Rendezvous with Anoop Bhaskar, Rockstar Fund Manager, at ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

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Dear Friends,                  

   Advance Independence day wishes and God bless India!

UTI Mutual Fund, the pioneers of Mutual Fund business in India celebrated their 50th year of service excellence on the 6th Aug 2014 and I had the opportunity to be present on the occasion, courtesy Shiva, AVP- Sales and Marketing.

Anoop Bhakar

The occasion was also used to launch UTI’s Focussed Equity Fund Series, 1100 days closed end Fund with no Market Cap Bias, Style and Theme. The portfolio will be restricted to a max of 30 well researched stocks and managed by none other than Anoop Bhaskar, cynosure of this blog. Several Financial magazines and newspapers publish their top list of Mutual Fund Managers in India, mostly restricted to Equity funds (feel sorry for the debt fund managers) and the following names invariably crop up. It’s like our IITs getting stacked high up the order when Indian Engineering colleges are ranked.

  1. Prashant Jain of HDFC Mutual Fund who enjoys a very high level of investor       confidence and invariably rated no. 1 (like the IIM A among the B Schools)
  2. Anand Radhakrishnan of Franklin Templeton. Sukumar Rajah and Sivasubramanian who have been consistently rated at the top earlier have either moved to a different role (Sukumar Rajah) or retired (Sivasubramanian)
  3. Anoop Bhaskar of UTI MF
  4. Apoorva Shah of DSP Black Rock Mutual Fund
  5. Gopal Agarwal of Mirae Asset Management
  6. Kenneth Andrade, a mid-cap specialist of IDFC Mutual Fund
  7.  Mahesh Patil of Birla SunLife Mutual Fund
  8. Sankaren Naren of ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund
  9. Sunil Singhania of Reliance Mutual Fund, though I should say that the performance of his flagship Reliance Growth Fund has taken a severe beating for the last few years and I have switched out of his funds myself.

I might be missing out a few others like Vettri Subramaniam of Religare, Navneet Munot of SBI, Pankaj Murarka of Axis, Chirag Setalvad of HDFC but it’s subjective. IIM A or ISB is definitely at the top of B School ratings but an Amity or Great Lakes is subjective and don’t want to get into the details.

Coming back to my meeting with Anoop:

Anoop Bhaskar is a rockstar who turned around UTI MF and cannot agrees less to Pravin Palande who wrote in the June 2013 edition of Forbes India which I am quoting here:

“Anoop Bhaskar weathered managerial uncertainty and weak markets to turn UTI Mutual Fund’s stocks into category outperformers

Picture this scenario: You work for a public sector fund house, where stakeholders cannot agree on who should head it. You have high-level manoeuvring to nominate the relative of a key finance ministry official, which the principal strategic investor is resisting. The sector regulator is not amused, and declines to allow the fund house to launch new schemes till it appoints a boss. And finally, a temporary acting CEO is appointed just to break the logjam.

In such a climate of uncertainty, you would expect a fund manager to play safe and not do much. More certainly, you would not expect him or his funds to appear at the top of the performance table. But Anoop Bhaskar appears to have insulated himself from all the chaos around him. Last month, rating agency Crisil ranked UTI Mutual Fund, of which Bhaskar is head (equities), as the best performing fund during the March 2013 quarter. Five of the funds looked after by Bhaskar, including two that he manages directly, outperformed their categories by a wide margin”

A very handsome and savvy fund manager, Anoop came to limelight when he was managing the Sundaram Select Mid-Cap fund from 2003 to 2007. Some of the stocks that he picked during his tenure at Sundaram AMC still continue to do well and are retained in the fund portfolio. UTI Equity Fund managed by Anoop since April 2007 has given Annualized returns of 44.33%, 18.39% and 16.38% over 1, 3 and 5 years as on 13 Aug 2014. UTI Opportunities Fund, another fund that he manages since June 2011 has given Annualized returns of 38%, 17.41% and 15.90% over 1, 3 and 5 years as on 13 Aug 2014. Anoop has been able to comfortably beat the benchmark (Alpha generated) by over 3% and 5% over the 3 and 5 year periods.

Anoop has been in the industry for over 23 years and had stints at Sundaram Asset Management, Chennai as Head-Equity, Templeton Asset Management as Senior Research Analyst, Shriram Financial Services Ltd. as Manager-Investments, Brisk Financial Services and Cross Borders Finance & Project prior to assuming the role of Head- Equity at UTI AMC since April, 2007.

I had requested for a 5 minute catch up with Anoop but he was kind enough to spend 20 minutes with me. My earlier stint with Cognizant and 18 years of IT career and coming out to venture as an Independent Financial Advisor definitely seem to be catching the attention of people. We had discussed on a several areas of interest including a work flow driven software framework for Investors and Financial advisors, which is currently missing in the industry.

I had also asked him some uncomfortable questions on the need of coming up with an NFO and whether the UTI Focussed Equity Fund will be able to beat his current well performing funds like UTI Equity and Opportunities Funds, for which Anoop explained patiently and impressively. He also extend an invite to meet him at his office in Mumbai so that we can spend a lot more time discussing on topics of interest.

Now the key takeaway from the evening program:

The following are the five key reasons to invest in the Equity Markets now:

  1. Inflation: After a decade India is on the path to taming inflation.
  2. Interest Rate: Taming of inflation would provide an impetus to soften interest rates.
  3. Credit Growth: Positive signs on both the above factors augur well for credit growth.
  4. Corporate Profits: Operational efficiency combined with growing demand should improve profit margins.
  5. Valuation: With the above factors converging, valuations should be in favour of investing in equities.

Please do send me your comments to sendhil@penguwin.com and share your views on my blog. I would also request you to send me some interesting topics that you want me to blog on and if it’s an area of my expertise, I will definitely take it up.

<Blog #PenguWIN 1008 – Rendezvous with Anoop Bhaskar, Rockstar Fund Manager>

Category: General, Mutual Funds

2 comments on “Rendezvous with Anoop Bhaskar, Rockstar Fund Manager, at ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

  1. Nice to see this Sendhil. Wishing you all the Best

  2. Thanks for letting us know the five key reasons to invest. I wanted to know your opinion about investing in real estate. Hope you write an article on that soon. Some people are saying that some housing markets in India are in bubble (like Pune, Gurgaon). Do you think there is a chance of a crash like what happened in USA? If someone wants to invest in real estate should he invest in apartments or REIT’s?

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