Bhavin Shah: The Legendary Wealth Manager of Sameeksha Capital for Your Financial Well-being

Bhavin Shah
Bhavin Shah

In the bustling market of investment management companies, Bhavin Shah’s Sameeksha Capital Private Limited stands out as a beacon of consistent performance and innovative thinking. Instead of traditional portfolios and tired strategies – Sameeksha Capital is carving its path, making it one of the best investment management companies to watch out for in 2024.

In an exclusive interview with CIOLook Indiathe Foundershared their tale of transformational success.

What sets Sameeksha Capital apart?

Alpha that Delivers: While others talk a big game, Sameeksha walks the walk. Our multi-cap equity strategy has consistently outpaced peers and benchmarks, delivering strong absolute and risk-adjusted returns for our investors. This isn’t just luck; it’s a testament to our data-driven approach, rigorous research, and fundamental analysis.

Beyond the Numbers: Sameeksha understands that investing is more than chasing returns. We firmly believe in aligning their interests with clients, with me, as the founder, personally investing a significant portion of my savings in the same schemes offered to clients. This commitment to shared risk and reward fosters trust and transparency, a rare commodity in the financial world.

Innovation in Every Thread: Sameeksha isn’t content with resting on its laurels. We are constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional investment practices. From our focus on ethical and sustainable investing to our exploration of cutting-edge AI and machine learning, we are at the forefront of shaping the future of investment management.

A Client-Centric Symphony: Forget being treated like just another number. At Sameeksha, client relationships are personal and tailored. We take the time to understand your unique needs and risk tolerance, crafting bespoke portfolios that fit your financial goals like a glove. This dedication to individualized service makes us stand out in a crowded field.

We’re not just an investment management company but a community of passionate investors driven by a shared ambition for excellence. We offer a refreshing blend of proven success, innovative thinking, and deep commitment to our clients, making us one of the most exciting names to watch in investment management.

As a trailblazer in the investment management industry, could you take us back to the beginning of your journey? What motivated you to step into this dynamic field?

Though my journey in the investment management industry started in 2016, the seeds of this journey were sown when I decided to give up a lucrative career as a designer of the world’s most advanced microprocessor and pursue an MBA at the top-ranked University of Chicago. In my application for admission to business school, I had written that the purpose of pursuing an MBA was to work as a fund manager in India eventually. It took twenty years of journey through a career in Asian and Global technology equity research and then building an Indian Equity business from scratch to reach my ultimate destination. I started Sameeksha because that is what I always wanted to do – manage money and manage my own savings in a professional setting. Earning more money was secondary, but doing something I had always dreamed of doing was a much bigger motivation. One of the reasons for taking up the challenge of building an investment management business from scratch was that I could see myself running this not for many years but for many decades. I felt I could continue doing this work as long as I was physically and mentally capable. After all, some legendary fund managers in our field have worked until their last.

Whether working as an engineer or a sell-side equity research professional, I always sought to deliver to the best of my abilities, which I aspired to refine. As an Asian technology analyst, I was able to help open doors with clients for Credit Suisse, then a new entrant in Asian equities, and anchor the firm’s rise to the top in rankings in Asia. As head of global tech research for JP Morgan, I played a pivotal role in the buildout of their global tech research franchise, which also achieved top rankings. Back home, I started Equirus securities from scratch and, despite severe funding constraints, helped the firm outdo top established names such as ENam in selling the IPO of TD Power and later leaving it as a thriving, profitable business. Finally, Sameeksha has also earned a reputation for consistently delivering top performance.

Sameeksha Capital has emerged as one of India’s best investment management companies. Could you share the guiding philosophy that has propelled your organization’s success?

Upfront Investment in People, processes and technology, focus on learning, a value system that emphasizes the pursuit of excellence and maintaining the highest levels of integrity in dealing with clients are some of the key guiding principles on which Sameeksha is built. Our approach is characterized by a rigorous qualitative and quantitative analysis of companies before they become part of our portfolio. We have developed a clear buy-and-sell discipline backed by sound logic, and we make sure we adhere to that framework. We maintain a vigilant oversight of all company and industry developments. Additionally, we communicate regularly with the management, conducting comprehensive calls to assess whether their progress aligns with their commentary.

One of the key pillars of our success lies in our in-house software, a valuable asset that serves research and operational functions. This proprietary tool empowers our team, enabling them to deliver peak performance. By integrating cutting-edge technology into our operations, we enhance our analytical capabilities and ensure that our decision-making is well-informed and efficient. This dual commitment to thorough analysis and technological innovation positions Sameeksha as a dynamic and successful player in the investment landscape.

The investment management landscape is continually evolving. How do you ensure that Sameeksha Capital remains adaptable and ahead of industry trends, providing innovative solutions to your clients?

While the investment management landscape may evolve, core investing principles have not changed. We are one of the rare companies in our industry with in-house software development capabilities. We use this capability to evolve our capabilities with time. We also have in-house software to manage our operations, and we can add the required capabilities to provide innovative solutions.

We started in 2016 and have been a cloud-based company since inception, even when the concept of the cloud was still not widely understood or accepted. Today, we explore ways to adobe the latest technologies relevant to our business and stay current.

Your leadership style is often recognized as a driving force behind Sameeksha Capital’s achievements. Could you shed light on your approach to leadership and team building within the organization?

The leadership approach is to hire people who we think could excel in our type of business. We can train raw talent and convert them into efficient producers. As such, we hire fresh talent and give them the necessary tools and training to excel in their work. We take a hands-off approach, not doing any micromanagement but asking people to focus on working efficiently. We constantly seek ideas that would help them do their work more efficiently. We work to identify ways to measure performance objectively. We encourage employees to follow a healthy lifestyle and even organize fitness sessions.

The essence of investment management lies in seamless operations and enhancing the business ecosystem and industrial efficiency. How does Sameeksha Capital strike a balance between operational proficiency and client expectations?

Technology is a key enabler to strike a balance between these two aspects. We provide sufficient information to our clients – quantity, quality, and duration of use of technology.

In the realm of investment management, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency. How does Sameeksha Capital leverage technology to optimize its services and stay ahead in a digital age?

Our team is equipped with advanced tools and software developed in-house, allowing for precise and data-driven decision-making. We have automated numerous processes to enhance efficiency, such as historical financial data input, insider trading data tracking, fetching daily corporate announcements, etc.

Moreover, our use of technology extends to various models, including earnings, discounted cash flow (DCF), structure notes for analysts, and detailed company reports. We take pride in being among the few funds that have invested significantly in in-house tech infrastructure.

With technological advancements, we have streamlined workflows and automated routine tasks, enabling our team to focus on strategic aspects of investment management. Our commitment to embracing digital tools for communication with our investors further reinforces our agility and responsiveness in the rapidly changing financial landscape.

The workforce is the cornerstone of any successful organization. How does Sameeksha Capital foster a culture of growth, skill development, and empowerment among its employees?

We invest in our people, considering them as the backbone of our company. Unlike traditional approaches, we actively encourage and incorporate new ideas presented by our employees, whether they pertain to operational processes or research initiatives. This inclusive approach not only values the contributions of our team members but also promotes a dynamic and innovative work environment.

In a departure from the norm within the asset management industry, we take a unique approach to employee empowerment. We provide our staff with firsthand experiences typically reserved for senior employees in other asset management companies. This exposure empowers our team by providing insights into business dynamics and fostering a deeper understanding of market intricacies.

By taking these unconventional steps, we aim to empower our employees, ensuring their voices are heard and their contributions are recognized. This approach cultivates a culture of continuous learning and skill development and reinforces a sense of ownership and empowerment among our workforce.

As a leader in India’s investment management sector, your company has likely faced its share of challenges. Could you share an instance where your team’s resilience and ingenuity triumphed over adversity?

As a leader in India’s investment management sector, our team at Sameeksha has encountered challenges that tested our resilience and ingenuity. One noteworthy instance that highlights our ability to triumph over adversity occurred during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the pandemic hit, financial markets experienced unprecedented volatility, posing significant challenges for investment firms globally. Our team faced the dual challenge of navigating market uncertainties while safeguarding the interests of our investors.

Our team recognized the potential impact on market conditions, so we proactively assessed our portfolio and made swift decisions to reduce our overall exposure. This involved strategically liquidating certain positions and sitting on cash till we found the right time to enter the market. We worked extra hard during these trying times to minimise the impact on our portfolio.

Despite the challenging circumstances, our team’s resilience shone through. We successfully steered our portfolio through the turbulent period by maintaining a disciplined investment approach, leveraging technology for informed decision-making, and fostering a collaborative team culture. While cloud technology became popular due to the advent of COVID-19, we were a cloud-based company already, which also played to our advantage.

Your experience in the investment management niche has made you a stalwart amongst your peers. What is your advice to budding entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into the niche?

Focus on honing your skills, getting a good education, and getting solid work experience to be well-equipped to venture.

Looking to the future, what is your vision for Sameeksha Capital? How do you aspire to continue making a significant impact on India’s investment management landscape?

Our investment approach focuses on achieving superior long-term capital appreciation while managing risk effectively. Performance is the most important thing for us, and we will strive to deliver performance first and everything else second. As such, we do not want to chase assets but rather grow in a manageable manner. Most of our growth has come from performance; over 70% of assets under management have tenure of over seven years. We do not have any specific targets for asset size. Our only target is to deliver superior performance for our clients. As such, our impact on India’s Investment management landscape may be limited, but we are fine with that.

So, if you’re looking for an investment partner who goes beyond the usual and can help you navigate the market with confidence and a smile, then keep your eyes on Sameeksha Capital Private Limited, We might be the missing piece in your financial puzzle.