Would gladiators have been considered as glorious if they had been thrown into an arena against a hapless goat? Nope. You need a worthy rival to claim glory. An institutional sell-side broker and his buy-side investment manager aren’t exactly adversaries, but one’s selling skill is pitched against the other’s critical analysis. And every sales pitch could be a learning opportunity, realised Harshad Patwardhan, CIO, Edelweiss Mutual Fund, early in his career.
He entered the capital markets as a broker in 1994. For the next 12 years, he worked with various organisations including Marlin Partners, Caspian Research India and Deutsche Equities, covering sectors such as oil, gas, auto and engineering. The clients were mostly foreign institutional investors since the domestic mutual fund industry was just taking off, and Patwardhan says, interacting with these highly experienced fund managers and observing the kind of questions they asked, gave him “invaluable perspective”.
For instance, from Edward Pulling of JP Morgan Asset Management, Patwardhan learnt the lesson of looking at the bigger picture. Analysts are trained to think from a bottom-up perspective, but Pulling taught him to appreciate linkages of a business to other sectors and the economy. “He taught me when to look at the bigger picture and when to focus on the smaller details,” Patwardhan recalls. From others, he learnt the importance of looking at parameters besides valuation and how to research a stock thoroughly even when it has minimal coverage.
This arsenal of advice came in handy for Patwardhan when he stepped onto the buy side with JP Morgan Asset Management in 2006 as a fund manager. There, he managed the Equity Fund, Smaller Companies Fund and Economic Resurgence Fund. In 2016, after JP Morgan’s India business was acquired by Edelweiss AMC, the schemes continued to remain under Patwardhan’s purview. Currently, he looks after Edelweiss’ Large and Mid-Cap Fund, Multi-Cap Fund, Mid-Cap Fund, Long-Term Equity Fund and Small-Cap Fund. Managing schemes as diverse as these is a tall task for any fund manager. Despite these challenges, data from Value Research shows that Patwardhan&