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Faced with an overwhelming response to their 5th annual general meeting, PPFAS Mutual Fund was forced to cancel the registrations for their Mumbai and Bengaluru events. ET .com Mutual Funds spoke to Neil Parag Parikh, Chairman and CEO, PPFAS Mutual Fund, to find out his plans for the AGM, and his views on the current market.
PPFAS Mutual Funds' AGM is such a hit with investors. You have stopped registrations in Mumbai and Bengaluru. How do you view this?
Over the years, as we have grown, the attendance at our AGMs have increased steadily. However, the number of unitholders and partners increased much faster than usual over the past couple of months. We were quite hesitant initially to stop the registration but chose to bite the bullet, keeping in mind the comfort and security of those attending.
In one sense we are elated to see the PPFAS Mutual Fund family is growing so rapidly. However, this has also made us cognizant of how we need to plan-for-scale, the next time around.
What is the idea behind holding AGM? Is it inspired by Berkshire Hathway's annual event which Mr Parag Parikh used to attend?
Yes, you can say that Mr Parag Parikh was a regular attendee. While we did have a similar format at the back of our mind, a more pertinent reason was to provide an open platform to all our unitholders and partners. The profession of money management largely revolves around trust. We felt that this trust could be bolstered if we put ourselves up for scrutiny every year. These meetings give an opportunity to both, us and them, to interact freely and get to know each other better.
What are the insights you have gained from your previous AGMs?
We feel that over the years we have become more unflappable in handling unexpected queries. We may have never gained this confidence if we had not held these AGMs. We were pleasantly surprised by the depth of research undertaken by some of our unitholders and partners. The so-called 'small investor' may be small in terms of her holding, but not in terms of depth of knowledge and understanding.
It also instilled confidence in our partners when they attended our AGMs and gave us the strength to continue on our path.
The AGM is happening at a volatile phase in the market. What would be your advice to your investors?
Our investment choices are not dictated by glamourous factors such as momentum, technical analysis, algorithms etc. So, AGM timing doesn't really matter. My advice: investors should stick to their asset allocation plans formed according to their needs and risk appetite.
Most equity funds are giving negative returns in the short-term, including Parag Parikh Long Term Equity Fund . What is your outlook for equity?
Poor past returns mean that valuations are more favourable than last year. Our approach is bottom up rather than taking a market-wide call. The overall market valuations are a bit stretched especially in the small and mid-cap space. We continue to look at individual investments on their own merits and will not hesitate to invest in an opportunity looks attractive.
View expressed here are personal.
Disclaimer: Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully..