Thursday, January 17, 2008

India Personal Finance Websites and Portals

Sramana Mitra says that the Personal Finance is one of the top segments that draws online advertising dollars and Personal Finance is an important vertical as
  • 61% of the Internet users use the internet to research stocks or check their bank accounts and
  • around 73% of the Internet users’ research sources for investments, mortgages and insurance.
That might be true in the US with exciting websites like Yahoo! Finance, Google Finance, ETrade, Fool, Seeking Alpha MSN, CNN, AOL, and Marketwatch.

But in India when I searched for "Personal Finance websites in India" My PF site ranked No.1 on Yahoo search, ahead of Yahoo Finance India! I rank 3/4 on Google too!! This makes me very happy but also reflects on the fact that there are very few good sites in India which covers the personal finance sector in its entirety. As Mitra says in one of her comments, the segment is wide open in India.

Yes, there is MoneyControl and PersonalFn provide good information and tools for managing one's finances. But there's a lot of potential for more websites that offer research, community features, directory of financial advisors, portfolio management tools and comparison tools.

This post will be a sticky one and I intend to review personal finance websites in India in detail here. It will be a longish post and I intend to keep it updating and chip-chopping! (using the power of blogs)

Before that, let me categorize personal finance websites (PFW) in two broad categories:
  1. PFW providing opinion and reviews designed to provide information and/or selling a financial product. PersonalFn for example, gives excellent review and information and also doubles up selling financial planning to readers. They survive with advertising money like print media. They can be unbiased and independent. But there aren't many in India right now. That probably explains why my 4 month old site appears on page 1 when you search for them!
  2. PFW providing selective information designed to sell a financial product. Like an Insurer's website will provide information on their own insurance products and not on competitors or other financial products. Also the information is selective, i.e. designed to sell the product and all positives will be mentioned.
Category 1 Websites: (All rounders, Mutual Funds, Blogs, etc)

All rounders:
  • To my mind the best PFW in India is PersonalFn. Their tag line is "Money. Simplified" and they live up to that. They have well researched articles and provide financial planning services which appears to be honest and ethical. I called up their numbers and got a good initial response. But I did not really get any follow up calls :( . There SEO also needs some optimization so that whenever you search for personal finance in India, you should land up to their site first.
  • PersonalFn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Quantum Financial Services and they have an excellent Stock Research site at EquityMaster. They have a very informative Year Book 2008 of 200 top Indian companies which is a must read for any stock investor. I have had some sneek peeks at their research reports and I found them lucid and insightful.
  • MoneyControl, a TV18 initiative, has the tagline of being India's No. 1 Financial Portal. They are very strong in Stocks news and analysis. I would like them to offer comparison tables for financial products too as they are trying to do with consumer goods at CompareIndia
Mutual Funds:
  • ValueResearchOnline is the complete guide to Mutual Funds in India. It is independent, unbiased and has a very efficient method of rating the MF schemes under varios categories and manged by various AMCs. Best in class, no doubt about it. But I wish they could be more interactive. My numerous mails and questions go unanswered. And a bit uncluttering of the site would be my personal wishlist for them.
Coming next is Financial services wise websites (Insurance, Mutual Funds, etc), personal finance Blogs and more!

To be continued....
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