Swanand Kelkar, a professional money manager talks about his journey into the world of investing and shares his insights about picking great businesses.
Swanand Kelkar is Executive Director at Morgan Stanley and portfolio advisor for Indian equities. He joined Morgan Stanley in 2007 and has 10 years of investment experience. Prior to joining the firm, he worked in the equity investment department at HSBC Asset Management. Swanand received his Bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Mumbai and an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He is also an associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Swanand writes a regular column for the Mint newspaper on investing and markets.
Safal Niveshak (SN): Could you tell us a little about your background, how you got interested in investing, and how you’ve evolved over time as an investor?
Swanand Kelkar (SK): I was born and brought up here in Mumbai and my parents were teachers. I am a Chartered Accountant and then went on to do my MBA from IIM Ahmedabad.
Ever since I was a kid, I had this fascination about seeing money grow. Most of my friends used to spend their pocket money but I used to save as much as I could and lend it within my family at usurious rates of interest. My family would playfully indulge me and this bug of seeing a hundred rupees become hundred and ten bit me for life.
My career choices, as you can see, have been related to this. I personally started investing in the equity markets as a twenty year old at the peak of the TMT bubble. Like a classic novice investor, I got sucked in at the top, invested based on hearsay and lost my shirt (two months’ worth of articleship stipend, which seemed like a fortune then). It was baptism by fire really.
It was during my MBA days that I began to figure out the method behind the madness and started understanding the difference between investing and speculation. My tiny portfolio started doing well (it was 2003) and I gained some confidence. I wanted to get into something related to equities after MBA which would convert my passion into my day job. Luckily, I got into the buy side and have now been a professional investor for over ten years, of which eight years were at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
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