scorecardWill Jio Fin follow the retail, telecom model and disrupt the financial services sector?
  1. Home
  2. finance
  3. news
  4. Will Jio Fin follow the retail, telecom model and disrupt the financial services sector?

Will Jio Fin follow the retail, telecom model and disrupt the financial services sector?

Will Jio Fin follow the retail, telecom model and disrupt the financial services sector?
Finance4 min read
  • Market is not rushing to downgrade Jio Fin rivals just yet, despite its deep pockets and ability to disrupt.
  • Jio Fin’s aggression in the unsecured loan business will decide how badly rivals will be impacted in times to come.
  • Given that cost of funds for JFS is expected to be significantly lower than other NBFCs, it can price its offerings much better than rivals in consumer finance.

A behemoth was born on Monday with the listing of the financial services business of Reliance Industries on the exchanges. With the listing of Jio Financial Services, the obvious question is the impact that this entity will have on other listed financial services players because it will take them head on. The obvious assumption is that companies that currently are in the consumer and MSME lending space will be directly impacted. Jio Fin’s rich parentage and high capital base will be its biggest advantage.

The net worth of the newborn is higher than its nearest competitor and this will enable it to build a large loan book much faster. But this may not be enough to win in the marketplace as it is a total novice when it comes to underwriting and execution. The market will closely monitor Jio Fin’s aggression in the consumer finance business before downgrading its competitors. For now, the jury is out.

Like all other businesses that Reliance has set foot in, even in financial services the market is expecting two things – scale and mega disruption. The first segment that Jio is set to rock first is the lending space. Jio Financial Services ahead of its listing on 18 August released some details on the structure of the company and businesses it would operate in. Jio Financial Services is not just a systemically important non-banking financial institution but also a core investment company (CIC). The RBI has mandated the conversion of Jio Fin into a CIC and NBFC over the next three months. What this essentially means is that all the other businesses will operate under this holding company as subsidiaries. In time, all the subsidiaries could also be listed.

The key businesses that Jio Financial Services will be present include: Reliance Retail Finance, Reliance Retail Insurance Broking, Reliance Payment Solutions, Jio Payments Bank, the Asset Management Company will be a joint venture with Blackrock. Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings will be the sole beneficiary of the 6.1% stake in Reliance Industries. Jio Information Aggregator Services will pursue the account aggregator business, which is yet to commence. Jio Infrastructure Management Services will offer project management services.

The first segment that Jio Fin seeks to aggressively pursue is retail lending. The dominant player in this segment is Bajaj Finance, which offers small ticket loans to consumers to buy consumer durables. This business has been mastered by Bajaj Finance over the last decade and a half by tying up with stores like Vijay Sales and Croma. This is where Jio will strike first. Reliance Retail has over 550 digital stores against 517 stores owned by its two rivals Croma (387 stores) and Vijay Sales (130 stores).

In merchant lending, its focus is on financing options for merchants in grocery, digital, fashion and pharma formats. According to Nomura, the focus of its MSME lending business will be better geographic penetration. Jio Fin will seek to meet the borrowing needs of small businesses that often resort to high-interest informal channels for small-ticket loans. The company will enter into secured loans in the medium term.

Over a period of time Jio Fin will offer unsecured loans too. Sources in the banking industry believe that the new entrant will disrupt the sector with differentiated and cheaper offerings as it can afford to do it because of its strong capital base. The cost of funds of JFS are expected to be significantly lower than other NBFCs.

According to Morgan Stanley, “The consolidated entity is starting with a capital base of Rs 114.1 bn as of March 2023 (Rs 193.5 bn ex-book value of RIL stake). If it were to allocate this capital to the lending business, this would likely result in it being among the largest NBFCs by net worth. While this implies significant capacity to lend, we will need to see the pace and mode of execution (organic/inorganic). Hence, the market will closely watch every move JioFS makes.”

While the markets believe that Jio will put technology and analytics at the heart of the business, building data will take time. Also, given the competition in the sector, borrowing by consumers is high and that is also leading to higher delinquencies. Therefore, the franchise that Jio builds will matter more than the scale of the loan book.

The other issue that analysts see is the capital base of the new entity. Jio Fin as a consolidated entity has a capital base of Rs 114,100 crore or Rs 1.14 trillion as of March 2023 (Rs19,350 crore ex-book value of RIL stake). According to Nomura, if Jio Fin were to allocate this capital to the lending business, this would likely result in it being among the largest NBFCs by net worth. “While this implies significant capacity to lend, we will need to see the pace and mode of execution (organic/inorganic). Hence, the market will closely watch every move JioFS makes,” the report adds.

READ MORE ARTICLES ON




Advertisement