Executive Vice President & Head - Corporate Advisory Services, IL&FS Financial Services Limited(IFIN)

  1. Tell us in brief about your professional journey so far
  2. I started my professional journey in 1993 with Lazard India as an equity research analyst. During that period, there was a lot of buzz around equity research with increasing number of FIIs investing in India and hence I decided to take it as a career. After completing four years within the organisation as an equity analyst, I was offered a lateral move to Investment banking. The shift was opportune and more of a personal choice and I took it up as I was exploring career alternatives. During this leg of the journey at Lazard as an investment banker, the building blocks of investment banking namely sector and domain knowledge, relationship building and execution skills were cultivated.

    With more than a decade of experience, I moved to Kotak Mahindra in 2005. The market was beaming with various IPOs then and the opportunity to handle this segment added one more product to my portfolio. Over the 11 years devoted in Kotak, I discovered myself as a professional entrepreneur in the true sense and built my expertise in the field of Financial Services, Healthcare and Pharma.

    In order to take forward the proficiency, I joined IFIN as Head of Corporate Advisory Services in 2017, with an objective of creating and building a team and the franchise as a relevant and recognised corporate advisor. For me as an investment banker, it is very important to have a sense of entrepreneurship, and IFIN offered that to me. I look forward to an amazing phase of my journey here.

  3. How would you describe your leadership style
  4. Investment banking cannot be seen as a job, it is a career for professional entrepreneurs. Hence, I’ve adopted a participative and inspirational style of leadership. I believe in building a team culture by leading by example, providing avenues for team’s growth, inspiring and igniting team’s passion and lastly but not the least offering recognition of work. If I’ve to inspire my team and command respect, then I’ve to be on top of my game.

  5. How different is a woman’s leadership style
  6. In my view, leadership style is not gender driven, I see myself as a professional first whose aim/goal is to motivate and inspire her team towards the vision. To create a successful business, it is critical to mentor and empower the team to develop their potential and contribute effectively.

  7. What advice would you give to people trying to break into investment banking
  8. Career choice should be driven by passion. This business requires a positive attitude, persistence and patience. Moreover, this is a people’s business which means networking, ability to build professional relationships, connect with people are critical. There’s no stopping anyone who chooses this profession with a sense of ownership, focus and determination.

  9. Has your career been conventional or capricious
  10. I guess quite conventional. For me, the choice has been always between Law and Finance as a career and I happen to choose later. I believe that I have been very fortunate to have offered excellent opportunities at various phases of my career. Things just happened at the right time and all I did is made conscious decision.

  11. How did the M&A segment do in last year and how is it expected to perform in 2018
  12. M&A deals in 2017, largely driven by domestic-domestic and restructuring, reportedly saw a decline both in volume and value over the previous year. The vibrant public markets (2017 witnessed record fundraising to the tune of USD 20 bn) were one of the reasons of the relatively subdued M&A activity in 2017 which made M&A deals expensive. On the other hand, PE investments continued to see an uptrend in activity with transactions in Energon Power Resources, Ola, Paytm, and Flipkart. In 2017, there were high levels of deal activities specifically in the financial services, consumer, infrastructure and TMT (accounted for ~90% of the overall M&A including PE by value).
    The M&A and PE deal announcements for the first two months year have been encouraging, hence we are bullish on the M&A activity level in 2018. Volatility of the Indian capital markets as evident recently should moderate the expectations conducive for deal making.
    Deleveraging balance sheet and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code would be a key M&A driver for this year. Furthermore, domestic companies would continue to play an active role in domestic M&A both for consolidation and competitiveness. Private equity continues to be active in buyouts and funding transactions, furthermore, they along with stressed assets funds are working alongside Indian strategics to acquire stressed assets. One could also potentially see strategic exits from non-core business/assets by Indian conglomerates.

  13. What are the key challenges faced by the segment currently
  14. Attractiveness of the capital markets is the key factor influencing the M&A and fund raising activity. Furthermore, regulatory changes and external developments would be critical influencers to deal making.

  15. If not an investment banker, what would have been your aspiration
  16. I like the networking and creative aspect of this business. Hence, if any, alternative career offers me similar levels of satisfaction and pride, then I could consider it. I’m happy about my career choice.




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