“Even his name has the sound of money in it… Jhunjhunwala,” announced the anchor at an event featuring India’s most well-known equity investor, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala while a rapt audience comprising mostly women eagerly awaited some pearls of wisdom from the man.
Jhunjhunwala, who is also fondly called ‘India’s Warren Buffett’ and ‘The Big Bull’, was speaking at an event organised by the ladies wing of IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mumbai on Wednesday. Even before the event began, his aura had had its effect on the room. A steady stream of people moved towards the stage to take selfies with Jhunjhunwala and many among them hoped to coax a stock tip or two out of him.
The audience listened with rapt attention as Jhunjhunwala spoke about how his father encouraged his curiosity for the stock markets and how he taught himself to read a balance sheet at around age 14.
Jhunjhunwala offered some life lessons to the eager women investors. Speaking about the importance of controlling one's expenses despite an increase in wealth, he said he sometimes thinks of buying a plane, but then talks himself out of it by telling himself it will turn into a bad habit.
He urged investors not to think of the market as a gambling arena where one can quickly double or triple one's wealth. Instead, Jhunjhunwala suggested that those without knowledge or expertise in stocks should invest in the equity markets through mutual funds or systematic investment plan (SIP). "I would put 75% of my money in large caps," he said, when asked if an investor should favour large cap, mid-cap or small cap stocks.
When asked about the India growth story, Jhunjhunwala expressed confidence and said he “sees no dents in the India story.” The ace investor then said that democracy and demographics were on India’s side.
He then revealed that he was bullish on banking and pharma stocks and believed that the pain from the IL&FS crisis was mostly over.
When Jhunjhunwala started to take questions from the audience, the key theme emerged that there was a need to make profession stock market expertise more accessible to women.
Although Jhunjhunwala attempted to answer all queries patiently, he ultimately repeated his advice of going the SIP route via mutual funds to a couple of women with queries.
As the Big Bull exited the building after another round of selfies and one-on-one queries, one woman approached the moderator of the earlier talk and said, “You should have asked for his top 5 stock picks,” perhaps indicating the mood of the entire room which was hoping to carry home a bit of his magic.