TAMIL NADU, India – In the financial world of global investment it is easy to overlook human potential as sound capital. The financial service provider, Shriram Group, is a conglomerate operating out of Tamil Nadu, India that seeks to invest in human value through community based financial ventures.
The Shriram Group has been operating for nearly three decades offering financial and non-financial services with committed and long term involvement in investments and projects. It was started by three businessmen who began together in the Chit Fund business that evolved through a mission of helping to create wealth and empowering people through prosperity to result in an exuberant economic system with demonstrated inclusive growth.
A chit fund is a savings scheme popular in India where individuals agree to give a sum of money through an entity like an organized financial institution over a stated and specific periodic schedule to be held as a fund. The resources of the fund can be awarded to subscribers after a given period like a lottery, or legally held over for a specific purpose. They have even been used to great success in places like Kerala where the funds provide micro financing in regions where credit is poor and loans are much needed.
Some chit funds have operated unethically and have been used for exploitative purposes. They have operated much like Ponzi-schemes or pyramid schemes in order to extract money from victims. Not all chit funds operate in this manner, and it can be quite safe and even smart to invest and work with registered groups. Chit funds can provide services to those in rural areas who might not otherwise have access, assistance to those without families to borrow from, and can help make participation in economic programmes more equitable.
The Shriram Group was founded with this approach of uplifting a whole community through providing financial services to its most vulnerable members. The organization was founded by R. Thyagarajan, AVS Raja, and T Jayaraman. They started a small Chit Funds business out of Chennai which later grew into the Shriram Group. It is now a conglomerate that operates its business with the expressed purpose of serving the largest number of common people.
The Shriram Group invests in industries like Commercial Vehicle Financing, Consumer & Enterprise Finance, Retail Stock Broking, Life insurance, Chit Funds and Distribution of investment & insurance products, and Non-Life (general) Insurance.
They have also made investments in Information Technology, Engineering Services, Real Estate Development, Auto Machine Components, PET & Flexible Packaging, Drugs & Pharmaceuticals, Medical Diagnostics, Musical Instruments, Business Process Management, and Infrastructure & Power.
The Shriram Group has assets exceeding Rs.60,000 crores or almost $10 billion USD, and has nearly 9.5 million clients who are served by 45,000 employees. Its hefty assets and large list of clients affords the Shriram group a lot of influence as well as a lot of opportunity to effect change and shape the global market through local economies.
Recently Shriram has made the news with its emergence in the renewable energy industry. The Orient Green Power Ltd., which is the renewable energy subsidiary of Shriram, plans to become India’s largest renewable energy company by investing heavily in wind energy. With its assets and experience, The Shriram Group may be at an advantage by having spent so much time and money on those not likely to receive credit or investment, and has watched its own return come through the success of the global poor.
The return they have seen through investing in the global poor and disadvantaged has allowed them to secure the ability to jump into new and emerging markets and industries and invest where others can’t or won’t. This serves to make The Shriram Group a powerful and profitable business in development, politics, and the global economy.
– Nina Verfaillie