‘We are down 34pc but I won’t change my strategy’
In 2017 the £950m Jupiter India fund was one of the 10 most bought by customers of Hargreaves Lansdown, the fund shop, following many years of overperformance. But it has lost more than a third of its value in a year, when its benchmark index has fallen by a fraction of that amount. It remains a “wild card” choice on the Telegraph 25 list of our favourite funds.
Mr Vazirani told Telegraph Money why India’s rapid changes mean there is still cause for optimism.
Who is the fund for?
The fund is aimed at anyone who is investing for the long term. We are trying to benefit from the significant positive changes we have been seeing in India for some time.
How does your approach differ during times of trouble?
Our investment philosophy is “growth at a reasonable price”. We are looking to invest in growth companies (with earnings outpacing the economy) but at very reasonable valuations. This absolutely doesn’t change. We don’t change our investment style because of market conditions.
It’s a philosophy I have been using for more than 23 years and, despite the recent performance, if you look on a five- or 10-year basis, or since launch, we have outperformed the benchmarks.
Last week, the Indian government intervened in the oil market, cutting petrol and diesel pump prices. How do you react to something like that?
What the government did was clearly unexpected and, in our view, wrong. What they have done is actually say to the oil companies: “Can you make less money?” The companies have seen their shares fall significantly.
But let’s look at the long-term trajectory for the sector. The minister has already said he is not suggesting going back to the old
CV: Avinash Vazirani
A qualified ed chartered d accountant, nt, Avinash Vazirani joined Jupiter Asset sset Management ment in 2008. He is also oa a trustee of f Pratham, a charity focused on children’s education in India. days of subsidising and controlling prices. Companies are free to adjust to movements in the oil prices.
Share prices fell but, since then, have increased. There are elections coming up and at election times governments do interesting things. The question is, do we say this is a permanent devaluation and sell, or do you look past it and say this is a crowd-pleasing move? I think the full impact is going to be significantly less than the initial reaction.
Jupiter India fund manager Avinash Vazirani tells Sam Meadows why he’s not scared off by poor performance
Why do you remain optimistic about India?
India is going through several significant and profound changes. The government is in the process of implementing what we would call a social security system, underpinned by financial inclusion.
Today, 99.9pc of Indians have a bank account. Four years ago that number was 59pc. Literally hundreds of millions of bank accounts have been opened in the past three years.
Added to that, the government has started rolling out a very detailed health insurance system and the use of mobile data has soared. The average Indian 4G customer uses 11GB of mobile data a month.
All of this means we are seeing m more money going into financial sa savings rather than property; the e economy is becoming formalised. So you have internet penetration in increasing at the same time as financial inclusion at the same time as a social security system. We are e excited because we think this will all lead to an increase in consumption, an increase in savings and opportunities for growth. The