Business Today

The intuitive optimist

Rajiv Bhuva        Print Edition: May 15, 2011

In June 2009, there was turmoil in the mutual fund industry when the Securities and Exchange Board of India said investors would not have to pay any entry load with effect from August 1. Distributors lost their incentive to market mutual funds and investors were clueless about which fund to buy.

Sundeep Sikka, as CEO of Reliance Capital Asset Management, which runs Reliance Mutual Fund, did not panic like the rest of the herd. "I saw it as an opportunity," he says. He set up a learning academy called Edge, which has since educated over 100,000 investors in 300 locations across India. An avid team player and firm believer in relationship building, Sikka goes by his heart more than his mind. "The intuitive feeling has rarely let me go wrong," he says.

Sikka is a hardcore foodie, like any selfrespecting Punjabi, and tries out new restaurants within 15 days of their opening. He does not shun roadside food either. This streak helps in his professional life. "I am not afraid to take risks when I have the conviction," he says.

And that's true, because Reliance Mutual Fund has seen its profit grow by three times over the past three years, when the industry growth was flat. For Sikka moving ahead is not a matter of speed but of heading in the right direction. Heading the No. 1 company by share of assets under management, Sikka is not chasing market share.

"Being the largest is about creating a market," says Sikka.

Sundeep Sikka,
37, CEO, Reliance
Capital Asset Management
Been there: Led by Sikka, Reliance Mutual controls 14 per cent of the industry assets under management
Done that: Kept Reliance Mutual Fund profitable despite the sweeping changes in the sector
A-ha moment: In 2006, when Reliance overtook UTI Mutual Fund to become India's largest
Fitness: Day begins with an hour at the gym

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