Satyabrata Mohanty, 44, didn’t exactly start out to become the star fund manager he is today. After completing his CA in 1997, Mohanty joined the Aditya Birla Group as a management trainee in 1998. His first job as an executive assistant to Debu Bhattacharya, the managing director of Hindalco, involved coordinating between the MD and the various business heads, analysing the business and giving inputs to the MD.
As a management trainee at Aditya Birla Group, Mohanty was to do a stint across all group companies. By 2000-end, Mohanty was moved to the asset management business. When Mohanty joined Birla Sun Life as a credit analyst, he decided to stay on with the AMC. From being a credit analyst to managing funds in the fixed income team and then becoming co-head of fixed income funds in 2003, Mohanty’s responsibilities at Birla Sun Life grew at a rapid pace. He started managing equities in 2009 and has since never looked back.
He first got curious about equity investing when he was doing his CA. His friends would give him regular updates about their stock market exploits. Mohanty even read George Soros’ theory of reflexivity during this time. In 2000, he made his first investment in Blue Dart around Rs.100. His first investment went on to teach him the importance of picking a quality stock with good management and more importantly, the power of compounding. Though he modestly admits that it was a stock he just got lucky with.
Mohanty started managing equities for hybrid funds in 2009 and by then Blue Dart was trading around Rs.700. Armed with his first lesson that it pays to find quality companies and stick with them, Mohanty was set to repeat his success with hybrid funds.
He prefers to invest in companies with a steady growth profile and ones that can compound at 20% over a long period of time. “Somebody with high expectation may overlook these companies,” he says. It is not that he has a perennial distaste for cyclical stocks, but he prefers the slow and steady stories.
Banking and financial services have been his favourite hunting ground to find these slow and steady stories. According to data from Value Research, seven of the top 10 stocks that have done well for Mohanty over the past five years, belong to the BFSI space.