People define Organisations!!

August, 2020

“The best still images are moving. They move you beyond time and space, move you emotionally, spiritually and intellectually; move you because they tell an entire story, in a single frame.” World Photography Day went by on 19th August, with a simple purpose – to inspire photographers to “share their world with the world”.

This time I have chosen this beautiful picture of Juhu beach clicked on a smart phone by my colleague Ms. Poornima Jayarao. The warm sun and the gentle waves encourage you to weave your own story !

As you do that, let’s get back to the world of business through words. In my experience over the years, it is People who make Organisations and not the other way around. They define it’s core values, it’s culture and it’s brand – in the process gain and retain customers. I would like to share a refreshing experience that my colleague had with the Senior Manager of a well-known private sector bank while she was racing against time and cutting across documents to complete an FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) related RBI filing for one of our clients. In this case, there was no investment received but conversion of a Convertible Note, which also requires RBI reporting under FEMA regulations. FIRC (Foreign Inward Remittance Certificate) and KYC are documents applicable at the time of receipt of investment and not upon conversion of the Note into Equity. Infact on choosing the ‘conversion’ option, such filing option disappears on the RBI portal. However, each bank has it’s own internal guidelines demanding different documentation and in this case, on the last day the client’s bank insisted that we file the FIRC and KYC, eventhough it was not applicable ! There were a few other minor discrepancies that they highlighted (as small as numeral 3 appearing in the FIRC in the investor’s name instead of Roman III and an extra letter !!) around 8 pm. My fellow professionals reading this piece will empathise with me when I say a simple RBI reporting can get excruciatingly painful due to lack of uniformity in practices amongst banks, lack of coordination between remitting and receiving banks and many a times lack of knowledge of the bank officials at the branch level. This is where our angel-saviour Mr. VJ, Senior Manager of the Bank stepped in, responding to a call from my colleague post office hours (hello, is there something called working hours in the WFH scenario ?? ?). He went beyond the call of his duty to connect her on a conference call at 10 pm with his legal team to sort out the issue. Discussions clarified the situation but they insisted a signed clarification letter from the company is required. My colleague coordinated with the client, got the Director to sign the letter and submitted the same on the RBI portal at 11.45 pm….just 15 mins short of the deadline to save the LSF (Late Submission Fee). While she heaved a sigh of relief that night, a couple of days later she got a call from the bank stating the clarification letter was missing, though it was filed. Again our ‘knight in shining armour’ stepped in and got her to talk to the legal team (mind you, neither the company nor we as consultants have direct access to a bank’s legal team except through their branch officials). This time she convinced them to accept an email explanation since the client was not available for immediate response. But for Mr. VJ and his timely intervention, the issue would have dragged on for weeks for no fault of ours. The client would have reported non-compliance with their subsequent FDI reportings blocked (it is sequential in nature). My conscientious colleague tells me that this is only one of the instances of great customer services extended by VJ. Long story short – despite faceless interactions with regulators, digital platform and so-called filing help kits, FDI filing is not standardised across various Authorised Dealer banks. It can get nightmarish at times though it appears straight and simple. While I hold my grouse against the whole not-so-transparent system, I am grateful to the likes of VJ and his legal team that create customer delight. Appreciation to my committed colleague as well to make magic happen at midnight during these pandemic times.

I repeat – People define Organisations !!

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