Rakesh Jhunjhunwala may or may not be India’s Warren Buffet, but the big bull did have his unique beliefs on what will work when it comes to investing.
India growth story
An unabashed patriot who believed in the India story, he had no qualms in speaking his mind out and sometimes even got emotional in defending his country, as he did once during a panel discussion in 2019. During the debate, when a London-based investor was casting doubts on the India growth story, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala retorted, asking the investor to ‘go and invest in Pakistan’ if he felt India was not giving the right opportunities. As India shines today on growth versus the rest of the world, his confidence in the Indian story expressed that day comes to mind.
Resilience of domestic flows
Another telling comment he made in the same discussion that has borne out recently was his confidence in domestic flows buoying investments in India. Referring to the opportunity to be tapped from domestic savings, he noted this was sufficient and that we did not require foreign money. He said foreign investors could come if they wanted to, but we weren’t dependent on them. Over the last few months since October 2021, as FPIs were on an exodus, the resilience in domestic markets driven by support from domestic flows/savings bears this out.
Whatever his bets were, he was pretty convinced about them. An example that comes to mind is his comments to the Titan management during an investor conference call. The call was held in December 2016 for an update on the impact of demonetization. The management said they expected things to get better in the long term and were unsure about near-term trends. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala discussed with management and explained why things would get back to normal faster than expected. And he turned out to be correct, as Titan stock went on to give near 3x returns in a year from then!
Don’t miss out on the fun!
Investing appears accessible from the outside, but only a person who has passed through multiple market trials knows how stressful it can be. And Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was no exception to these trials as he endured multiple brutal bear markets in his investing life. Often a sense of humour is required to tide through stressful periods with equanimity. Perhaps this sense of humour came to the fore when there was an impostor on the web. So much was the influence of the parody blogger that many thought it was the real Rakesh Jhunjhunwala blogging/tweeting, and there were even instances of quotes from the parody account attributed to the real RJ. Rather than taking offence, the real RJ was gracious enough to meet the parody blogger once and have a fun conversation with him!