Kotak is a big player in the BFSI space and I have a lot of respect for an entrepreneur named Uday Kotak. I have watched the growth of this man and his business and make no mistake it has been phenomenal. Take a bow. He has grown at a pace that Warren Buffett would be proud of. Most of the growth has come in Kotak securities and now of course in Kotak bank. As a shareholder I should be thrilled – considering that I am an IPO shareholder.
However in Kotak Mutual fund and in general in the fund management business (the Pms used to be housed in the Securities firm for a long time) they did not fare too well. I actually expected to beat the big daddies in the business but did not really happen that way.
Now there is an interesting change. A new man has taken over at the helm. Nilesh Shah. I am a fan of Nilesh and have tracked him from Franklin Templeton days. He brought hygiene to Icici Prudential. I would not touch any Prudential Icici scheme (as it was known then). One day Naren called me and said “Subra…yes I am joining Pru I”. I knew many people in Pru I but it was Naren that clinched the show. So from 2 mutual funds (Hdfc and Templeton) I added Naren to my list. I would still not add I Pru (as it is now called). Yes Naren made a big difference to me and those who listened to me.
Now the questions to ask are:
1. How active will Nilesh be in the management: Hey he has not joined as Chairman, but as MD. He will obviously remove the cobwebs, get new fund managers (people will happily report to him) and he will be able to attract talent. He will get good distributors and surely he will kick ass. So a fresh head, and a new revitalised team should help any company, is it not?
2. How BIG is the impact: It is HUGE. NS is not a small name. He is a big name, a clean name, and a brilliant communicator. So suddenly he will be there all over the media, performance will perk up, and Uday Kotak must have promised him a free hand. NS could not have come here to just retire. Not his style. So he will come and perform for sure.
3. What do I know about NS? Enough to say that he is clean, has a clear mind, is well qualified, can attract talent and knows the fund management business. Let me put it this way, and mutual fund should be happy to have him as a CEO – even fund houses much bigger in size. So NS made a choice of joining Kotak Mutual Fund. This is a good win win situation. Would have loved to hear the discussion that he had with U.K. before taking up this assignment.
Will I start recommending Kotak K 30 from tomorrow morning? Well, well, not so fast. It is on my radar though. I know people in the fund house and in the group. I know U.K. can mobilize US $ 2-3 billion in a jiffy for NS to manage…but I will wait.
Wait to see the fund managers who are willing to join. Their track record. Their impact….
What is the hurry? after all Naren, Prashant, Anand are stewarding our money well are they not?
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