Guest Lecture by Ms Laxmi Iyer

Envision – The Leadership Club of IIM Bodh Gaya organised a guest lecture on “Fund Management & Global Financial Markets”. It was delivered by Ms. Lakshmi Iyer, Chief Investment Officer (Debt) & Head Products at Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company. Working with the organisation since 1999, she joined KMAMC as a fund manager, and was responsible for credit research as well as deal execution, managing fund performance across all debt funds and assisting sales in client interaction. She has also been a portfolio specialist, and managed product related initiatives, product pricing and coordination with the funds management and sales team in that role.

Personal anecdotes and experiences abound throughout her lecture, making it interactive and relatable. She started the lecture by telling us how technology and ideology has been evolving since the 1990s– from floppies to pen-drives and advent of social media, and how in today’s world information lag in corporate world is highly disregarded. She also narrated anecdotes from her work experience from Credence Analytics, where she specialized in research in bond markets.

She encouraged the students to capitalise on the relative financial illiteracy in India, where investment is one-dimensional – mainly through banks. The importance of social media was underlined throughout here lecture, where she explained how world events are connected and interlinked to the financial markets. Owing to the uncertain and dynamic nature of markets, she also explained how one must be vigilant while trading in equities, and not to be swayed by emotive sentiments of greed, fear, ignorance, and hope, citing the example of Jesse Livermore, who eventually died as a pauper post the Great Depression due to these sentiments.

By quoting Albert Einstein - “Compound Interest is the 8th wonder of the world” – she underlined the vital role of investment and the concept of money multiplication. By doing so, she encouraged all to invest in mutual funds and diversify their portfolios as much as they could, irrespective of the amount, in accordance to their appetite for risk and explained how financial planning should start from childhood, citing mythological examples.

Citing the example of Shri. Uday Kotak, MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank & Chairman of Board of Governors of IIM Bodh Gaya, she underlined the imperativeness of humility and how it is a secret ingredient to success. “Humility helps build a bond of trust with others and a sense of goodwill among people”, she said. She also advised us not to allow attitude to creep into our lives as it gives only temporary rewards and not to become Duryodhana or Shakuni but to become like Rama in the ‘corporate quadrant’.

Explaining about her job, she underlined the importance of managing risk being an imperative part of it. Being outspoken, courageous and not hesitating in making cold calls all help in making the job easier, according to her experience. She also explained how achieving success in financial analysing gets down to how many balance sheets one has read and assessed over his/her lifetime. She explained how, as an employee of an organization, one has to stand for the organization and how these things help you build your own legacy. Encouragement was given to draw inspiration from the story of Venkatesh Iyer, and his company ‘Goli Vada Pav’.

She also described how having the right content, right confidence, constantly challenging oneself and learning to stand out from the crowd always helps. Underlined the importance of social media, she urged all of us to be on LinkedIn and Twitter as the news are related to the market sentiments, and creating corporate connections are imperative.

She signed off by giving her final message of being positive, read books and to include stress busters in our lives, as they are vital in providing relief from an exhausting monotonous work-life.