India's Best Fund Managers 2020

Shridatta Bhandwaldar | Canara Robeco MF | India's Best Fund Managers

Canara Robeco’s Shridatta Bhandwaldar believes risk is overrated and quality, underrated

Faisal Magray

One of the critically acclaimed films of 2019 was a satire on a poor family’s attempts to sponge off an extremely wealthy one. The ugly truth of social inequality aside, Parasite is a movie that cleverly packages the enterprising spirit of the Kim family. But instead of going great lengths to mooch off other people’s money, they could surely have learnt some lessons from  Shridatta Bhandwaldar. 

The Canara Robeco fund manager fell in love with equities in 2006 while pursuing his MBA in finance. He has advice that would have solved all of Kim family’s problems. “What drove my interest in equities is that you can be a parasite by being a minority shareholder and create a lot of wealth for yourself,” says Bhandwaldar and adds, “This is a platform that allows you to benefit from the efforts of best companies and their managements.” That might sound super easy, but the modest veteran has honed his research skills and patient approach over a decade. In 2016, he joined Canara Robeco Mutual Fund as a fund manager for its various schemes. 

He has his three years of experience in the capital goods and infrastructure to thank for shaping his investment philosophy. After covering these sectors between 2006 and 2009 at MF Global Securities and Motilal Oswal Financial Services, he learnt that these are relatively weak businesses. “They have to deal with governments, have weak cash flows and low RoE and RoCE. They can make some money for one to two years, but one can’t create wealth out of these kinds of businesses,” says Bhandwaldar out of experience.  

After all, he witnessed the infra cycle tank post 2007. Economy-related sectors do really well during an upcycle, but are hit the hardest when things go bad. “They saw tremendous growth but the moment the cycle reversed, problems such as balance sheet trouble showed up. There was growth without cash flow and we saw a lot of wealth destruction. This was a huge learning curve and helped me shape my investment thought process,” recalls Bhandwaldar.  

Armed with this experienc

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