Sumita Pillai: Leveraging Two Decades Of Financial Expertise For Scaling The Organization To New Heights
With over 28 years of experience in private sector banking and wealth management, Sumita Pillai, Chief Executive Officer of Torus Wealth Private, has been in key Leadership roles in international companies including Merrill Lynch, Julius Baer, Citi Bank and BNP Paribas in several capacities. Sumita met the expectations of several stakeholders in these global companies while actively participating in mergers and acquisitions. Her expertise in crisis management of company affairs and experience-based manpower judgement have helped several organisations to maintain high ethical standards.
In an exclusive interview with CEO Insights Magazine, Sumita Pillai walks through several aspects of the wealth management sector in general and Torus Wealth Private in particular.
1)What inspired you to venture into the investment management domain and what has been your journey so far?
I started my journey in the financial services industry approximately 28 years ago. My first job was with consumer banking at Citibank where I worked for over a decade. At Citibank I was responsible and successful in building the North Mumbai footprint for the retail bank. After this, I joined Merrill Lynch Bank
Investment Management division.
Transparency is the only way you can build trustwith clients
2)How is your previous experience helping in the current role?
Over the years, I have accumulated a lot of experience while being in various capacities, of which adaptability is the most important skill that has helped me across various capacities. There have been constant changes in the way individuals do business and manage wealth. Investors’ attitudes continue to evolve and hence it is important to keep pace with these changes. These constant changes in the business practices requires transparency both with your team and clients, which eventually helps build trust.
3)Where does Torus Private Wealth stand in the industry?
Torus is a new-age wealth management organisation that provides individual and technological solutions. We lay emphasis on our clients and their evolving financial needs. Torus provides access to a comprehensive selection of inhouse and exclusive investment solutions supported with dependable, unbiased, and consistent guidance. Our open architectural products platform is backed by experienced professional investment managers who provide wealth management solutions across all asset classes.
4)Could you please explain the company’s greatest strength and also your unique selling propositions?
We believe in the people's culture and hence consider employees as the greatest assets. We have built a team of skilled individual experts from across sectors and developed a diversified staff strength. We help individuals grow and quickly adapt to the changes in the business environment and bring out solutions for suiting our client's needs. We do this without losing sight of big-picture growth possibilities. We continue to upgrade and customize our offerings to our customers which have been our biggest
5)What are the challenges you have faced in your journey so far, how have you overcome them and what did you learn from them?
Challenges make us better. I have been thrown into various projects which were beyond my regular job description but i have taken it up as a challenge and completed them successfully by overcoming it with a positive attitude towards my responsibilities. Over the years, I have worked with teams and dealt with aggressive and dominant people. But one has to play to their strengths and mine is building strong and cordial work relationships. When faced with any conflicts what’s worked for me is instead of getting defensive and emotional, it’s always beneficial to find a common ground and move forward. It creates more cohesive work environment for everyone.
6)Which business opportunity would you like to venture into next?
As a wealth management firm, we would always want to advise our clients with product recommendations depending on their objectives and level of risk tolerance. Obviously, opportunities exist for us. But often, clients follow our advice on stock selection. As a group, we have businesses across the sectors and our biggest strength is cross-leveraging the other opportunities and expertise the group offers.
7)Going forward, what are your goals you wish to invest in and how do you plan to achieve them forward?
My immediate goal is to lead and build the business with a team of talented and diverse set of people and create a collaborative trust based culture.
Sumita Pillai, CEO, Torus Private Wealth
Sumita Pillai has been working in banking for 28 years. She has been a key leader in esteemed financial organizations like BNP Paribas, Citi India, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, and Julius Baer Wealth Advisors (India). She believes that the finance sector is witnessing a seismic shift and that Forwardthinking investment managers are required not only to manage the existing wealth but also anticipate future gains and recommend the best-suited products that take care of the client's needs.