It was an unusual sight inside the Mumbai office of Thomson Reuters at Ballard Estate on May 27. The occasion was the felicitation of India's best fund managers at an event that Business Today and Thomson Reuters had organised: the Lipper Fund Awards 2011. By 7 pm the auditorium was full with people from the investment fraternity, who turned up unmindful of it being a Friday evening. Tarun Anand, Managing Director, South Asia, and Senior Country Officer for Thomson Reuters kicked off the event by explaining how winning the best fund manager award is not an easy task in the current times. "The disaster in Japan, the European debt crisis, and political unrest in Middle East has changed the world like never before.
Your ability to deal with volatility and achieve outstanding results has brought a lot of pride to the industry," he said. "I feel the job of analysts is far more challenging than that of a person running the company because they need to get into the skin of the industry and come up with recommendations," he added.
Business Today Editor Chaitanya Kalbag pointed out how the mutual funds industry had grown by leaps and bounds in India. "As compared to Rs 47,000 crore in 1993, the size of the mutual fund industry has grown by more than 250 per cent in 2008," Kalbag said.
Quoting a McKinsey & Co. survey, Kalbag noted that retail equity participation in India was far lower than it ought to be for a population of 1.2 billion. The markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India has been doing an enormous amount of work in that direction, but "one of the biggest issues in India is to educate the average investor on why depth of participation in equity markets needs to grow," he said.
The awards ceremony - the event sponsor was The Glenlivet - then got under way with top names of the Indian mutual fund industry participating. Among those who came on stage to receive awards were Ashu Suyash of Fidelity International, Sanjay Parekh of ICICI Prudential AMC, Escorts Mutual Fund's Sanjay Arora, and Chirag Setalvad of HDFC Mutual Fund. For more on how these feted fund managers made it to our Best Fund Managers listing this year.