1. Tell us in brief about your professional journey
    In 1996, I started my career with Arthur Andersen in Assurance and Business Advisory in Mumbai and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. While working in a highly charged globally integrated environment with some of the smartest people in the business, I decided on pursuing a global career. As a stepping stone, I took an opportunity to move to Ernst & Young in Dubai and also started applying to the best business schools globally. Whilst I was waiting to hear back from business schools in Europe and US, I was headhunted by Standard Chartered in Dubai to work in corporate banking covering multinational clients. Attracted to living and working in London, I accepted an offer to do my MBA at London Business School, one of the premier business schools in the world. The experience of studying in business school was immensely rewarding personally and professionally for me. While pursuing my MBA, a new team at Henderson Global Investors, a fund management firm (now Janus Henderson with £265 billion under management) asked me to help them with analysis and feasibility of the infrastructure investment market in Europe. The infrastructure investment class was nascent at this stage and I joined the Henderson team to be at the forefront of development of this asset class, which combined elements of private equity, real estate and private equity. From a four member team in 2003 and with no assets under management, we grew to an eight member team with £1 billion assets under management on the back of large investments like John Laing Plc by 2007. In 2008, I was looking to spearhead Henderson’s foray into the Indian infrastructure market and still have vivid memories of jointly bidding for the Bandra Worli Sea Link together with HCC and John Laing. The financial crisis has put a dampener on the team’s ambitions and Henderson decided to run off existing funds in infrastructure private equity. After working for around 7 years in private equity, I collaborated again with Ernst & Young with a global mandate to work on advising clients in infrastructure corporate finance on transactions ranging from a AU$ 5 billion Greenfield airport in Australia to the acquisition of a majority stake in a listed port asset in Greece. I was excited by the opportunity to join IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN)’s European business. This opportunity to join an entrepreneurial business in my core areas of interest i.e. infrastructure and corporate finance was highly attractive, particularly since IFIN can harness the dynamic growth of businesses in India combined with cross border transactions and capital raising in Europe.


  2. How do you see the investment market growing between Europe and India
    India is one of the fastest growing economies and the 4th largest in the world, whereas the European Union (EU) is the world’s largest economy. While India can benefit a lot from technology, innovation and capital available from European firms, what makes India a favourable investment destination for EU is its sizeable and vibrant market with around 1.2 billion population and the growth opportunities that this market brings. The EU has been India’s number one trading partner well ahead of China and USA. Over the years, cross border transactions have been growing as well and currently EU is the largest source of FDI after USA in India. With the constant increase in outbound transactions, our aim is to focus on a few sectors to tap the deal flow in this market.


  3. How has Brexit affected the investment trend in the European markets
    There are still significant uncertainties around Brexit and its impact on businesses has varied depending upon the nature of the business sectors. Key uncertainties include access to the EU market for trade and services, transition arrangements and regulation post Brexit. These uncertainties have slowed down investment as businesses have adopted a wait and watch approach which has resulted in lower economic growth in the UK. On the other hand, currency weakness has spurred exports and also made assets cheaper. Investors who are willing to take a long term view of the UK as the sixth largest economy are still acquiring assets at 20% lower valuations given the weakness in the currency and also continue to invest, hire and acquire.


  4. What is your vision for IFIN London, and how do you plan to grow your business in the European markets
    Currently, there are significant opportunities for transactions available between Europe and India. Given our unique positioning, our idea is to focus on certain key sectors, build strong relationships with businesses and intermediaries to facilitate transactions. On the capital side for both debt and equity, we are also building our distribution capabilities, so that we can raise capital through banks, financial institutions and private equity.


  5. How do you define your leadership style
    I believe in a collaborative leadership style which includes listening, involving and communicating with my team for various aspects of the business. Often on transactions, the team debates the pros and cons of solutions for various issues. The variety of viewpoints and the challenging of views helps me make better decisions. I prefer to articulate and provide a defining vision and strategy that provides a guide to all the team members and helps them in channelising their efforts. As a mentor, my role is to provide my team with professional growth and challenges as well as motivation and support.


  6. What are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader
    As a leader, I personally as well as professionally hold commitment, strong determination, high energy and self-motivation very dearly and like to demonstrate these on a regular basis.


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