When I look at a fund manager I look at integrity, honesty, consistency, trustworthiness, simple lifestyle, good brains….etc. However when I meet fellow investors I do not know or care about any of these qualities. There is no way how I can measure any of this shit. Therefore it forces me to look for characteristics like – length of relationship with a broker, average age of portfolio. Mean, median of the portfolio. One of the important things to look for is TEMPARAMENT and ATTITUDE. Both are very difficult to define, describe, measure, and see it change over a period of time.
Curiosity: if you are a direct equity investor you need to be curious about every company that you see. I have a 80 year old client who would want to know about every possible company. He even made some money in bitcoins, and then got away. I do not think this is important for a mutual fund investor. He has to hope that some of his fund managers are young and risk taking. Some FM are young, risk taking, and curious. Older FM are rarely curious.
Contrarian – to think differently from the crowd. Naren Sankaran fits into this very well. He has the ability to think differently and enjoys being challenged. Prashant Jain also plays contrarian – in the sense that he moves far ahead of the market. Requires tremendous guts to do that. Anand Radhakrishnan is now taking a call on Bharti Airtel, and does not have any Reliance in his portfolio. No clue who will be correct in the long run, but as of now 2 of them look good, but AR looks terrible. Watch this space.
Flexibility for me is important – so when I take a view on say IT, I will not stick to just Infosys, I am happy taking a call on TCS, Cognizant or even Biocon! This sounds very difficult for a fund manager. However for absolute return investors like me moving from one industry to another does not really matter too much. This is true for my investor friends, but may not be true for MF investor friends/ clients. It is a kinda risky strategy and has to be owned by the investor.
Patience: this has always been difficult to define. I am running out of patience in Franklin India Bluechip, Tata Motor dvr, Bharti Airtel, and Reliance. Sold off most of my Bharti airtel, Reliance, and TM Dvr. I am not running out of patience in Colgate, Nestle, Cummins, Siemens – look at their bloated PE. Not sure how much patience to have and which shares to sell.
Self awareness, and self-control – how does one talk about these while investing? Not sure how to pen it…maybe later?
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