Aloke Kumar Sasmal, director, Money Matters—an outfit that is into financial planning and wealth management--has more than 15 years’ experience in wealth management, banking, asset management and capital markets. A commerce graduate from Calcutta University, he did Executive Programme in Financial Risk & Investment Management (EPFRIM) from the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta and Management in Business Finance (MBF) from the Indian Institute of Finance (IIF).
Before setting out on an entrepreneurial journey, floating Wok-o-Biryani, Parento Informative and Money Matters, Sasmal had successful stints with Indiabulls Asset Management as zonal business head, SMC Global as regional head and ING Bank as area head (north India). He was also part of the core team in setting up many organisations and played a catalyst role in the success of these organisations.
Sasmal thinks India’s macros have swung radically from best-in-class and very comfortable in late 2017 to a state of fundamental weakness with short-term risks—and a lot of bearishness. He feels these swings reflect some fundamental weaknesses (current account deficit), a reasonable level of overvaluation (equities, forex and fixed income) and impacts of global flows and linkages. These will not go away quickly. While India’s macros will be materially influenced by the dollar, US trades, global capital flows and oil, the relative fundamentals are more resilient than what the recent swings suggest.
Sasmal feels the clear direction of the market will be known only after the next general elections, that is, post-May 2019, which will give the clue towards political stability. On the conservative valuation of 16-17 PE multiple, Nifty should see 12,000-plus level by December 2019. On the market front, he thinks that the mutual fund industry is growing steadily and will continue to grow further.
Considering the political uncertainty, Sasmal says till the general elections, he would run a relatively defensive portfolio comprising consumer staples, IT, pharmaceuticals, emerging and innovative large and mid-cap banks and select large-caps. One should also be alert to opportunities that expectations swings might throw up.
The investment strategy for anyone, he says, is to first identify financial goals. Once that is set, an investor should go for the right and most suitable asset class. Investments have to be tagged to long-term and short-term goals while creating a portfolio. Review and, if need be, realign the asset portfolio every six months.
His top picks among large-cap equity mutual fund schemes are:
- ICICI Pru Bluchip Fund
- Reliance Large Cap Fund
- HDFC Top 100 Fund
- Axis Bluechip Fund
- Aditya Birla SL Frontline Equity Fund
- SBI Blue Chip Fund