WhiteOak Capital, which is currently managing about ₹45,000 crore in equity assets, is keen to build a strong, diversified retail-focused mutual funds business in the country. This boutique investment management and advisory firm, through its asset management company (AMC), plans to set up 100 branches across 80 cities in the country in the next 12-18 months, Prateek Pant, Chief Business Officer, told BusinessLine.

Over the next six months, WhiteOak AMC plans to launch six types of mutual fund products with a flexi-cap fund slated to be first off the block, followed by an emerging markets fund, large-cap fund, mid-cap fund and then an ELSS, said Pant.

WhiteOak, which is now mainly managing institutional funds (of the overall $6 billion under management, nearly 70 per cent was raised outside of India), wants to set up a full-fledged asset management platform in India and intends to focus primarily on equity products in the next 18-24 months, he said.

“We have to create a track record among retail investors in India. We are one of the few AMCs with the DNA of an investment management company,” Pant said.

“Today without doing mutual funds, we have $6 billion of assets. WhiteOak is profitable. It’s not that we want to just be a boutique investment firm. The opportunity of providing outperformance through active management is huge in India. Why should gains be restricted to institutional? We want that opportunity to be available to retail customers also. Don’t want it to be restricted to institutional business. Building a strong, diversified retail business will help create a long-term vision for the organisation.”

WhiteOak AMC, which acquired YES Mutual Fund, will also launch hybrid funds next year. It is also the only AMC in India that has a local retail licence out of Singapore.

Alternative investments

WhiteOak, which is also into alternative investment funds (AIF) business and PMS, will continue to focus on portfolio management services (PMS) despite foray into mutual funds. “Our PMS will not take a back-seat, just because we are setting up a MF business,” Pant said. 

While its total AIF business stood at ₹5,000 crore, the PMS is about ₹7,000 crore. All are basically listed equities play and WhiteOak is currently not into private market investments. “We will start looking at that space (private market investments) seriously over the next one year,” he added.

WhiteOak has 7,000-8,000 PMS investors. Last fiscal, WhiteOak had the largest inflows on the PMS side at over ₹5,000 crore. The three-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of its PMS stood at 26-27 per cent.