An investor who invested ₹10,000 with Kotak Mahindra Group in 1985 would be worth about ₹300 crore today, according to Uday MD & CEO, Kotak, Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB).

“As I step down from my whole-time role soon, I would like to reflect on what that role means. I am a manager, a board governance member and a strategic shareholder defined in Indian terminology as a promoter.

“Yes, I have spent most of my life here, starting from scratch with very little capital in 1985, 3 people and a 300 sq. foot office,” reminisced Kotak in the private sector lender’s latest annual report.

He emphasised that the group is at the right place at the right time.

“We are a quintessential product of the India growth story and the financial sector evolution. We are a quintessential product of the India growth story and the financial sector evolution.

“We have created value for stakeholders and now provide about 1 lakh direct jobs and a multiple of that in indirect jobs,” the KMB chief said.

Going forward

Going forward, Kotak sees his role as a non-executive board governance member and a strategic shareholder with a long term perspective of nurturing a world class institution.

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“It is unusual in today’s world of banking anywhere to have an individual with about 26 per cent skin in the game with disproportionate family assets in one stock, emotionally attached to living his dream of making India proud.

“I am confident that the alignment and commitment of the shareholders, board and the management will navigate us through the changing times. And of course, dealing with the ever-evolving regulatory and policy landscape,” he said.

Avoid accident-free roads mindset

Kotak observed that the turbulent period post 2008 saw the Indian financial sector experiencing many crises till about 2020. That has created a certain backdrop.

“We must avoid a mindset that we want accident-free roads hence we will restrict cars. Instead, to take this analogy further, we need more roads, more cars and better signals and traffic regulation.

“Accidents have to be minimised and managed, and cannot be eliminated without having a significant impact on growth aspirations. The policy and regulatory framework needs to be aligned with this,” he said.

Prevent bureaucratisation of financial services

Kotak underscored that entrepreneurship must be allowed thrive and he was fortunate to see this in most of his career.

“There is a need to build regulatory trust which requires action on both sides of the aisle. I feel the financial sector players risk becoming more robotic, curbing the entrepreneurial flair since the fear of making a mistake overrides the joy of creation and development.

“While we need ‘Arjuna’s eye’ on risk management, we must prevent bureaucratisation of financial services,” he said..

KMB, together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified financial services group providing a wide range of banking and financial services including Consumer Banking, Commercial Banking, Treasury and Corporate Banking, Investment Banking, Stock Broking, Vehicle Finance, Advisory Services, Asset Management, Life Insurance and General Insurance..