‘We are down 34pc but I won’t change my strat­egy’

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - INVESTING -

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

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