This last year has been tumultuous and an economic roller coaster for
all sectors. For the financial sector the volatility and business
implications were higher.
The aspirational strategic map that I drew out for you in my note last
year is still as valid as ever. The last year has been one of putting
some of the execution pieces in place.
The first and most important has been the addition of talent. The
management team, under the able leadership of Munish Dayal, Chairman of
the Management Committee, was further strengthened with the addition of
Sanjeev Kumar G (ex Bajaj Capital) as Operations and Technology Head
and Ranjith Kumar (ex ICICI Prudential) as Insurance Sales Head. Your
Company made a debut at hiring from premier management institutes this
year, adding eight bright MBAs from the Indian Institute of Management
(IIM) and Faculty of Management Studies (FMS, Delhi). They will help
implement key strategic initiatives in the Company - Ankita Joshi to
further build the insurance business, Bitihotra to introduce new
products in equities, Gaurav Mahajan to grow commodities trading, Prini
Prem to build gold loans, Vivek Verma to scale the internet business,
Zuhaib Khan in retail loans, Sudheer Reddy in customer service and data
analytics and Ajay Banwari to transform Operations and Technology.
The original promoters and significant shareholders have evolved into
guiding the organisation via the board.
The focus of the management committee has been and continues to be to
acquire key talent, direct it against opportunity, incentivise it,
empower it and manage risk.
Managing risk in an environment where the equity markets dropped
two-thirds of its value was essential. Your team focused on
implementing systems to do this and sharply controlled and tightened
exposures in every way possible. I am glad to share that we now have
risk management systems in the Company, which would compare with
best-in-class. Sriram and our risk team have to be complimented on our
virtually zero bad debts generated in the year.
We have made substantial progress on our accounts and financial
controls and now feel comfortable that our existing systems are
adequate to ensure accurate representation to all of you on the state
of affairs in the Company.
Although we expect the operating environment to remain volatile our
country will march on in real terms, faster than most parts of the
world. We plan to continue building our business, keeping a relentless
focus on cost leadership and building customer franchises. Last year,
the management had to relentlessly focus on costs, portfolio
rationalisation while trying to build targeted segments.
Our focus on creating the suite of products to cater to the needs of
the regular investor and saver are progressing, as is our strategy of
delivering service on the internet. We will stick to the philosophy of
investing for the long term at the cost of short term philosophy.
Despite continued efforts, the Company could not make any progress in
developing the cross border opportunity in the gulf and there is
nothing concrete on the anvil.
We did explore several inorganic opportunities during the year but did
not get encouraged by the huge baggage of bad debts and/or branch cost
My comments on the futility of impeding the efficiency of market
clearing by banning futures articulated last year hold true even now.
Markets go up and down because of changes in anticipated demand and
supply and only efficient transparent futures markets will encourage
efficient supply responses and reduce long term market imbalances.
I do urge our leaders to kindly review their thinking on this subject.
The prospects of a stable government committed to reform encourage me
to look at the future with a conscious sense of optimism. A big thank
you is due to the tireless efforts of the entire team and to the
loyalty of the customers we serve.