Curated products, open architecture and a holistic suite of financial investment products across multiple asset classes are key differentiators for this Super App.

Kotak Investment Advisors Limited, a subsidiary of Kotak Mahindra Bank, has gone live with retail investors focused on the Do it Yourself (DIY) execution investment platform by ‘Kotak Cherry’.  Kotak Cherry’s CEO-Designate Srikanth Subramanian shared the strategic intent and value proposition on offer through the Kotak Cherry App, which he dubbed a Super App for investments to cater to the needs of retail investors.

Edited Excerpts:

What is the strategic business intent behind the launch of Kotak Cherry? 

We are building Kotak Cherry as a Super App for investments for the benefit of retail investors. We are a super app giving all investment solutions to investors,  backed by experienced investment managers with deep domain expertise who have over two to three decades of experience in the world of financial investments. We want to be the one-stop-shop for retail investors, catering to their entire investment needs and a partner for achieving their financial goals.  The whole idea is can an investor come in and say I don’t need to get out of this App for anything that I can do with my money. That is where Cherry wants to go. It’s a constant journey. By the end of the year, we hope to be close to being a full-service suite.

How are you positioning Kotak Cherry?

It is the rise of the incumbent. It’s a super app curated by domain specialists (within Kotak Group), and all solutions of investments are available at all points of time, not losing the focus on technology. While it is curated and domain led, our technology is as robust as any app out in the market. Be it reporting, onboarding or execution, all of that we have treated as hygiene. Please don’t think we are going to be an App that is all about discounting. As per our recent survey, we received feedback that most investors prefer a single interface app instead of multiple investment apps, and 75% of investors surveyed wanted all investment options in a single app rather than using different apps for different asset classes. While 60% of investors said they are ready to pay for advisory services, another 35% said they would pay for advice if it didn’t cost a lot. We believe if we can add value to investors, then investors will be ready to pay. In the coming months we will roll out a subscription model with added offerings.

So how is Kotak Cherry different from the thousands of the run of the mill fintech developed equity trading Apps on the market?

 The main differentiation we bring for the benefit of retail investors is curation and open architecture. Our research showed that what is not currently available in other Apps is a good level of curation to help retail investors make a better choice. A super app for investments may not be the wrong positioning for Kotak Cherry. If you look at apps within that sub-text, all products are thrown at it and an investor is usually left to fend for himself. We feel curation will solve some of the problems. There are not too many apps saying we had solved for curation. If you look at all apps, most of them have been around equity trading and mutual funds. Very few had focused on REITs, bonds, mutual fund baskets and international investing enablement, which we will be offering. Instead of throwing thousands of options at you, we will give you nicely curated options. It’s not easy for anyone to stake claim on this unless they have done it over period of time. Hopefully, our pedigree will help in communicating better on curation. In the coming days, we will also curate on REITs once this segment also grows wider.

Who are your target customer segments? Are you looking to tap existing Kotak Group customers as your main target segment?

Our target is the entire retail investors’ universe, including the growing base of millennials and the first to market customers. In the next one year, we hope to bring at least one million customers on board under Kotak Cherry. We want to be the ‘go to’ Super App for all retail investors. We are an open-source platform where we will soon welcome all customers irrespective of where their banking or broking accounts are held.

So will you only go after customers in the existing demat fraternity?

We are not going after only Broking customers and the demat fraternity. We have a more comprehensive r engine, which helps go after many customers. For us, the game gives a wider and horizontal solution for investors. If the traffic is higher, we will not stop at one million just because we said it is one million. It is a super app. So every user will have multiple use cases such as equity, ETF, gold bonds and REITs. One of our core positionings is a broader platform with a holistic solution that will enable investor to make multiple trades in a single and multiple products. The one million investors have to be seen in that context, and having that investor do numerous use cases within that app is very large. 

How does this open architecture play out, and how does a retail investor benefit?

By open architecture, we mean a customer can use our platform and our curated offerings to put through transactions no matter which broker or bank he has an existing business relationship with. We will not be known for a monoline product, single product offering platform or a single bank account, or single Broking account. We want to make an investor’s life investor as free of any of these choices as one can. We are already 60-70 per cent open architecture. In terms of bank account, we are fully open architecture.

Can you elaborate a bit more on open architecture?

If the main plank for us is to provide differentiated product solutions, an existing investor with any other broker, if they find that the curated stock basket on Kotak cherry is worth their cause, then Kotak Cherry does not force them to have an account with any specific broker. The endeavour we wish to give to investors is not that we are offering a Broking account. You just come and use your login password that you were already using with your broker earlier and use that in Kotak Cherry in an uninterrupted manner. Cherry will also soon give you the option of opening a new demat account.

When are you enabling international investing in Kotak Cherry?

We have shortlisted one or two partners for our international investing enablement. Soon both our international and domestic stock basket offerings should go live. We are currently looking at a couple of integration possibilities that echo our sentiment of curation. We will have a partner- based approach. The partner we are looking for should give access and provide a more holistic offering including the curation we are talking about. We are still some time away. Our idea in international will not deviate from our core idea. International investing is becoming a big theme in India. Many people have realised that the home country bias is almost 100 per cent and so want to diversify to international markets.  The first level thought process is there and we will launch these services soon, also adhering to our core philosophy and prevailing regulations.

Published on June 06, 2022