Positive Contributors

Muthoot Finance:

Muthoot Finance is the largest gold loan NBFC in India with a gold loan AUM of more than $7 billion and a strong network of 5461 branches. Gold finance business is unique in two aspects: (1) the collateral (i.e. family gold ornaments) has to be physically kept with the lender. So the borrowers need to have trust in the lender and the sector is highly regulated to safeguard the borrowers interests, essentially making it difficult for any new player to enter and scale up rapidly. (2) While there is negligible credit risk in gold loans, as the value of collateral is far higher than the value of the loan and it can be easily monetised, gold loan business is operationally intensive with the bulk of it being in relatively lower ticket buckets of < $5000, which makes it less attractive for banks with their higher cost structures. Muthoot finance has been in operation for more than a century and has a very strong mindshare in gold loans which it strengthens through its widespread marketing campaigns involving its brand ambassadors Amitabh Bachchan and CSK. This provides some sustainable competitive advantage to Muthoot Finance, which was not being fully appreciated by the market when we invested. The company generated RoA and RoE of 3% and 15.3% in FY16 and was still trading at ~2X P/BV. Over the past 5 years, the AUM has grown at a CAGR of 18.5%, while the profits have grown at 35.7% CAGR resulting in RoA and RoE improving to 6.2% and 27.8% in FY21. The business model has proved its resilience during this period going through demonetisation in FY17, post IL&FS NBFC crisis in India in FY19 and the pandemic induced lockdown in FY21. Through all this period, we kept investing in Muthoot even as the market largely ignored it. The market has finally started to recognise the strength of the franchise and has rerated it over time. Muthoot Finance currently traded at 3.78X FY21 BV and with the superior return ratios as well as huge opportunity in the gold finance business, we feel it has a long runway for growth and valuation remains attractive. 

HDFC Bank:

HDFC Bank is the largest private sector bank in India with a balance sheet size of ~Rs. 18 lakh crores, a formidable retail franchise and spectacular asset quality. The market also recognises this and so HDFC Bank has always traded at a significant premium to other large private sector banks such as ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. In FY17, when the rest of the banking industry was bearing the brunt of corporate NPAs, HDFC Bank remained unscathed since it had been very prudent with its corporate book and had very high focus on retail banking.Banking being underpenetrated in India, we see a very long period of industry growth at higher than nominal GDP growth. HDFC Bank was well positioned to capture the growth while other banks tended to their NPA mess and the guidance from the management indicated the same. Over the last 5 years advances and deposits grew by 19.5% and 19.6% respectively. The bank also benefited from economies of scale and leveraged technology to bring down cost as a result of which cost to income ratio decreased from 44.3% in FY16 to 36.32% in FY21. PPOP grew at 21.84% CAGR while PAT grew at 20.4% CAGR. In FY20 as the retail space started getting crowded with all PSU and private banks focusing on the space, HDFC Bank was nimble enough to shift focus to corporate banking where it could drive growth by cherry picking the best accounts. We sold our position a few months ago when the RBI imposed a ban on issuing new credit cards due to multiple outages for their on-line banking system. Our concern was a fix of the IT issues that caused the problem may take some time and could result in a reduction in the valuation premium the bank commands.

Interglobe Aviation

It continues to be pleasing to note the contribution Interglobe Aviation has made to our performance – one of our controversial stock holdings which led to more investor questions than any other companies in our portfolio. The Company continued to gain market share solidifying its leadership position further, despite industry facing one of the existential threats from the on-going Covid pandemic. It is worth noting that, nearterm continues to remain extremely challenging,  but management has put up efforts to contain costs and manage liquidity which will not only help them survive but strengthen its competitive position in the market. To give a background to our investment thesis, Indian aviation remains a highly underpenetrated market relative to other economies. The Government’s thrust towards making air travel more accessible to the masses under its UDAN scheme along with planned development of airport infrastructure in the country are the key enablers which will support industry growth.  In this context, Interglobe Aviation is in the best position to take advantage given its indisputable leadership position, strong balance sheet and liquidity position, and a low cost model will help them to come out stronger than before. And this is not new to Interglobe. Every time the industry faced a major airline failure in the country – be it Air Sahara, Kingfisher or Jet Airways – Interglobe emerged as a clear winner. We continue to remain positive on the company’s competitive edge which will drive outperformance as things normalize post Covid.


Another top contributor to our 5-yr performance is a company which we bought mid-period in early 2019. The Company, Polycab, is the largest Cables and Wires manufacturer and is one of the fastest growing fast moving electrical goods (FMEG) players in India. What attracted us towards Polycab is their deep rooted distributor loyalty which they have built over multiple decades, a strong manufacturing footprint and in-house capability to introduce newer and innovative products supported by a well structured and professionalized management team. Through our channel checks with dealers and our visit to the company’s plants, we got the first hand impression on the strength of the business. At the time, the Company has invested over Rs 1100cr in the preceding 5 years in augmenting and expanding its manufacturing capacities and has worked extensively in reinvigorating its retail and distribution network. With the foundation work in place, we concluded that business has the potential to generate higher return on capital than what it has delivered in the past. We felt that despite having had direct interactions with the top management of Polycab, the institutional investors had underestimated the strength of the W&C franchise and ignored potential scale up of the FMEG business. For us, this was a classic situation that fit our investment strategy.  True to our expectation, the Company delivered ~30% earnings CAGR and >800bps improvement in ROIC over the last three years, despite facing Covid induced challenges in the current year. We benefitted not only from strong financial performance but also re-rating. 

Deepak Nitrite:

Deepak Nitrite is a diversified chemical company. It started its operations in 1972 and from there the company has come a long way in its journey of last 50 yrs and presently has 4 business segments comprising i) Basic chemicals, ii) Fine & specialty chemicals, iii) Performance chemicals and iv) Phenol-Acetone & its derivatives. Deepak Nitrite has a history of bringing in new products and attaining market leadership in those. The company’s strategy over the last 50 years has been import substitution, cost optimisation and market leadership which has worked very well and it continues to focus on these 3 pillars for future growth as well. In 2014 the company announced a large Phenol-Acetone project to take care of entire domestic demand as more than 80% of Phenol-Acetone was being imported in India. This was a game changer project for the company and the plant which got operationalized in Nov-18 achieved 100% utilisation within 5 months. The execution shown by the management over the years has been excellent and they have achieved their targets before time. In Dec-20 the stock was trading at 19x ttm P/E and the implied ttm P/E based on our FY23 TP as per DCF was 14x which suggested we were getting value without any multiple rerating. The stock has done quite well since then and we continue to be positive on it going forward given their, 1) expansion plans in the new products in areas of a) value added intermediates which are import substitutes and find applications in Pharma and Agro Chemicals  b) downstream products of Phenol-Acetone where company will have a  competitive edge as they have the feedstock inhouse. 2) excellent execution track record by the management.

Negative contributors

BLS International:

BLS is the second largest visa service provider in the world. It operates in the G2C space and had recently won the global contract from Spain, which made it eligible for other such large contracts which were to come out by the end of FY18. BLS also had won a contract with Punjab government for their citizen service centres which had minimum revenue commitments from the government and this was very profitable with EBITDA margins upwards of 30%. This was a time when the smallcap stocks in India were trading at heady valuations. While BLS was available at the right price based on our framework with potential upside from any new contract win, we did not take into account the risk to its business from a change in political leadership in Punjab. We did not provide an adequate margin of safety for the underlying potential political risk. After the state elections, the new government in Punjab cancelled the contract and replaced it with a new contract with no revenue commitment and single digit EBITDA margins. The company also didn’t win any new Visa projects in the countries it had bid for. We decided to exit as our thesis was not playing out. At the same time, the market had corrected steeply on account of imposition of long term capital gains tax in India, which increased our losses. BLS fell a lot more post our exit. Later, we heard from grapevine that BLS stock had been pumped up by “stock market operators”, a common feature behind the relatively rapid rise of share prices in some cases in India. We have become more circumspect of this aspect and try to study the share price behavior and holdings a lot more rigorously to detect such patterns.

Bandhan Bank: 

Bandhan Bank is the largest microfinance lender in India with a very strong presence in the East and Northeast. It has an outstanding loan book of Rs. 87000 crores of which 2/3rd is from microfinance. The microfinance customers are very vulnerable to any sort of disruptions and having a disciplined approach to collections is the most important thing for any MFI. With the RBI announcing moratorium for 3 months, the credit discipline went for a toss and with lockdown related disruptions to the livelihood of the customer, as well as additional impact on account of cyclone in West Bengal and political meddling with the MFI borrowers in Assam, the probability of default had increased steeply. SInce MFI is all unsecured, the loss given default tends to be very high. So the market anticipated very high write-offs post moratorium and the  stock was hit hard. With the outlook uncertain, we also decided to exit the stock and reinvest in better opportunities.


Manage a concentrated portfolio of 15-30 companies that 

  • Will deliver growth based on end market and market share gain opportunities
  • Have Clear and sustainable Competitive advantage in form of pricing power, cost structure, capital efficiency 
  • Are run by Competent Management with sufficient bandwidth and depth
  • Follow conservative accounting practices and have taken sound capital allocation decisions
  • Pass our stringent corporate governance checklist
  • Are likely to deliver sufficient ROIC as well as growth in revenue, earnings and cash flow
  • Have relatively low dependence on capital markets 
  • Can deliver sufficient returns adjusted for risks and liquidity premium over a period of two to three years

May be not slogans, but we do have some guiding principles

  • Integrity: Doing the right thing even when no one  is watching
    • Calculating fees, creating side pockets, trade allocation decisions and more.
    • >15% of AUM from the founder who has no side pocket in Indian equities 
  • Investing is not rocket science; however, we must embrace technology or face obsolescence. We chose to be a 100% cloud based company five years before covid. We have developed in-house technology to be able to implement our customized approach to portfolio building so that we can scale up well and eliminate human errors. 
  • Market is almost always right especially in the long run and even in the short run market is more right than wrong
  • It is easy to abuse valuation tools; treat them with respect. Do not invest purely for the multiple expansion game or even assume multiples will sustain
  • Do what works in the long run without worrying about short term performance

How we differentiate: Ability, Approach, Flexibility, customization, True value focus, Alignment and Integrity

Rule based, process driven and research heavy investment approach:

  • We focus on process driven investing and have developed proprietary analytical models and methods which we follow rigorously to identify companies with superior risk-reward characteristics. We believe in investing heavily in resources to support our detail oriented approach. A comprehensive set of rules guide us in our investment process and arguably reduce individual biases and mistakes

Ability to access the top management:

  • Having interacted with top management of companies with market cap ranging from $50 mn to $100 bn and being the first call for global Institutional Investors on some of biggest tech companies in Asia (TSMC, Infosys), we are able to succeed in getting time from business owners and CEOs to engage in two-way discussion on their business and on wide ranging issues such as financing option, capital allocation, dividend policy and other topics. Such meetings prove very valuable not only in decision making but also in sourcing liquidity at times

Ability to invest in under-researched companies:

  • We invest in companies across the market cap spectrum. We can operate below the radar of larger Institutional Investors. many larger PMSes and mutual funds. Have been following a strategy of reaching out to companies relatively unknown to the market for the last eight years. Have identified more than three dozen stocks that delivered many fold returns over this period.

Roll up the sleeves approach:

  • We are willing to travel to different corners of the country for AGMs, sit in the “audience” to learn about a company. Often, questions we ask demonstrate our sincerity and hence we establish rapport with the company management and are able to learn a lot about the company in the process. 

Flexibility to increase cash position:

  • Active cash calls at extremities
  • Buy Sell framework affects our cash levels


  • Do not follow Model portfolio approach. 
  • Only those stocks below buy level get bought in new accounts 

Focus on Genuine Value:

  • Buy only expected returns meet our risk adjusted hurdle rate
  • Expected return based on very elaborate FCF or excess ROE model
  • We do not stay invested stock crosses our price objective 

Alignment of Interests:

  • We believe in earning primarily from performance and offer low fixed fee options. In addition, the fund manager is fully aligned to Sameeksha for his investment in Indian Equity with a very personal commitment (>15% of total AUM). With a heavy focus on high quality in house research and technology, we recover our fixed costs only when we are able to perform well and hence charge the variable performance fee.


  • Track record of objectivity and impeccable integrity fully endorsed by top most global institutional investors

Transparent dealing no hidden markups:

  • We not only charge low fixed fees but also negotiate heavily with third party service providers to keep expenses charged to clients as low as possible. Unlike some well known names,  we do not aim to make any money from client other than what is clearly stated as our fees.

Nuances in Calculation of performance fee:

  • With no standard rules for performance fee calculations, PMSes can use their own interpretation of application of hurdle rate. Unlike some large and widely owned PMSes, we do what we believe is fairer to the investors. We calculate hurdle value by adding up the hurdle value for the all the years since when last high water mark was applied and add up that value to the last high water mark to determine profit attributable to performance fee. This is a very key point and please ask for more details. 

Home Page

Appendix 1:  Update on the performance of our fund

Appendix 2: Structural factors and Economic Reforms  driving Indian economy

Appendix 3: Investment philosophy and lessons learned

Appendix 4: Cash Calls and Portfolio mix across market cap buckets

Among The Most Successful Professionals In Equities; Rated The #1 Technology Sector Analyst In Institutional Investors Polls For A Decade. Highly Respected Among Peers For His Path-Breaking Work And Thought Leadership. Rose From An Associate To Managing Director Within A Span Of Six Years In The Investment Banking Industry

Twenty Years Of Experience Building Top Research Franchises: Seven Years As Managing Director And The Global Head Of Technology At JP Morgan, Six Years As Director And Head Of Asia Pacific Technology At Credit Suisse And Five Years As Founder Of Equirus SecuritiesTrack Record Of Innovation And Excellence In Equity Research

Anchored The Rise Of Credit Suisse  From An Unknown Name In Asian Equities To A Number One Ranked Firm In Asian Equities; Head Of Asia Pacific Tech Research

Credited For Building Top Ranked Global As Well As Asian Tech Research Practice At JP Morgan As MD And Global Head Of Tech Research; Made Defining Contribution To Enable JPMorgan To Move From An Also-Ran Player To A Top Global Name In Equity Research

Built A Very Profitable And Award Winning Indian Equity Business At Equirus From Scratch On A Tiny Budget; Achieved Number Two Ranking In Asia For Idea Performance

Impeccable Track Record Of Identifying True Long Term Winners Ahead Of Others Including Samsung Electronics, TSMC, Infosys And TCS And Guiding Investors To Stay Clear Of Laggards Such As UMC And SMIC Years Ahead Of Consensus.

Mind Of An Engineer, Worked In A Team That Designed The World’s Fastest Microprocessor With A Manta “Paranoia Is The Safest Frame Of Mind”. Awarded Two US Patents.

Work Experience Of Designing The World’s Fastest Microprocessors Based On Cutting Edge Technology For Which He Jointly Holds Two US Patents

Best In Class Business Education From The World Renowned Business School: Double Major In Economics And Finance, Beta Gamma Sigma Cum Laude From The University Of Chicago Booth. Excelled In Studies Under World Renowned Faculty Such As Dr. Raghuram Rajan, Former Governor Of The Reserve Bank Of India