Wealth and ethics might often seem to be at odds with each other, but it’s the core of Rajesh Kothari’s business. He is the Founder and Managing Director of AlfAccurate Advisors, an investment management company located in the heart of Mumbai. The company caters to family offices, High Net-Worth Individuals, and Ultra High Net-Worth Individuals.
Trust, Integrity, and Passion are the foundation of AlfAccurate Advisors (AAA) – principles that Rajesh and his team strongly adhere to – which continue to pave the way for the company to grow, as existing customers recommend new ones.
Today, the company is an award-winning SEBI-registered PMS & investment advisory firm in India with a resilient and performance-rich history spanning more than a decade. The firm follows the principle of Protect Capital, Create Wealth. It has received the award for the best performance (2 Rank and 3 Rank) across categories on Risk Adjusted Returns for two consecutive times, given by PMSAIF world based on data analysis done by the prestigious IIM Ahmedabad.
Rajesh has more than 25 years of rich experience in the Indian capital market with deep expertise in Long Only & Long Short investment strategies. He has developed and implemented AAA’s unique Radically Resilient investment ethos and 3M investment philosophy in order to consistently achieve better risk-adjusted returns over the past 12 years.
Rajesh has an eye for detail and his process-driven approach results in the most optimal investment decisions. Rajesh is a respected market expert, frequently appearing on CNBC TV18, Times Now, and Bloomberg, attracting the attention of millions of investors across the nation. Additionally, he has delivered the keynote address at a number of international conferences and summits, including The World Council for Corporate Governance, the Institute of Directors, the TradeTech Asia Conference, and the Maharashtra Economic Summit.
Rajesh has previously worked as a fund manager at DSP Merrill Lynch Fund Managers (now DSP Mutual Fund) before founding AAA. Their AUM increased from USD 100 million to an astounding USD 1.5 billion during his leadership. Rajesh also received the CNBC TV18 – CRISIL Mutual Fund of the Year Award in 2006 for his outstanding performance. He was also designated as the ‘Platinum Fund Manager’ by the Economic Times for the DSPML Equity Fund on a risk-adjusted return basis (July 2006). The fund house also won the Lipper India Fund award for the Best Equity Fund Group for three years.
A true humanitarian and champion for the underprivileged, Rajesh is actively associated with the ‘Arham Yuva Seva Group,’ an organization dedicated to resolving some of the most important problems facing today’s young.
Let us dive into Rajesh’s journey of generating wealth through equity.
Journey of Equity
Rajesh reminisces, “I have been in the Indian equity markets for more than 25 years. I still remember how I first encountered the stock markets – my mother used to give me Vimal coupons, which she used to receive since she was a shareholder of Reliance.”
After finishing his education, Rajesh initially started off on the sell side of equities, where his role entailed the preparation of reports on different stocks and companies. During those days, information was not readily available, and the database software industry was still evolving. For his secondary research, he visited the CMIE institute and photocopied relevant industry articles.
As a consumer analyst, he dropped by Crawford Market frequently to analyze the trends in new product launches. Similarly, he used to type down the entire financial statements of companies in excel. “While it was laborious, it helped me analyze effectively as one can instantly connect the dots,” Rajesh says. Additionally, he also got a chance to interact with some of the best Chief Investment Officers in the country.
Later on, upon witnessing the dynamic and ever-changing nature of the equity markets, Rajesh started enjoying the field and thought to shift to the buy side, where he was in charge of managing the investment funds and making investment decisions. He joined Blackrock, where he learned fund management in detail under the leadership of Mr S. Nagnath and Mr Anup Maheshwari. “Here, I was conferred with the Platinum Fund Manager of the Year and Gold Fund Manager of the year awards by the Economic Times,” Rajesh shares.
After working for fifteen years, Rajesh thought of venturing out on his own and started his own investment fund during the financial crisis of 2009. Today, his company is one of the few PMS houses with thirteen years of track record, an essential criterion for managing money for large family offices. Furthermore, it has received an award for being one of the Top three PMS companies in the country on a risk-adjusted return basis for ten years of performance, two years in a row. Rajesh expresses his gratitude, “It is the customers’ trust in me and our firm that inspires us to keep pushing beyond limits. The journey so far has been enriching, with the fund growing to ~USD 160 million right now, and the company having 13 employees and still growing.”
World Class Advisors
The vision of AlfAccurate Advisors is to become the most admired investment advisor in the world. Its mission is to provide the best-in-class services to its clients and to ensure client satisfaction in all areas of its business. The company is guided by three core values – Trust, Integrity, and Passion. That showcases its commitment to its clients, its team, and the community at large and acts as a reminder of what matters the most. These values foster a results-driven and people focused culture at the firm:
- Relentlessly Pursue Excellence: Bring the best of yourself to each interaction with your work and with your clients.
- Remain Constantly Curious: A forward-looking, ever-learning, tenacious and thorough approach should drive creativity and growth for clients and yourself.
- Always Act Ethically: A principle based decision-making and high standards of corporate governance ensure that the client’s best interests are always kept in mind.
Word of Mouth Growth
Entrepreneurship is challenging. The word ‘PMS’ was not widely recognized and respected during the time Rajesh started. Hence, he and his team put in a lot of time and energy to explain to investors the concept of PMS. Despite their efforts, many used to refrain from investing in equities. However, with perseverance, they were slowly and steadily able to grow by fostering their relationship with existing clients, due to increasing trust in their company’s services.
The name of the company spread eventually by word of mouth. Rajesh says, “We have always been ethical, honest, and upfront with our clients, which resulted in our existing clients recommending other clients. We have seen some ups and downs, but we are able to sleep peacefully at night since we always keep the client’s interest first.”
On the Global Stage
Rajesh’s representations at the global platforms usually pertain to governance, investments, finance, economics, and related disciplines. He is invited to present his views on the economy or the capital markets and guide the viewers on how to make better financial decisions. So far, he has been invited to the following events to speak:
- Invited to Maharashtra Economic Summit to present views on Indian Infrastructure.
- Invited by the Institute of Directors to present views on Governance Deficit.
- Invited by World Council for Corporate Governance to present views on Governance
- Elected on the advisory panel of the World CSR forum.
- Invited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India UAE (Dubai) to present outlook on Investments.
Having spoken and gained experience at a global level, the major difference that Rajesh finds between the Indian and foreign education space is the way of teaching. He explains, “Abroad, the education system is more application-based with teachers focusing on ensuring that students apply the concepts learned correctly. On the other hand, in India, the education system lays more emphasis on concept-based learning, which aims to teach a wide variety of concepts across a range of disciplines to students. Each style has its strengths and weaknesses and carves out differently in different students.”
Communicating India’s Growth Prospects
One major factor that motivates Rajesh to keep representing India at the global level is the lack of awareness about India’s growth story and growth prospects. Currently, India attracts significantly lower FDI as compared to China – presenting a huge investment opportunity. Many advantages play a role here – a vibrant democracy, the right demographics, a strong legal framework, and an increasing entrepreneurial culture. Certain indicators, such as the growth in PLI, reducing inflationary pressures, and a strong and resilient economy, make India an attractive business hub.
Rajesh says, “Increasing awareness about the same could probably lead to an increase in demand for Indian goods, thereby further enhancing Foreign Direct Investment. I recommend future leaders follow their passion, find out their niche, and do their best at that niche. Doing so would immensely add value to them and also add value to several stakeholders interested in knowing the initiatives of such leaders.”
Rajesh thinks that the company has an inherent duty to not only enhance the lives of its clients but to enrich the communities in which they live through volunteerism, civic engagement, and philanthropic initiatives. Consequently, AlfAccurate Advisors has a long history of giving back to the community.
Rajesh remarks, “We are proud to support initiatives by ARHAM (a registered non-profit) that offers tremendous services to the less fortunate, some of which are specifically targeting families and kids in Maharashtra.” ARHAM’s activities include waste collection, education in Indian rural areas, healthcare and dialysis centers, and so on.
Future and Advice
For AlfAccurate Advisors, Rajesh envisions a future of being an admired investment advisor globally. He wishes to see his company recognized for its values and culture. He also wishes that his company becomes globally reputed for being one of the most ethical and trustworthy investment management companies.
Rajesh concludes by sharing a piece of wisdom for the new rising leaders in the industry, “Remember – Rome was not built in a day. Perseverance, that is, consistent efforts would lead you to your goal and pave the way for your bright future.”