful impact to all the people of the country. In this context, the idea of financial inclusion has gained significant traction as a means of ensuring that as many people as possible can partake of the benefits of a burgeoning economy. This has particular importance in India, where 60% of the rural population is still unbanked. Recognising the importance of this issue, Financial Inclusion was made the first topic of discussion during the Banker’s Conclave.
The participants were introduced to the concept of financial inclusion through a short film, put together by the SSBF’s creative team, which explained the minimum requirements of financial inclusion, and showcased some of the efforts of SSBF’s Institutional Social Responsibility team in bringing financial inclusion and literacy to the underprivileged.
The discussion began with insights from the panel, each member noted for their efforts in bringing together everyone into the financial system.
The panel was moderated by Professor Samapti Guha, from TISS (Tata institute of Social Services), who noted that while great strides were being made to solve the issue of financial exclusion, not enough work has been done to understand the problem itself. India has been a frontrunner in improving financial solutions, but the aspect of Social, Institutional and Psychological Exclusion merits further research.
Mr. Muthuselvan, Faculty at RBI-CAB opined that India had made significant advances in this field and that the bank-led model of financial inclusion suited India, due to the presence of robust and tight regulations. While telecom-led or other-entity-led models were successful elsewhere, India’s strength lies in this model. In addition the introduction of Agent Banking models and Business Correspondence models has made significant inroads in addressing the problem. In addition, banks, in being allowed to liberally open centres in 2-6 tier regions has given them incentive to expand and improve the reach of financial services. Mr. Muthuselvan also pointed that basic consumer rights needed to be maintained even in the face of financial inclusion.
Mr. L. M. Deshmukh, General Manager, Financial Inclusion, Bank of Maharashtra, took the thread of the discussion and highlighted a few key statistics in India’s March towards financial inclusion. Nearly 16.71 crore have been accounts have been opened, however 50% of them alone have commenced operations. He also spoke of the importance of credit penetration, and the inclusion of overdraft facilities for over 80 lakh accounts. The importance of biometrics is not to be underestimated. He was optimistic that three to five years might be all India needs for financial inclusion.
Mr. Vaibhav Peshney, Assistant Vice President, YES Bank explained his organization’s approach to financial inclusion, wherein, they managed to gain a foothold by using credit services as a means of financial inclusion. He expanded on how financial inclusion isn’t an obligation but an opportunity for banks to expand their markets and their customer base. YES Bank’s banks partnering with SHG was a strategy that helped them increase reach, without having to rely on branch banking. Thus, alternate delivery channels needed to be looked into, and the best way to bring more people into the system was to help fulfil their needs.
The discussion moved from the panel to the audience, who took the opportunity to acquaint themselves better with Financial Inclusion. Some light was shed on how easy it has become to open an account, using minimal KYC norms for the excluded sector, and how it could be possible for moneylenders, and other financial agents outside of the financial system itself to partner with the banks and improve penetration of financial services.
The first half of the Banker’s Conclave was a very insightful session and added valuable perspective on Financial Inclusion.
Afternoon Session: Corporate Social Responsibility
The afternoon session of the Banker’s Conclave tackled the idea and implications of Corporate Social Responsibility. With the inclusion of mandatory CSR, through the Companies Act, as well as companies taking note of the many benefits of giving back to the community, CSR has become a topic of study and discussion, and thus, a very interesting avenue to explore during the Banker’s Conclave.
The session began with an explanatory short film, compiled by SSBF’s Creative Team, explaining the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility, and highlighting the growth in CSR activities in India.
Prof. Girish Agarwal from IRMA opened the discussion, noting that while CSR has been gaining popularity, companies shouldn’t invent theories to implement change. Research on the issues they wish to address is crucial, he felt. CSR should not be disconnected from the value chain improvement process, and information asymmetry should be reduced. He also stressed on the need to cultivate the right mind set towards CSR.
Mrs. Leena Deshpande, Head of CSR, Bharat Forge Ltd. Pune, spoke of the soft aspects of CSR, and how it goes beyond the boundaries of mere philanthropy. She also highlighted Bharat Forge’s CSR initiatives, which included promoting sports and sanitation in schools. Employee involvement was a key factor of in the success of these CSR initiatives.
Mr. Zubin Kabraji, Regional Director, Pune, Indo German Chambers of Commerce, explained that CSR can be implemented in many shapes and forms, for example, research on alternative energy sources, and how the Indo-German Chambers offers advisory services for the many German Companies operating in Pune. He also spoke of initiatives by Indo-German Chambers of commerce around the world, including development of competency centres, CSR training in Malaysia, Reporting activities in South Korea and how these led to positive impact on the community.
Mr. Srinath Komarina, Senior Vice President, YES Bank, Mumbai highlighted work done by YES BANK which has improved the life of the community around them, and explained how CSR had its merits even in the pragmatic view of running a business and making profits. In case of YES BANK the initiatives led to improved business and greater sustainability. Further, he highlighted YES Bank’s practices to improve sustainability, such as triple bottom line accounting, facilitating responsible investments, and investing in Green projects.
Mr. M. N. Sanyal, Head of CSR, Thermax Ltd. Pune, shared Thermax’s CSR initiatives, including the practicing of employing clean energy technology, and Thermax’s emphasis on improving education facilities in India, especially in government schools. He spoke of how, even without being envisioned as such, the CSR initiatives helped in brand-building for Thermax in the local community. In his view, the participation and contribution of employees is what elevates CSR from charity, to a catalyst for positive change.
During the question hour, the audience was curious of the Company Act enacted recently in India, which asks Corporate entities to set aside at least 2% of the post-tax profit for CSR related activities. The full implications of the Act are yet to be fully realised, and it would be interesting to see how it impacts Companies in the future.
The impact of CSR is best summed up in Mr. Srinath Komarina’s words- “The business of business is more than business.” And as the students of SSBF make their way into the world of business, these are words we shall remember.
The event was very well received by all the participants and other invitees in the audience. The invitees also enjoyed a campus tour and were pleased with the hospitality and other arrangements. Staying true to our vision, this was one of SSBF’s many endeavours towards becoming a leading centre for financial studies.
India's Banking Landscape: The New Equations after the Entry of Industrial Houses
With new banking licenses all set to be issued to private sector players and non-banking financial companies, it’s the advent of a new era!
The germination of an idea, the exchange of thoughts, and emergence of a solution – how often do we get the opportunity to witness thought leaders and policy makers in action? However, the students at Symbiosis School of Banking & Finance had the phenomenal opportunity to witness the action first-hand when in collaboration with Mint, SSBF hosted the Conclave on 9th October,2012 – an event that brought together the stalwarts of the banking industry to debate and deliberate on the new equations that would transpire after the entry of industrial houses. However, this surprisingly was not even the best part – the best part was the conclave being presided over by Mr. Anand Sinha – the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, who addressed the gathering, enlightened everyone about RBI’s viewpoint on licensing and even interacted with students at end of the session.
The event saw the heavyweights of the banking industry alighting the stage to debate the pros and cons of licensing, how soon it should be implemented, whether the current banking landscape is ready for such a change and how many licenses should actually be doled out.
The list of illustrious panellists included Mr. Naresh Takkar, Managing Director, ICRA; Mr. Ashwin Parekh, Partner National Industry Leader, Global Financial Services, Ernst and Young; Mr. D. Sarkar, CMD, Union Bank of India, Mr. Hemant Contractor, Managing Director, State Bank of India; Mr. Shachindra Nath, Chief Executive Officer, Religare Enterprises Ltd; Mr. Nirmal Jain,CMD India Infoline; while Mr. Tamal Bandyopadhyay, Deputy Managing Editor, Mint was the moderator for the conclave.
Mr. Takkar was of the opinion that we need not wait more to issue new licenses, however there is absolutely no room for differential licensing of any kind. He also thought that this licensing window should not be a one-time window, it should be kept open and adequate licenses should be given out -citing 10 to begin with as a good number. Mr. Nirmal Jain concurred with statement and vehemently championed the cause of brokers too stating that the licenses should be on tap and the window not to be open and shut. He too wanted the licenses issue to begin with immediate effect where the threshold should be minimum net worth and there is no differential pricing. Mr. Shachin Nath too agreed that the regime should begin in the next 9-12 months, licenses being given to 5-6 players to start with and survival of the fittest thereafter.
However Mr. Hemant Contractor had some reservations. He put on record that he was not afraid of the new competition and he also denied that SBI and other public sector banks had failed in their duties to spread financial inclusion. However, he stated that the licenses should come in to effect only after requisite amendments to the Banking Regulation Act, and opined that looking at the current scenario only a handful of players – 3-4 to be precise – would be eligible to actually get hold of licenses. Mr. Ashwin Parekh was sceptical too. He stated that the Indian banking framework was not suited to licenses for industrial houses currently and it would take a minimum of two years to bring it to scratch. He also said that 2-3 licenses were to be given out every 5 years and there was no room for differential licensing. He was of the opinion that banks derive their strength from the size of their balance sheet and this was a key area to be looked into. Mr. Sarkar too, like Mr Contractor stated that his bank encouraged competition and had no fear of the new entrant, he too agreed that it was unfair to expect the PSUs to perform miracles overnight and spread banking access to the entire country – the banks had broken ground and were still working at it.
The conclave was food for thought for the audience; it was a delight to watch the spectacle unfold. Corporate Interface Team of the college which had collaborated with Mint to set the event in motion was extremely happy and proud of the proceedings! Abhishek Purohit, a CIT member said, “It is truly rare for students to get the chance to interact with stalwarts of the industry and get an insight in to what they think of the burning issues. We are indeed fortunate that we got hold of this opportunity. It was a phenomenal experience. The entire college worked together to make this event happen and fruits of our hard work were indeed sweet! The deliberations were so insightful and so thought-provoking. We asked questions, interacted with the dignitaries and got the chance to gain first-hand knowledge about such a vital issue. It was a thoroughly enriching experience and one that I would cherish forever.”