Mr. Harsha Upadhyaya

Chief Investment Officer – Equity

Kotak MF

Mr. Harsha Upadhyaya, CFA serves as the Chief Investment Officer of Equity and Fund Manager at Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company Limited. He joined the fund house in August 2012. He served as Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager at DSP BlackRock Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd. He previously served as a Senior Vice President and Head of Equity at Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company Limited. He served as Vice President and Fund Manager of Equities at UTI Asset Management Company (P) Ltd. until July 21, 2011. Mr. Upadhyaya has several years of experience spread over equity research and fund management. His prior stints have been with companies such as DSP BlackRock, UTI Asset Management, Reliance Group, and SG Asia Securities. Mr. Upadhyaya has received the CFA charter from the CFA Institute. He received a PGDM in Finance from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow in 1996. Mr. Upadhyaya also earned a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Suratkal in 1993.

Q. What is your investment strategy? What sector or stock specific approach do you follow while constructing your portfolio?

Answer: Our investment focus continues to be Growth at Reasonable Price (GARP). We are following more of stock specific approach at this point of time to construct portfolio, given narrowness in market movement. On relative basis, large cap segment offers better risk-reward as compared to mid/small cap segment in our opinion. The inflows coming into the funds are being deployed gradually and cautiously given current market conditions.

Q. What kind of stocks and sectors is the fund house currently avoiding and why?

On relative basis, large cap segment offers better risk-reward as compared to mid/small cap segment in our opinion

Answer: We have been avoiding stocks that are either very expensive or those with shaky fundamentals. Given nervousness in the overall market, such stocks would get punished sharply if there are any negative developments related to them.On a sectoral basis, we are underweight on PSU Banks, Telecom and Metals across our portfolios.

Q. Given the economic and political situation existing today and till next general elections, what would you advice investors?

Answer: Irrespective market phases, all investors should stick to prudent asset allocation and long term focus. SIP/ STP route allows investors to wade through volatile market conditions quite well. We view current phase of the market as an accumulation phase for long term investors.

Q. Rising crude prices, falling rupee and inflation - do these factors worry you? How have these factors impacted your investment decisions?

We view current phase of the market as an accumulation phase for long term investors.

Answer: These macro headwinds are obviously concerning to us. We have taken these into consideration while arriving at our investment decisions. For example, we have pared our positions in OMCs due to rising crude prices and concerns on whether market related pricing will be adhered to or not. We have also built in likely adverse impact of increased RM/ fuel costs and higher interest burden on corporate profitability.

Q. What is your future outlook for the market? What would be the key drivers for the markets from here?

Answer: We expect market to remain range-bound with some declining bias in the next few quarters, driven by macro headwinds, political developments, expensive valuations and continuing domestic inflows. If we witness easing of any of the headwinds or clarity on emerging political scenario post 2019 elections, then it would lead to sustainable upside in the markets in our opinion. We are focusing on companies with reasonable valuations and relatively lower probability of earnings disappointments going forward.

Imp.Note: We are registered NJ Wealth Partners and this interview published is sourced from NJ Wealth with due permissions. Reproduction of this interview/article/content in any form or medium by any means without prior written permissions of NJ India Invest Pvt. Ltd. is strictly prohibited.