A few years ago, if you hadn’t invested in mutual funds or stocks, you could just shrug when someone recommended it and walk off. Now, there would be an intervention. Fintech has rapidly developed and somehow, become an integral part of our daily lives from mobile payments to anxious checking of stock markets. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that fintech has now entered a more traditionalist space, where any change is not easy to come by: weddings.
Yashas Khoday, a co-founder of broking-tech platform FYERS and Ambica Ladwa, an UI/UX professional, who got married in Bengaluru on 24 February, gave interesting gifts to their guests. Forgoing traditional gifts such as sarees, the couple gifted guests equity and gold ETFs.
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Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are “a pool of securities similar to Mutual Funds traded on an exchange,” according to the FYERS website. To put it simply, gold ETFs are, digital gold, Khoday explains. If you buy gold ETFs, the digital units are backed by physical ones so it’s like having electronic gold certificates. Equity ETFs can be used to invest in stocks and commodities.
During the wedding planning, as the discussion about gifts started Khoday, well aware of the possibility of criticism, proposed gifting ETFs. To his surprise, the older generation found it amusing and decided to experiment. “As a fintech, we have built a model that enables peer-to-peer transfer of financial security. So, we thought it would be different and a way to be the change that we talk about so much,” Khoday tells Lounge. Yashas Khoday was selected in the Business World Disrupt '30 Under 30' for his work in financial technologies in 2021.
The gifted ETFs were simplified to ensure accessibility. The ETFs were sent as links that had to be opened and redeemed. There was no cost associated with it and they would be credited to people’s demat accounts. In weddings, gold is often considered auspicious and comes with a promise of financial security. Replacing it with gold ETFs, that come with an added advantage of easy storage, isn't a radical change, making it easier for older generation to understand.
This idea also fit well with the couple's aim to avoid unnecessary purchases. Khoday explains that the duo are minimalists, and this was also a way of not giving people gifts that they don’t use. “We also sent out digital invites to avoid the use of paper and with no gift policy we tried to reduce packaging as much as possible,” Khoday says.
As the wedding wrapped up, a surprising takeaway was that the older generation, who are often considered to be a challenge when implementing new technology, was the most open-minded and eager to understand. The guests appreciated the unique gifts and some told the couple, they plan on using the idea.
“It’s important to take initiative and experiment. There is so much waste after weddings and disposal has always been a concern. We live in severely polluted cities, it’s important to understand how we can contribute,” Khoday says.
Also read: Gift-giving season doesn’t have to wreck your finances