In a first ever for the Mutual Fund industry, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation from PPFAS Mutual Fund to attend an AGM for Unit holders and attended the first one at Chennai earlier today.
In a world where gathering of AUM is the norm with hardly anyone making themselves accountable to investors, it is refreshing to see a Mutual Fund look upon investors as true owners of the fund and stating clearly that they look upon themselves as trustees. Rare to see an AMC offering themselves to scrutiny, taking questions from the “owner – unit holders” and frankly sharing their views and philosophy.
With a clearly stated goal to align the interest of the unit holders and managers and as trustees of unitholder money the PPFAS team put themselves up for scrutiny here at Chennai.
Mr. Parag Parikh, the CEO and Director and Mr. Rajeev Thakkar, the Chief Investment Officer themselves were present. Will not write details of their presentations and you must attend if you have the opportunity. However, one point that struck me and is a value I hold very dear was mentioned by Mr. Parikh when he was outlining the philosophy of the AMC. He mentioned clearly that there were two sets of laws governing mankind - Universal Laws made by God and man-made laws and policies. The former is a constant and can't be changed and PPFAS Mutual Fund endeavors to be aligned to the Universal Law of Truth; this would mean that their thinking and actions are aligned to the interest of the investor completely without deviation. This value explains the frank open nature of the discussion which followed later.
Man-made laws, rules and policies can be manipulated and examples are - devising fancy new types of series of schemes, declaring dividends to entice investors, all of which may look good, but actually harm investors' interest.
Mr. Thakkar gave a great presentation outlining the investment philosophy, and how they arrived at their investments. Was a great learning for all present.
The best (and longest) session was the Q and A session and the audience questioned the AMC on almost all of the scrips in the portfolio. Mr. Thakkar answered in very great detail and the Q and A itself was a great learning. What really impressed was their openness and accountability to the true owners of their fund - the unit holders.
Truly, I do not think many AMCs can have such a meet; for how can anyone answer detailed questions on 136 odd schemes?? Or can anyone explain truthfully why there are multiple schemes investing in the same theme?
The Management of this AMC does evoke trust in unitholders.
The original article could be seen here.