Treat job like marriage: Lakshmi Iyer of Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Co

Lakshmi Iyer CIO-Fixed Income & Head-Products

When I requested Lakshmi Iyer for an interview, I expected her average turn around time to be couple of weeks. Surprisingly, She shared her experience within a dayo. I asked her how was it possible to take time for us. Her answer was “Money managers are agile”. Meet Lakshmi Iyer, CIO-Fixed Income & Head-Products Kotak Mahindra Asset Management co.

Tell us about yourself and your current role at Kotak Mahindra Asset Management

Currently I wear a dual hat at Kotak AMC, – at the helm of fixed income from the market side and overseeing the products from a business side. The journey with Kotak amc pans across 17 years – and needless to say it has been an extremely exciting one – despite challenges along the way. Apart from money management, the current role requires me to liaise with our channel partners, clients and stakeholders on periodic basis. Being at the helm of the product side, requires to offer solutions to any possible lacuna available in the industry.

Tell us about your education and how you started your career?

I have a commerce graduation and a management background from an education perspective. I started off my career as a research analyst with Credence Analytics pvt ltd. During my stint with Credence is when my interaction with market participants also was initiated. Kotak is my 2nd job, and since there has been no looking back.

Lakshmi Iyer CIO-Fixed Income & Head-Products Kotak Mahindra Asset Management co
Lakshmi Iyer,CIO-Fixed Income & Head-Products, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management co

There are professionals who switch jobs too frequently. How did you benefit by working in one organization for a long period?

I fully subscribe to the saying – A rolling stone gathers no moss ! a job change certainly offers instant gratification – largely in terms of money especially at junior and mid level, and at times even profile change. Most of the job changes at the lateral level have been related pre dominantly to monetary reasons.Being with an organisation brings about the loyalty factor – an intangible in ones profile. Also, if the organisation is a conglomerate, with diversified buniesses, the longer stay makes you a potential candidate for internal job postings as per your liking. Finally, grass always seems greener on the other side.

Therefore, unless one is changing his/her line of function, and/or relocating geographies changing job may be of limited utility.

Would urge each one to treat job like marriage – despite differences of view, one tries to make amends and resolve situation.

Likewise in profession, we need to find ways to make our job and enriching experience.

Share some of the contribution made by your team and yourself to Kotak Mahindra Asset Management

We are currently the 7th largest asset manager in the country today with ~5% of the industry’s asset under management. Fixed income is a significant portion of the AUMs we manage currently. The key to growth has been focus on consistency in performance, with a high focus on risk adjusted returns, over purely delivering returns at any cost. This has helped us steer clear in times of crisis and escape unscathed and emerge stronger.

We have also made a name for us in the ETFs(exchange traded funds ) space at a time when most AMCs continue to focus on active funds. While we too have a higher AUM in the active equity space, given the alpha generating potential Indian markets have, we have launched a suite of ETFs as well, to offer a holistic experience to our investors seeking investment solutions.

We pride ourselves in being a Super market over a Kirana store to ensure we are a 1 stop shop for all financial investment solutions possible in the asset management space.

Tell us about your other interests – Films and food.

While weekdays are inundated with financial stuff, some parts of the weekend are dedicated to explore gastronomical delights. Bollywood films for me are a great way to unwind. Frankly, reviews don’t matter to me, as I form my own! – be it for food or films. That allows for perfect complementing to my finance profession.

Your future plans

Financial services did and will continue to offer exciting opportunities in future as well.

Post demonetisation, the scope for increasing the inclusion for financial products only enhances.

So I do resonate with the song of Mera Naam Joker “..Jeena yahan..marna yahan…”

Good luck Lakshmi. Keep living and breathing Money!


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