Manthan 2017: Day 2: Guest Lecture 2: “How to analyse an investment idea- A true life example”- Mr.Ravi Sundaram, Senior Development Manager, iNautix Technoogies India Pvt Ltd.

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Mr. Ravi S. started the discussion by quoting “Don’t invest for the sake of making money, but to gain an understanding of the market.” By taking the example of the pharmaceutical sector he is closely associated to, he explained concentrated vs. diversified portfolio. According to him, all guidelines need to be strictly followed while considering each of them.

He went on to explain the process related details while making investments. He mentioned that the duration depends on the nature of the investments. The holding period depends on the nature of stocks you are holding in the firm. Right issue needs to be carefully considered while going through with the decision. He further elaborated the investment decisions by citing an example of the life cycle of the drug which goes through various stages namely pre-clinical, clinical, NDA Review, Post marketing, launch, generic.

He went on to explain the road ahead for the pharmaceutical sector, through which he explained the important considerations like “Am I paying too much?.” Here, we mentioned that more than numbers, judgment and expertise matter while making investments.

While considering investments in a start-up, sustenance with consistency is a takeaway. He also explained few standpoints including government’s involvement in policy making. He said that the government looks at it holistically, not based on individual investor’s interest.

He also explained certain concerns while making investment decisions, few of which include life cycle phase wherein it possibly still be in early investment phase involving high R&D cost. Management’s strategy of in-organic growth, low tax%- take has its subsidiaries in countries where they book R&D expenses and outspoken management i.e. the number of media interactions include some of the other concerns. He ended the discussion by quoting wise quoting as an requisite to good investment decisions.

Manthan 2017: Day 2: Guest Lecture 3: “Credit Rating Perspective”- Mr. Shaik Mohammed Haneef, Deputy Manager Business Development, ICRA.

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Mr. Shaik Mohammed Haneef from ICRA enlightened the students about the various types of credit ratings and how it is evaluated from the point of view of ICRA in his session on ‘Credit Rating Perspective’. He stated that ICRA majorly evaluates and provides credit ratings and non-credit ratings which are used by clients for understanding a corporate’s credit state.

He elaborated and explained on various credit ratings such as SME Rating, bank loans, infrastructure projects, and commercial papers. He also put some light on non-credit ratings such as real estate grading, solar grading, ESCO (Energy Services Company) grading which is used to understand energy efficiency, and vendor rating.

Mr. Haneef further elaborated on the four different sources of risk such as industry risk, business risk, financial risk, and management risk. He later gave a practical understanding of the risks to the students through the ICRA website followed by answering some intuitive questions by the students on the same.

Manthan 2017: Day 2: Guest Lecture 1: “Operational risk” – Mr. Lalit Taneja, Regional Director, Global Association of Risk Professionals.

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The topic being discussed in the guest lecture was operational risk. Mr. Taneja explained to the students the concept of operational risk using Basel Committee’s existing definition. It is basically the loss that is incurred due to failed internal processes, people, and systems or from external events. He also explained that individual banks can adopt their own definitions of operational risk if the minimum elements in the Committee’s definition are included. A key takeaway from the discussion was that operational risk is inevitable and cannot be zero.

Mr. Taneja briefly spoke about internal & external fraud, employee & workplace safety, clients, products and business practices, and process management. He emphasized the importance of operational risk indicators. These indicators are vital in identifying potential losses and tend to be specific to organizations.  They refer to lagging/ex-post measures and information on events that have already taken place (examples include failed trades, settlement errors). It is up to the risk managers to transform lagging into leading indicators. This process can be carried out by changing the focus of the indicators or even by adding new information. Thus, the focus of these indicators could be changed to highlight issues that are still outstanding or remain open after a specified period of time. The transformation of these processes is difficult to implement in reality. He went on to explain three types of risks namely:

  1. Legal risk – It is included in operational risk. It refers to the risk of disruption to operations due to unenforceable contracts, lawsuits, adverse judgments and legal proceedings.
  2. Reputation risk – Although this type of risk isn’t usually considered, reputation risk is very critical to a business. It refers to negative public opinion. A fall in a company’s reputation can result in liquidity difficulties and falling share prices.
  3. Business or strategy risk – It arises from an adverse shift in the assumptions, goals and other features that underpin a strategy.

The next part of the lecture was about the latest trends and approaches. Mr. Taneja spoke of the relevance of frameworks, advanced analytics, strategic planning, stakeholder feedback, advanced management approach and the need to forecast “black swan” events. Post the discussion, Mr. Taneja answered questions which were along the lines of operational risk, risk management, and its applicability. He was able to explain the concept exceedingly well because he was able to relate it to real life examples in corporate organizations and financial institutions.