‘I try not to let emotions overpower my decisions’

By Morningstar |  07-03-19 | 

Managing money became a passion for Anju Chhajer, Senior Fund Manager, Reliance Mutual Fund, after she attended a training programme on investments. Since then, there has been no looking back. Today, she manages Rs 60,293 crore across six schemes. Anju chats with Morningstar’s Ravi Samalad about her journey in the mutual fund industry.  

Did you always want to manage money?  What inspired you to pursue a career in investment management?

As a young girl, I wanted to have a career in finance. I chose to become a chartered accountant. After becoming a chartered accountant, I got an opportunity to join National Insurance Company. In the beginning of my career, we were given an opportunity to go for special training programme which focused on investments. This is when managing money became my passion. Since then there has been no looking back. I love and enjoy my work of portfolio management.

How has your role evolved over the years?

I started as a student of the market, learned from experience and support of the team. Have since graduated from managing one category to multiple category of debt funds. I have grown from being an executor to decision maker, and now a new-found role of mentor of my colleagues to guide and train them about the nuances of portfolio management. At Reliance Mutual Fund, I have spearheaded technology initiatives to significantly improve efficiency in the fund management processes.

What were your notable investment mistakes and what did you learn from them?

One mistake which most of us make is we always tend to become more bullish in a bull market and too bearish in a bear market. Now I try to be a more balanced portfolio manager and not let emotions overpower my decisions.

What is the most exciting part of your job?

Constant learning and relearning, confidence to handle challenges in ever-evolving environment by improving one’s agility in taking decisions. It is very exciting to see the schemes outperform markets.

How are you recalibrating your portfolio to protect investors from the ongoing stress in debt markets?

Every scheme follows specific mandate in terms of duration and credit profile. The mandate does not change fundamentally with change in market environment, as market goes through both rate and credit cycles every 2-3 years. Having said this, the funds will be recalibrated according to the given environment to balance the risks. The role of the fund manager is a fiduciary role of managing investor money, so we will always be cautious. To take an example, the Non-Banking Financial Companies, or NBFC, and housing finance companies, or HFCs, are facing refinancing risks. We would reduce overall exposure to these companies or lend to them where the refinancing risk is less.

What would be your advice to women who aspire to become fund managers?

Choice of one’s profession should not dependent on the gender. It is about aptitude and skills. If you gather the right skill and have analytical thought process and are ready to take decisions and stand by it, you can be a fund manager. So, go ahead and dream, and have the passion and love for the job and you will do it, whoever you are.

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