Financial Advisor at Professional Services

Let's say Walmart (a large American retail chain like Big Bazaar, Giant, etc.) wants to acquire (buy) Flipkart (an Indian electronic commerce company, where you can buy and sell online). Flipkart isn’t an iPhone to have a fixed price tag of Rs. 69,999 or $999. So how much should Walmart pay to acquire Flipkart (valuation)? What is the basis of the valuation and who decides that?

Both Walmart and Flipkart would have hired a Primary Financial Advisor each (like me), who would use some mathematical models to assess the value Flipkart. The model will take into account factors such as assets owned by the company, debts, liabilities cash, share price (in case of a publicly traded company), etc. If any of these terminologies are unclear to you, Investopedia is a good place to learn. Since this is a high-value transaction, they would hire a third party Financial Advisor to evaluate if the valuation done by the Primary Financial Advisors is fair or not. Once the third party advisor gives their verdict, and once both the buyer and seller are happy, the deal goes through!

I chose to specialise in Real Estate Financial Advisory. My primary role is to help clients buy/sell properties at a fair price by using the right financial models. As my clients and teams are spread across different continents, we predominantly communicate virtually through Skype video calls (I work from home on most days!). My job requires me to stay updated with current affairs, political changes and global markets as the real estate valuation processes are influenced by all these factors.

As a student, it was never my dream to become a financial advisor. I started my university life at the National University of Singapore as a Computer Engineer but eventually switched to Civil Engineering. After a couple of internships during my university, I realised that site supervision and construction design was not my area of interest. I wanted to try something radically different and hence, I pursued my MBA at National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR). This exposed me to the business side of the construction industry. This led me towards Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) when I realised my interest in finance. My knowledge as a Civil Engineer and a Financial Analyst had a significant influence on my approach towards problem-solving as a Real Estate Financial Advisor and helped me stay ahead of the game. It is good to have a goal in mind, but be open to exploring options along the way - Destination matters, but so does the journey!

Based on conversation in December 2018
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