Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the 9th India Investment Conference (#IndiaInvConf) arranged by the CFA Society of India and it had a title of “Investing Insights for Uncertain Times”. Uncertain times and Volatile markets – these words have been used (over used) over the past 150 years at least, if not 200!
Why lucky? Simply because I did not see the roster of speakers till a couple of days back, and when I woke up, the registrations were full. I was very happy that when I reached out to the powers that be at Reliance Mutual Fund, I got an entry pass. So grateful to RNAM. Thanks guys. All the speakers were good, so I don’t want to single out Morgan Housel – though that is the name which drew me to the conference.
It was worth the effort of reaching Taj Lands end on a Friday morning – and I must have been one of the earliest entrants. The hygiene first – the arrangements were very nice, and I have(had) no complaints except one. The badges that the delegates got (all of us) did not have the program printed on the backside, and it is time that the organisers collected the badge and recycled it for the next conference – the ribbon and the metal clip need not be discarded. I was happy that the badge did not have a plastic cover. Phew. Not cribbing, just suggesting – for all conference providers. The hygiene – the food, tea, the arrangements were all top class as one expects from Taj. They could have put some booster or given us a login pw for good network. Had to go out side the conference room for good connectivity. Again, not cribbing, just telling Taj that some of us like to tweet about the happenings, and that we could not.
Navneet Munot (who has done a very competent job in SBI MF over the past 11 years as the CIO) started off the session with a summary of what the Society had done over the year, and it was an impressive list! Nick Pollard Managing Director, Asia Pacific CFA Institute gave us the international perspective and India conference was the biggest outside of the USA. Congrats guys you rock.
I wish I had paid more attention to the first session of ‘Incorporating Geopolitical Analysis into your Investment Process’ – the problem of being a one country portfolio holder I could not be disciplined enough to pay full attention. However, of whatever I heard, it was good, and this was by Matt Gertken, Vice President, Geopoplitical Strategy, BCA Research Inc. and the session was well moderated by Ananth Narayan – a professor at SP Jain. Met Ananth for the first time, though I had spoken to him for long duration over the phone!
The next speaker was Ratna Sahay – Deputy Director, Monetary and Capital Markets Department International Monetary Fund, – and she spoke extremely well and it was a hugely data driven speech. Some of the things she said could be used by the current ruling party for their election speech! She praised the RBI and spoke about the large number of accounts opened, and its impact on the economy. I have made notes, but not enough to do a full review, but will attempt that later.
Decision Making under Uncertainty – Less is More by Gerd Gigerenzer who is the director of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and a partner at Simply Rational—The Institute for Decisions. It was excellent, and I have made some notes, and will revisit it later. Competently moderated by Prof. Madhu Veeraraghavan.
The Wisdom of Finance followed and this was done by Mihir A. Desai who is the Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance at Harvard Business School and professor of law at Harvard Law School. Like all HSB alumni/faculty he spoke very well and increased my ‘books to read’ – he is the author of a a book by the same name. Very well done, and his short speech was followed by a discussion with Paul Smith, CFA, President and CEO of the CFA Institute.
This was followed by the talk for which I had gone for the conference. The worry in such times is “am I expecting too much” and “what new can he say – what he has not already said in his blog and Youtube videos. Well Morgan Housel did not disappoint. I went up to him and did a sashtang dhandavat pranam – this 24 year old looking man did a good job. Who Morgan? well Morgan Housel is a partner at the Collaborative Fund. Previously, he has served as a columnist at the Motley Fool and the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Housel is a two-time winner of the Best in Business award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, is a two-time finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, and was a finalist for the Scripps Howard Award. Phew. His blog is worth a read if you have not seen it, do it today. Kalpen Parekh – the original Behavioral finance guy in the Indian MF industry moderated it well and described MH’s writing as “every line feels like a quote” – very true. I had high expectations (which is a recipe for disappointment) but MH and KP made sure that I was not disappointed. Thanks guys. The 5 story format was good. Yes my writing could be influence by MH – but story telling as a training tool I have been using for a very long time, and yes I liked it.
The last session had a few perma bulls – Sunil Singhania, Ridham Desai, Navneet Munot. Milind Sarwate was the non fund manager in the group and it was moderated by Nikunj Dalmia of ETNow.
I hope to get the presentation/video of the event – which will help me do a post for each of them separately. In case I get it I will do a post for each of the sessions. In case I don’t I will have to rely on my notes (and failing memory of an ageing brain) to attempt one. Fingers crossed.
Thanks RNAM. But for you, I would not have been able to attend. I was sleeping at the wheel, must thank Anupam Gupta for waking me up.
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