No 2: Don’t forget rule No 1. You could respond with: Easier said than done. The times, after all, have been how to get 20 return on investment in india. And wisdom has been pouring in from all quarters—every television set, newspaper, and even your neighbourhood uncle.
Instead, we bring you the voices that actually matter—some of which have shaped investing strategies over the last few decades. The country’s 20 most influential investors comprise Forbes India’s inaugural Wealth Wizards package. They have seen the markets through roller coaster rides and survived to tell the tale. Invest in equities for the long term and you will eventually make money. We picked fund managers, individual investors and academicians who are all trailblazers in their own right. Take Chandrakant Sampat: The man who made money by investing in FMCG way back in the ’50s. Bharat Shah and Samir Arora garnered huge fan followings amongst investors during the dotcom boom of the ’90s.
The infrastructure wave belonged to Sunil Singhania who refused new money for Reliance Growth Fund in 2006 because he thought the market had heated up. Our Wealth Wizards are not infallible either. They admit to failures even as they take pride in their successes. They are also optimists who have a long-term faith in equity investing.
Many have followed the Buffett style of value investing but, at the same time, have created rules of their own —and these are as significant a checklist on investing approaches as you can get. Like any other skill, investing should be learnt from the best. However, it is also a personal thing, they say. Carve out your own rules and follow them strictly. And that, perhaps, is the biggest lesson from this exercise. Trends make the best friends, believes Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. And like a good friend, the master investor never questions or pre-empts a trend.
Throughout his 29-year-long career, he’s backed his trendspotting with a huge appetite for risk-taking. It started with him buying shares in Titan Industries in 1986 when others were underestimating the potential of the company. He continues to be invested in Titan and holds close to 8 percent of its stock, currently worth over Rs 2,500 crore. Similarly, he bet on iron ore-miner Sesa Goa, now Sesa Sterlite, when its share price was Rs 60 and sold them at Rs 2,200 a share in the late 1980s. And like the American investor, the Indian bull is also known for his long-term bets. In 1989, armed with a Master’s degree from California State University at Northridge, Ramesh Damani became a member of the Bombay Stock Exchange.
He had planned to make a living through broking. But what really excited him was identifying potentially successful businesses, and investing in them for the long term. Damani’s father had been successful in the market, but he always sold the moment a stock’s price went up. His first big move in 1993 was when Infosys went public.
Having briefly worked as a coder in the US, he knew Infosys would benefit from a huge labour arbitrage. He invested Rs 10 lakh in both Infosys and CMC. By 1999, his investment had grown hundred fold. In classic Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger style, he’d experienced the advantage of hanging on to a good business. I learned that just because a stock doubles, it is not a reason to sell it.