My first-ever investment was my worst decision; I almost ended up losing all the money: Nilesh Shah


“My fixed income portfolio is divided in tax free bonds and debt mutual funds,” says Nilesh Shah, MD, Kotak AMC

What was the first-ever investment that you did?
I was doing my articleship in the early ‘90s. There was an adrenaline rush in the stock market in those days and I not only put my savings but also borrowed money to invest into the frenzy of the stock market, hoping that I will become rich overnight. Unfortunately or fortunately for me, that ended in a disaster, I almost ended up losing all the money and had to repay the debt.

In your investment journey so far, what was the best and worst investment decision that you took?
The best decisions I have taken are the investments which I am still holding onto. I had invested in a couple of good companies maybe 25 years back, 20 years back, 15 years back and I am still holding on to them. The rising tide lifted all those boats as long as I was sitting in a boat which did not have a hole worked out very well for me. The worst decision, fortunately for me, remains my first investment where I leveraged and invested into a frenzy and paid a heavy price but gained a valuable experience.

Talking about the current market movement, how has your asset allocation been so far? Have you made any changes recently?
I have been following a not so disciplined asset allocation because of restrictions of my job, but I have diversified myself in equity, real estate, gold and fixed income. I am largely an equity investor but I have exposure in all the asset classes. I am not able to move from one asset class to another as freely as I would have loved because of the restrictions of my job.

What about rebalancing your portfolio? Have you been able to do that recently?
Whenever I have to exercise my Esops, I have to liquidate some portfolio to buy Esops. Other than that, my rebalancing does not happen because of the restrictions of my job.

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A lot of time we advise investors to have a financial portfolio which is lined up, which is linked to their financial goals. What financial goal did you fulfil with your investment portfolio so far?
By the grace of God I have attained financial freedom and it is all because of the investment journey which I have carried out. In my parent’s generation, we were their retirement solution. I will recommend everyone that while your kids will definitely take good care of you, please do not be dependent upon them. Secure financial freedom through disciplined investing.

Looking at the equity markets, a lot of people have moved their investment towards fixed income portfolio. What is your exposure to fixed income? Do you have specific investment products when it comes to fixed income portfolio?
My fixed income portfolio is divided in tax free bonds and debt mutual funds.

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