Head - Insurance and Investments
Aarati is a leading voice in the Indian financial services space. She has been tracking and writing about the entire gamut of financial products and regulations for over 25 years now. Aarati was among a select few analysts in the country, tracking and analysing mutual funds, way back in 1994. She was also among the few to voice concerns over US-64 before its collapse. She is currently Editorial Consultant for the Hindu Business Line and was earlier a consulting editor for Value Research Online. For her pioneering work in writing on financial services and the economy, she was awarded the Shriram Sanlam award for excellence in Financial Journalism thrice.
Aarati brings with her a detailed understanding of the world of personal finance from the perspectives of the industry, regulators, government, and, most importantly, the investor. She has always been a strong voice speaking out on behalf of the retail investor and saver and a passionate advocate for greater transparency and customer-friendly innovations from financial product manufacturers. Aarati will lead the insurance and investment products verticals at PrimeInvestor as a consultant.
Aarati is a cost accountant and management graduate.
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Aarati's recent articles
The list of top performing equity funds for the past year features a couple of unusual entries. With a return of 18-21 per cent, CPSE ETF (managed by Nippon India Mutual Fund for the government of India) and the Bharat 22 ETF (managed by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund) are top rankers among equity funds.
This has many investors asking if they should add these passive funds to their portfolio. The portfolios of CPSE and Bharat 22 ETFs are made up of the PSU oil, energy and financial giants which are the flavour of the season. These ETFs’ costs are ultra-low because they are used as divestment vehicles. Both ETFs would also seem to be ‘value buys’ if you go by their ultra-cheap valuations. The CPSE ETF trades at a portfolio PE of 7 times and Bharat 22 ETF at about 11 times. This is a fraction of the current Nifty50 PE at over 21 times.
But does this make them worth betting on? There are five good reasons for long-term stock investors to steer clear of these ETFs.
After bungee jumping off a cliff, it is good to wait for the adrenaline rush to wear off. Indian bond markets are in exactly this situation now. After falling sharply as rates rose, bond prices are pausing to take a breath. In our debt outlook last year we expected rates to continue their upward climb and recommended strategies to play this. During the course of 2023, we think interest rates could top out and stabilise. We tell you what this will mean for your debt portfolio.
“Why are the so-called expert investors in India so disinterested in ESG funds?”. A young investor asked me this question at a recent event and it gave me food for thought. It is true that at PrimeInvestor, we are not fans of ESG investing either. We don’t go out of our way to cover ESG funds or ‘green’ bonds and deposits, unless they offer great returns.
At PrimeInvestor, we took an ultra-conservative approach to debt investments during Covid and just after it. But with economic recovery taking root, interest rates rising and credit offtake improving, we believe investors can shoot for higher yields by taking on some credit risk. Perpetual bonds from banks with sound financials are one option, offering good reward for risks taken. We are covering one such bond here.
Ask any new CFA pass-out what drives stock returns in the long run and he’ll likely tell you that is earnings, of course! Equity analysts spend many man (and woman) hours on excel sheets, trying to model the future earnings of companies, to identify stocks to bet on.
But if you look at the journey of multi-bagger stocks over any time period, you’ll find that there’s an X factor apart from earnings that drives multi-bagger returns.
It is the fashion for personal finance gurus and social media influencers to begin their talks by dissing FDs. FDs are dumb investments, they say, before urging you to migrate to equities, or exotic things like options trading or covered bonds.
But the humble fixed deposit can serve a very useful purpose in your portfolio by acting as a source of ready liquidity and acting as a bedrock for your safe money. That’s why we have Prime Deposits, our list of FD recommendations. It is quite possible to generate positive real returns on your FDs through an active strategy. But can an active strategy really go with FDs? Of course! Here’s how you can do it.