Mr. Harsha Upadhyaya

Chief Investment Officer – Equity

Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company Limited

Harsha Upadhyaya heads the equity desk at KMAMC, and also directly manages funds such as Kotak Standard Multicap Fund, Kotak Equity Opportunities Fund and Kotak Tax Saver. Harsha has over two decades of experience spread across equity research and fund management. He has previously worked with DSP BlackRock, UTI Asset Management, Reliance Group and SG Asia Securities. Harsha completed his Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) from National Institute of Technology, Suratkal and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Finance) from Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow. He also holds Chartered Financial Analyst charter from the CFA Institute, US. Harsha follows various sports, and was a hockey player while at the university.

Q: We have seen one of the sharpest meltdowns in the equity markets. What would you like to the investors sitting on huge corrections?

Answer: This is undoubtedly unprecedented and uncharted phase for the equity markets, locally as well as globally. This is not the time to panic. Long term investors have witnessed such deep corrections in equities every now and then, and history has also shown that once the dust settles, there is subsequently equally strong equity performance as well.

Q: There is a lot of uncertainly on the streets. However, there are also those who see this as an opportunity for investment. What should be the investment strategy for new money in these markets?

Answer: The current valuations have corrected significantly from a month-old levels given near term uncertainty. These are very good entry level valuations for long term investors. However, the volatility is likely to continue until a medical cure is found for Covid-19 or the rate of spread of new infections start to diminish. Therefore, it is advisable to invest in staggered manner over next few months, with an eye on wealth creation over subsequent 3- 5 years.

Q: Many investors have live SIPs and are worried. Should they continue their SIPs and perhaps even increase the SIPs? What would you advise?

Answer: SIPs are designed to take advantage of volatile periods in markets by disciplining investors to invest across market phases - whether up or down. It is understandable that when even long term SIP investors look at their portfolio today, it may show quite poor returns overall. That is because of the sharp fall seen in March 2020. However, if one were to look at long term SIP returns when market was healthy, say in January 2020, they were quite substantial. The low phases in markets are actually good times to accumulate MF units at lower valuations. We advise SIP investors to not panic and continue with their investments even in this phase. Those who have financial difficulty in making further investments in the current scenario may opt for ‘pause’ in SIP investments and return to markets once their financial situation normalises.

Q: Recovery of economic activities and normal life seems uncertain for a few months now. What are your views on how long will recovery take? Will it be a sharp or gradual rising curve?

Answer: The situation is fluid and still evolving. It is too early to predict the timing or the extent of recovery. Let me conclude by saying it is always darkest before dawn and hence one should not despair but hope.

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