Learning by Solving with Sahamati – Collective of the Account Aggregator Ecosystem

India’s fast growing FinTech scene has attracted a lot of attention and investment in the past few years. A host of companies and startups populate the various segments such as WealthTech, Lending, InsurTech, Digital Banking, NeoBanking and RoboAdvisories. The COVID-19 pandemic has further resulted in the acceleration of Digital Transformation across sectors, giving a boost to Indian FinTech companies. According to the Medici India FinTech report, FinTech investments reached USD 1.47 billion in just the first six months of the year, a 60% increase over the same period in 2019.

 

This year, the FinTech industry in India, will see the roll out of a new class of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), known as Account Aggregators.

 

Account Aggregators, approved by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 2016, work as intermediaries between Financial Information Providers (FIPs) such as Banks, Mutual Fund Houses, Insurance Providers and Financial Information Users (FIUs) such as Robo Advisors, NBFCs, Credit & Loan Providers. What this means is that Account Aggregators simplify the process of obtaining loans & insurance, receiving financial planning advice, opening bank accounts and investing in various instruments.

 

All of the above mentioned activities require a number of documentations, ranging from Aadhaar card information to Credit Information, to be submitted for approvals, which can be cumbersome. As per the Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA) (https://www.indiastack.org/depa/), Account Aggregators act as Consent Managers, enabling safe and swift data sharing between the Financial Information Providers & Users, with the consent of the individual; thereby cutting down the time for various approvals to mere seconds and costs to a fraction of the earlier costs.

 

This way, Account Aggregators do not just bring convenience into the financial ecosystem but will also help to ensure that financial services reach more parts of the Indian population, ensuring increased financial inclusion. Individuals in the unorganized labour sector who do possess adequate documentation and who have been denied access to financial services, will greatly benefit from the rise and adoption of Account Aggregators.

 

As part of IFIM’s close interaction with Industry, our Business School students worked closely with Sahamati an umbrella body or collective of the Account Aggregator ecosystem, on multiple RFP (Request For Problem) Projects. Request for Problems (RFPs) is a mechanism to seek real life business challenges from our industry partners. Students were mentored jointly by their faculty as well as mentors from Sahamati to ensure that they ‘Learn by Solving’.

 

This journey began with a meeting in IFIM Business School campus between Mr. B G Mahesh, CEO of Sahamati, and the Director and senior Professors of IFIM Business School.

 

 

Mr. BG Mahesh, Co-Founder of Sahamati – Collective of the Account Aggregator Ecosystem visits IFIM Business School

 

Student groups, mentored by Mr. B G Mahesh along with Prof. Prashant Goyal, worked on developing several Use Cases of Financial Information Users (FIUs) for the population in the Unorganized Labour Sector and for the Urban Millennial population, along with a complete Digital Strategy for Sahamati.

 

The Use Cases of FIUs for the population in the unorganized labour sector, known as the Bharat Market, included individuals such as security guards, maid servants, and construction workers. A large number of respondents were interviewed to develop Use Cases that would ensure the Bharat Market population would have easy access to various Financial Services.

 

The study on the Urban Millennial Population went beyond the traditional use cases of FIUs such as Banks & Mutual Funds and looked at how Account Aggregators can disrupt the conventional processes in diverse industry sectors such as Healthcare and Education, Real Estate & even the Pharmaceutical industry.

 

Students also worked on the Digital Strategy for Sahamati, looking at how Evangelizers, Influencers and Social Media could be used to educate and sensitize various parts of the population. They presented an outline for a Content Marketing plan and best practices for Website & Search Engine Optimization that could be operationalized to ensure larger awareness of Account Aggregators among the Indian Population.

 

The RFP Projects with Sahamati was a great learning experience for students, giving them a hands on experience on real life problems in Industry, for the better part of 6 months. Such immersive live industry projects also benefit the industry as they have the opportunity to have bright management students come out with solutions to real life problems. Speaking about the experience; Mr. B G Mahesh remarked that “It was a pleasure to work with the three groups of energized students who were willing to learn about Account Aggregators and think about which Use Cases will work for Millennials and Bharat, the real India. We need to invest in the future leaders of India right from their student days.”

 

The RFP Projects at IFIM Business School is an integral part of the PGDM Program and is a result of the close collaboration with our Corporate & Industry Partners. RFPs act as a stepping stone to our Industry Internship Program (IIP) and to Final Placements, through immersive industry experiences for our students.