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Up, close and personal with Rakesh Jhunjunwala

Source: PTI
February 06, 2019 22:33 IST
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Though he loves gambling, he cautions against undue risks and says non-professional investors like the salaried class should invest through the mutual funds route and keep aside not more than 10 per cent for self-investing.

Largest individual investor in the domestic equities market Rakesh Jhunjunwala has admitted that his risk appetite is going down due to age and wants to set aside up to 10 per cent of his wealth in saving products soon.

Having suffered losses on his startup bets both in 2000 and 2007, Jhunjunwala said he does not see any value in them both from investment or business perspectives as most of them are just meet-toos lacking any real uniqueness.


Stating that he is keeping away from investing in startups as it is difficult to understand their business like the one presented by cab aggregator Uber, he said, "though many of them talk about innovation, there is little uniqueness in them and many of them are like 'me-too' companies."

The only savings the big bull has now is a fixed deposit of Rs 50,000 in a bank and Rs 1 crore in public provident fund, while rest of huge investments are in equities, he said.

"I must put 5-10 per cent of my money into (savings products)... age is catching up, and I should limit my risk appetite," Jhunjunwala told the Tiecon summit in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The ace investor is reported to have a networth of over $2.7 billion or nearly Rs 19,000 crore.

Jhunjunwala said he will also leave 5 per cent of his fortune in fixed deposits for his two kids, which cannot be touched by them but can ensure easy survival even if they blow the rest of the fortune in gambling in Macau.

He loves gambling and added the time is not far when all the states in our country will legalise the same as Goa.

Admitting that his short-term plays made him who he is, the outspoken investor compared share trading to a mistress and longer-term investing as a wife, and recommended investors to keep both happy.

Terming investing as a serious business, he advised non-professional investors like the salaried class to invest through the mutual funds route and keep aside not more than 10 per cent for self-investing if excitement is what they are looking for.

On the bloodbath in the midcaps last year, in which he lost heavily, Jhunjunwala said investors should blame themselves for the mistake of investing at such high valuations.

He, however, quickly added that there was no fundamental issue with any of those stocks which bore the brunt of the market mayhem and the problem for investors was only high valuations.

The passion for investing and the eat-drink-sleep-dream stock markets routine is the secret behind his fortune, he said, admitting that he cannot be anything else but a stock market player.

Blaming the IL&FS crisis on multiple issues including lax regulation, he expressed satisfaction with the corporate governance practices in companies saying those are 5,000 times better than the olden days.

The investor said he wants the BJP to return to power after the summer elections because of the change in attitudes brought about by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and also supported its issues like uniform civil code, Ram temple or buying property in Jammu & Kashmir.

Jhunjunwala said he unwinds by having whiskey twice a week, down from seven a week a few years ago, and also does yoga sometimes.

Photograph: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

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