The death of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala on Sunday (August 14) morning has left the investor fraternity in shock. Over the decades, Jhunjhunwala has not only been India’s most celebrated investor, but also the foremost proponent of a narrative of successful and enthusiastic investing in the country.
He built the culture of equity investment in India.
In India, where equity investment is a recent phenomenon, and where retail investors have traditionally invested in bank fixed deposits and other small savings schemes, Jhunjhunwala emerged as a shining example of taking risks in equities.
His success encouraged retail investors to invest in the stock markets, which helped build the equity culture in the country. Such a culture is key for a developing economy — for companies to raise funds and invest in manufacturing and services, and crucial for the growth of the economy and the creation of jobs.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala has been the role model for attracting retail investors to invest in equities for wealth creation.
He was the eternal bull on the stock markets.
Widely regarded as an eternal optimist, Jhunjhunwala was known as an investor for the long term. Even in times when the economy was surrounded by negativities, Jhunjhunwala maintained a positive view on the fundamentals of the economy, and propagated it widely. It gave retail investors a shot of positivity and a long-term investment philosophy. With his passing, that narrative will be missed.
He spoke his mind, expressed his views openly.
Jhunjhunwala was known to openly express his views to investors, companies, or the government on a wide range of issues. There aren’t many who do so, and there are even fewer of his stature who do so.
In 2019, Jhunjhunwala made a controversial statement about democracy being the biggest hindrance to India’s growth. He had also said that the bureaucracy in India presented a shortcoming.
He was always bullish on India’s fundamentals: in 2019, he said that even if the NDA does not get a majority, it would not upset the market; they would, however, be troubled if the NDA is not able to form the government. Market participants and investors always looked forward to hearing his views.
He was a man who picked up trends, also created them.
Jhunjhunwala was regarded as the Warren Buffet of India — someone whose portfolio was keenly watched by investors and market participants. Investors looked at the companies that Jhunjhunwala picked up stake in, and they would queue up to do the same.
A recent example was his investment in Tata Motors in 2020 amid the pandemic — one of the first big investors to do so. Since then, the company has been on a revival path, and has seen major growth in sales. Its share has gone up nearly five times, and retail investors have followed Jhunjhunwala’s lead to invest in the stock.