Rajiv Anand is the Head of Investments at Standard Chartered Mutual Fund since the fund’s inception in 2000. He has over 13 years experience in the fixed income markets and currently manages over Rs 16,000 crore of assets spread over a variety of equity and debt funds. Rajiv spoke to Vaijayanthi Chakravarthy on issues ranging from transition of the fund from its current ownership to UBS that acquired it early this year to market valuations and fund trends. Excerpts:
Standard Chartered Mutual Fund has been taken over by UBS and is in the process of getting regulatory approvals. What does this mean for the fund’s investors? Will getting into UBS fold mean any change in fund management style?
UBS Global Asset Management is one of the largest active fund managers in the world. They have expertise across various asset classes. It is this expertise and the access to high quality products that investors in India will benefit from.
Broadly we do not see any change in the style of functioning. We have established funds and add to that the global expertise of UBS, we think is a winning combination.
You have not been launching new funds. Is that because of the take over?
There is no embargo against launching new funds. We believe we should launch new schemes only when we have new ideas. You will see new, innovative products from us in months ahead.
How do you see the Indian market at current level?
From earnings perspective, we are comfortable. Look at the macro numbers. Clearly this is a structural growth story.
Valuations are not cheap but at the same time we do not see too much down side in this market. We will probably see a period of consolidation. Therefore, as an investor one needs to temper expectations.
Where does one look for opportunities at this stage?
The mid cap space is large and one can play different themes within the mid cap segment. Standard Chartered Premier Equity fund, for example, looks at transformational companies and themes. It is invested in various themes: Oil and gas services, media and aviation to name a few.
What are the new themes you see entering the market?
There would be a bias towards international equity and more of such fund offerings will come. I think we will also see products within the structured products space that will provide the investor with a more efficient risk/reward paradigm.
You have been fairly strong in the liquid and money market funds. What are the opportunities and also the issues that dominate the segment currently?
Over the last few years liquid and money market funds have gained acceptance as a superior cash management product that offer liquidity, safety and reasonable returns for idle cash. We believe that this segment will continue to grow not only with corporate treasuries but retail investors as well.