Molly Kapoor, the marketing head at Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC, talks about her journey, career lessons, the importance of gender diversity at the workplace, and many such inspiring stories.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something

Shattering the glass ceiling, Molly Kapoor has built an inspiring career spanning more than 20 years. Today she heads the marketing team at Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC, one of India’s leading asset management companies. A strong leader, Kapoor believes there is no such thing as a ‘tough’ decision if you keep the well-being of your customers and organisation in mind. 

Kapoor is counted among the 100 Most Influential National Leaders in Marketing. She is a financial industry doyen and an advocate of mutual funds as a sound investment tool.

Here she talks about her journey and learnings, the importance of gender diversity at the workplace, the critical need for women to become better investors, and how women can achieve anything they want by staying focused and cutting out the noise.


Please tell us about your journey at Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC.

With over a decade at Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC, my journey has been steeped in learning and enriching experiences. From heading customer service and experience, I moved to lead marketing. My experience in customer service gave me a deep understanding of customer needs and their thought processes. These are the learnings I now use in my current role.

I have also had the opportunity to be a founding member of the Association of Mutual Funds of India (AMFI)’s Financial Literacy Committee for two years (2016-2018). The committee’s objective is to expand the industry and create mutual fund awareness. It was responsible for the immensely successful ‘Mutual Fund Sahi Hai’ campaign, which I think really shifted the needle for the industry by simplifying mutual funds and making it a topic of conversation. 

It’s had a significant impact on my career. To witness an industry transformation like this happens once in a career span! 

I’d like to believe that we have been able to bring the category closer to the customer through continued communication and demystifying mutual funds. My journey has been an exciting one so far. At the same time, it’s humbling to realise there’s so much more to look forward to. 

According to you, what are the primary aspects an organisation looks for in its employees?

There are different asks at different levels. For example, at a junior level, core skills, efficiency, speed, etc. are more important. At the middle level, managerial, planning, and people skills become important. As one grows higher, the requirements naturally shift towards competencies such as emotional quotient, relationship quotient, innovation quotient, etc. 

What remains a constant ask is customer quotient, which is nothing but having a solutions mindset that provides for need gaps, innovation, and fulfilling unmet customer needs.

How important is gender diversity in an organisation’s work culture?

The importance of gender diversity spans the representation of women in Parliament to the boardrooms to every level of an organisation. Industry studies that recommend a gender-balanced environment have pushed many organisations to become proactive towards gender parity at the workplace. Instituting women-friendly policies and making diversity hiring a priority contributes to a positive work culture. 

A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has shown that bringing more women into the workplace translates 

into increased revenues, profitability, and positivity as women employees bring in new perspectives and fresh ideas.

What is your advice for women who want to achieve success personally and professionally?

  • Stay focused and have a positive attitude. Cut out the noise. 
  • Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. No one knows you better than your own self.
  • Take time out for yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re a homemaker or a CEO. It is important to preserve one’s self, unwind, recharge, and march forward. 
  • If things get tough – which they sometimes do for all – don’t quit. Take a break to sort things out. Come back. 

What are the tough decisions you have had to take as a leader?

If your decisions are well thought through and are in accord with the well-being of your customers and organisation, there are no decisions that are ‘tough’. Leaders have to consistently march ahead towards new territories along with their teams and organisation. If the purpose is clear, decisions weave in naturally.

How has the mutual fund industry evolved in India? 

The industry has seen exponential growth in the last 25 years, owing to increased awareness and efforts from the industry players. It has seen over 20% CAGR growth in the last six years. Today it has an AUM of Rs 25 lakh crore and investor folios exceeding seven crore. 

One of the biggest challenges for the industry is to bring more investors to the fold of disciplined investing and expand its footprint across the country. But compared to the global mutual fund industry, India still has a long way to go. 

Please educate our readers about this great investment tool. How can one start their investment journey?

Mutual funds are professionally managed by expert fund managers based on extensive market research for the benefit of investors. It is a simple and inexpensive vehicle for investors to get a professional fund manager to manage their money.

When shampoos were introduced, sachets were made to drive adoption and usage. If you look at any urban or semi-urban household today, shampoos have replaced soap for washing one’s hair. Similarly, there are simple tools like Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) with which one can sample investment in mutual funds with small monthly instalments and slowly get into the habit of disciplined long-term systematic investment. 

It is important to consult good financial advisors through your investment journey as they are trained to guide you with your investments over the long term. 

Women often shy away from investing. Why do you think this is the case?

Women, in a broader sense, have always been known to be great savers and spenders, but that idea has somehow not evolved beyond. The whole concept of unlocking the value of money through financial instruments still needs to reach a wider cross-section of women to increase their participation towards investment decisions of their household or themselves. In addition, more women need to be encouraged and inducted into the mainstream workforce, which then translates into regular earning, followed by regular investing. 

At Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Funds, we are constantly including women in our conversations and communications. We are now observing their ‘shopping’ towards mutual funds! 

Please share some tips on investing and building a cushion for one’s golden years.

  • After providing for the necessities, keep aside 20-25% of your income for investments. 
  • Start investing in mutual funds when you get your first salary and increase this percentage every 2-3 years.
  • Stay invested.
  • Take life insurance and health insurance covers for a comprehensive wealth plan.

The opinions expressed in this article by Molly Kapoor are her own, and do not necessarily reflect those of or its owners. 

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