He claims his thought process is unconventional. "What is attractive to others does not appeal to me," says Sameer Kamdar, CEO of ASK Investment Managers, the portfolio management unit of ASK Group.
Kamdar's family has been in the business of books and periodicals for the past five decades. But he fell for the stock market while in college. In 1995, after finishing his master's in business administration, Kamdar got into equity research, tracking information technology, or IT, a nascent industry then.
In 1998, he moved into investment banking, bringing together IT companies and private equity funds. He was ahead of the time (the IT boom came in 2000), when funding was hard to come by.
In 1999, he joined Mata Securities, which was keen to take mutual funds to corporate investors. "There was nothing but negativity in the first ten meetings," he recalls. But things started moving when Maruti Suzuki and IDBI invested Rs 300 crore through Kamdar.
By 2008, monthly sales were over Rs 20,000 crore and Kamdar was looking for another challenge. ASK came calling: it wanted to set up a mutual fund house, and Kamdar fitted the bill for the position of CEO. Since taking over at ASK Investment Managers, he has doubled the assets under management.
(The regulators are yet to give a licence for the mutual fund.) Apart from spending an hour a day at the gym, Kamdar has taken up pistol shooting, and also loves driving. "Someday I would love to be a rally driver in the Himalayas," he says. Right now, he is busy driving businesses.
37, CEO, ASK Investment Managers
Been there: The poster boy of the mutual funds industry, he brought in institutional investors
Done that: Has doubled assets under management since he took over ASK Investment Managers in 2010
Anecdote: Bagged a rare Sunday appointment with N.R. Narayana Murthy of Infosys to initiate research coverage
Fitness: Gym for an hour, on weekdays