L&T Investment Management

About

Founded in 2010, L&T Investment Management Limited built its mutual fund business in two parts – first by acquiring DBS Cholamandalam Asset Management in 2009 and then by acquiring the Indian operations of Fidelity Investments in 2012 in an aggressive move to boost growth in a highly competitive market. 

The sponsor for the AMC is L&T Finance Holdings Limited (LTFH) which is a listed company and registered with RBI as an NBFC. In December 2021, the asset management business was sold to HSBC Asset Management – see media below.

The AMC had over Rs75,531 crore quarterly average assets under management as of 30 June 2021 (~US$10 Billion) – (assumed – US$ 1 = Rs. 75)

Key staff

  • Kailash Kulkarni, CEO – Kulkarni took control at a time when the Group was in the midst of acquiring Fidelity Investments. He has over 25 years of work experience. Previously, he was the Head of Sales at Kotak Mahindra Asset Management. At MetLife India Insurance, Mr. Kulkarni set up and expanded the agency network. His journey in the BFSI space began with growing the third-party distribution network first for JM Financial and subsequently for ICICI Bank. He has also worked in Eicher Motors in distribution, sales and marketing functions. He was a member of the SEBI Mutual Fund Advisory Committee and was on the board of Association of Mutual Funds of India (AMFI). He had also headed the Financial Literacy Committee for AMFI, in the past. Mr. Kulkarni is a management graduate from the Institute of Management Development and Research.
  • Venugopal Manghat (Head – Equities) – Venugopal Manghat is Head – Equities.  Manghat has an experience of 23 years in equity markets in India. Prior to joining L&T Investment Management, he was Co-head of Equities at Tata Asset Management. He has worked for more than 16 years with Tata Asset Management Limited having joined as a Management Trainee and has worked in various capacities including as dealer for equity & debt, as research analyst for equity & credit, as Head of Research and managing some of the key equity and hybrid schemes for the company. He started his career as a research analyst on the sell side before joining Tata Asset Management. Manghat holds a Bachelor of Mathematics degree and an MBA in Finance.
  • Shriram Ramanathan (Head – Fixed Income). Shriram Ramanathan oversees the management of more than Rs 30,000 cr in assets across various fixed income funds. He has been with the Investment Management business since June 2012 and has over 15 years of experience in fixed income markets. Prior to joining the Investment Management business, he was Portfolio Manager at Fidelity (FIL) Fund Management. In his previous roles, Shriram was managing the Global Emerging Market Debt (Asia) at ING Investment Management Asia Pacific in Hong Kong for about 5 years. His earlier assignments were with Zurich Asset Management Company in fixed income research and with the Treasury department of ICICI Bank, where he started his career in investments in 2000. Ramanathan is a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from XLRI Jamshedpur and an Engineering degree from the University of Mumbai.
  • Sonal Gupta, Head of Equity Research – Sonal was appointed as the Head of Research in July 2021 prior to which he was the director at UBS and worked there for almost 15 years. He started his corporate career with PWC as a consultant. Mr Sonal is a CFA and has a degree in Engineering and an MBA from IIM Bangalore.
  • Ankit Manubhai Patel, Senior Credit Analyst – Patel is responsible for credit analysis and monitoring of the fixed income portfolio at L&T Mutual Fund. With an overall experience of 13 years, Ankit was earlier with ICRA, as vice-president and sector head, corporate ratings. He has a MBA in finance from NMIMS, Mumbai.

Investment Philosophy (for firm)

‘Our emphasis being on delivering superior long-term risk-adjusted performance, we follow a disciplined approach to investment and risk management.

A robust monitoring and risk management process ensures checks and balances at every stage. Here is what happens through every step of our proprietary investment process – GEM.

1. Generation of ideas: Analysts and fund managers actively identify new ideas: For equity investing, the search spectrum includes investment team meetings, meetings with a company’s management, competitors, suppliers, industry experts, regulators, external research and reports. And for fixed income funds, investment ideas are born out of team strategy meetings, in-depth interaction with issuers and market participants, macro analysis and internal and external research ideas.

2. Evaluation of companies: Filters such as liquidity, market capitalisation ownership and other parameters help identify opportunities, which are then thoroughly evaluated for profitability, business attractiveness, competitive positioning, balance sheet strength, management track record, corporate governance and valuations for equities. Thorough credit or issuer analysis and macro analysis underpins the evaluation framework for identifying issuers and instruments for fixed income portfolios.

3. Manufacturing or Monitoring of portfolios: Among all the ideas that are generated and evaluated, the fund manager picks those that have the most potential. Portfolios are monitored continuously to ensure that they are positioned to meet their investment objectives and are within the set risk framework. A fund manager may decide to exit a holding on achieving the price target or for other reasons such as weakened business prospects or credit, or if better investment opportunities wait in the wings.

Media

What HSBC’s acquisition of L&T MF means for investors, Livemint, Friday, 27 Dec 2021

https://www.livemint.com/money/personal-finance/what-hsbc-s-acquisition-of-l-t-mf-means-for-investors-11640546048656.html

HSBC AMC and L&T Finance Holdings recently entered into an agreement that the former will buy the mutual fund unit of the latter and the articles talks about how similar schemes of both the entities would also be merged and why they believe that investors in both the fund houses can wait to see how HSBC decides to manage each fund after the merger.

HSBC’s AMC acquires L&T Mutual Fund business for $425 million, Business Standard, 24 Dec 2021

https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/hsbc-amc-acquires-l-t-mutual-fund-for-around-rs-3-200-crore-121122301329_1.html

HSBC intends to merge the operations of LTIM with those of its existing asset management business in India. JP Morgan and Citi were the financial advisors to L&T Finance Housing. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas acted as the legal advisors and PwC acted as due diligence and tax advisors.

L&T mutual fund strengthens investment management team, Livemint, 12 Aug 2021 

https://www.livemint.com/mutual-fund/mf-news/lt-mutual-fund-strengthens-investment-management-team-11628767913713.html

As part of the strategy to strengthen its investment management team, L&T Mutual Fund has appointed Sonal Gupta as head of research – equity, and Ankit Manubhai Patel as senior credit analyst – fixed income. The article talks about the roles and responsibility they will play as a part of the entity.

Media updated by – Malya Verma, 20 May 2022

Ashish Shanker in conversation with Venugopal Manghat, Know Your 4C Fund Manager, 22nd Nov 2018

He firstly talks about about the market uncertainty which prevailed due to then  forthcoming elections held in 2019. Then Venugopal talks about his key experiences given he has been in the industry for 2 decades. Which were – remaining grounded and humble because can go anyway as expected or vice versa, another being open to the universe of investments can’t just build a box and invest according to the same mandate, third being you can’t fall asleep at the wheel meaning you have to constantly monitor the portfolio and rebalance it according to the requirement, that is the way to be consistent and in making course correction the openness and not sticking to one thinking helps.

Then he talks about their approach to invest – he says we invest into good quality companies when offered at a reasonable price and remaining invested for a longer period of time is the only way to generate alpha, he believes. He talks about there being less dividend yielding companies but still they try generating dividends by investing in those. Then topic moves on to also considering subsidiaries growing at reasonable rate but aren’t covered in valuations.

He also talks about when do they sell stocks, the most important factor – corporate government when this deteriorates, we need to take our feet back. One thing he does for choosing stock is asking himself can i remain invested in this stock for like forever, if the answer is yes, then that stock has potential to be there in the portfolio for much longer period of time.

L&T revives plans to sell MF business; ropes in JP Morgan as advisor, Money control, 31st Jan 2020

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/exclusive-l-ropes-in-jp-morgan-as-advisor-4884921.html

Engineering-to-software conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has decided to put its mutual fund business, housed under listed arm L&T Finance, on the block yet again. The move is part of L&T’s drive for the past few years to monetise its non-core segments and businesses and become a leaner and meaner conglomerate. Investment bank JP Morgan has been mandated to find a buyer and a controlling stake will be made available

Axis, IIFL, ICICI arms are top suitors to buy L&T Mutual Fund, Live Mint, 8th Jan 2020

https://www.livemint.com/mutual-fund/mf-news/axis-iifl-icici-arms-are-top-suitors-to-buy-l-t-mutual-fund-11591637616996.html

Axis Mutual Fund, IIFL Mutual Fund and ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund have emerged as the top three contenders to buy the mutual fund business of L&T Finance Holdings Ltd. Apart from these three asset management companies (AMCs), at least three investment firms have also shown interest in buying a minority stake (10-15%), they being Avendus Capital, Blackstone Group and ChrysCapital. 

Analyst questions

  1. The process based on investment philosophy is given, but what does it follow as its fundamental? What approach do you follow top down, bottom up, value, growth etc?
  2. Being involved in construction, reality, infrastructure, IT businesses, what made you expand into the financial sector? 
  3. Investing in companies having potential, what fundamentals do you look at while measuring potential?
  4. ‘Leaner and meaner’ conglomerate, is this the only reason of monetising the investment management vertical? 
  5. As mentioned by the fund manager (Venugopal Mangat), the first signal to sell a stock is corporate governance deteriorating, but what exactly are the factors you look at under corporate governance?

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