No investment option is a silver bullet now

  • Dhirendra Kumar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Jul 21, 2013 20:40 IST

All investment analysts and advisers are facing a tough time dealing with their audience — whether that audience is paying clients or just readers and viewers in the media.

Nothing works any more. Equity investments haven't gone anywhere for close to six years. Now, bonds have also turned volatile. Deposits earn nothing compared to inflation. The time of gold too appears to have gone. Far too many people have money trapped in real estate where the value isn’t appreciating and interest rates are beginning to pinch.

If convention were to be followed, then at this point in this article, you would expect me to come up with some advice, some formula that I would claim enables you to sidestep the crisis in investing and earn decent returns. Unfortunately, no such silver bullet exists. As the joke goes, “it’s like this only”.

Managing your investments well at the end of the day only works where there is a distribution between good options and bad ones. The job of investment management then comes to avoiding bad options.

Depending on circumstances, there might be few good options or there might be more, or there might be options that have a high degree of uncertainty. However, in this country, we don't have a situation where there are any options that can be called good with any degree of certainty. In reality, every part of the economy, the chickens are coming home to roost.

A lot of the usual suspects are mouthing platitudes but it’s hard to see any serious action taking place before the general elections next year. At best, we'll see some papering over of the symptoms.

So if you want an investment option that will beat inflation and give you some decent real returns while performing as you might reasonably expect, then there's nothing. It's a question of keeping the faith and believing that things have always gotten better in the past and so they will this time too.


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