Hemendra Kothari
India
Hemendra Kothari
  • Chairman, DSP BlackRock Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd. (Financial Services)
Born August 25, 1946 in Mumbai, India. Bachelor of Commerce, Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, University of Mumbai (1967)
“In a successful partnership… the basic principles of working in unanimity and on a consensus basis was [were critical], such that everybody understands what’s best for the company.”

Summary

In this interview, Hemendra Kothari, chairman of DSP Investment Managers, narrates both his own impressive career and the 150 year history of his family’s business in finance and investment management.

He begins by describing the early years of the family business, when his great-grandfather became one of the founders of the Bombay Stock Exchange in 1875. During this period, the business grew in part through its relationships and partnerships with British companies, and the group earned a reputation as reliable, trustworthy traders.

By the time Kothari was poised to enter the business, however, the situation had grown difficult. “At that time, there were no youngsters coming to the stock market, and there were not many transactions taking place. There was not much future,” he recalls in the interview. As a result, Kothari’s father pushed him to go in another direction, and he ended up working for several years at the Morarjee Mills. After several years in the textiles industry, however, Kothari grew restless, and again approached his father about joining the family business.

Immediately, Kothari felt at home in the family business. Clients recognized and respected his clear enthusiasm for the profession, and thus—even despite joining during very challenging conditions in which banks and many insurance companies were nationalized—he started getting business from many institutions. His success he attributes to picking up on trends and recognizing opportunities before competitors. In the interview, he discusses many of these “firsts”—how and why he pursued them, and how they impacted the growth of his business.

Kothari goes on to discuss the partnership between DSP and Merrill Lynch/BlackRock, which began in the mid 1980s. In the interview, he explains the advantages of the partnership on both sides, and also discusses how he used the partnership as an opportunity to broaden the experience of DSP employees—sending them abroad for training so that they could become exposed to other work cultures, styles, and practices. Kothari also explains his philosophy when it comes to managing partnership relations and fostering mutual trust.

Concluding the interview, Kothari reflects on some of the recent changes that have taken place both within DSP—the end of the partnership with BlackRock—and within the Indian financial services industry more broadly. He discusses how he has seen investor behavior change over time, how the group has responded to new trends and developed investor education programs, and even how the management of the group has evolved over time from a completely family run business to relying professional management for day-to-day affairs.

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In this interview, Hemendra Kothari, chairman of DSP Investment Managers, narrates both his own impressive career and the 150 year history of his family’s business in finance and investment management.

He begins by describing the early years of the family business, when his great-grandfather became one of the founders of the Bombay Stock Exchange in 1875. During this period, the business grew in part through its relationships and partnerships with British companies, and the group earned a reputation as reliable, trustworthy traders.

By the time Kothari was poised to enter the business, however, the situation had grown difficult. “At that time, there were no youngsters coming to the stock market, and there were not many transactions taking place. There was not much future,” he recalls in the interview. As a result, Kothari’s father pushed him to go in another direction, and he ended up working for several years at the Morarjee Mills. After several years in the textiles industry, however, Kothari grew restless, and again approached his father about joining the family business.

Immediately, Kothari felt at home in the family business. Clients recognized and respected his clear enthusiasm for the profession, and thus—even despite joining during very challenging conditions in which banks and many insurance companies were nationalized—he started getting business from many institutions. His success he attributes to picking up on trends and recognizing opportunities before competitors. In the interview, he discusses many of these “firsts”—how and why he pursued them, and how they impacted the growth of his business.

Kothari goes on to discuss the partnership between DSP and Merrill Lynch/BlackRock, which began in the mid 1980s. In the interview, he explains the advantages of the partnership on both sides, and also discusses how he used the partnership as an opportunity to broaden the experience of DSP employees—sending them abroad for training so that they could become exposed to other work cultures, styles, and practices. Kothari also explains his philosophy when it comes to managing partnership relations and fostering mutual trust.

Concluding the interview, Kothari reflects on some of the recent changes that have taken place both within DSP—the end of the partnership with BlackRock—and within the Indian financial services industry more broadly. He discusses how he has seen investor behavior change over time, how the group has responded to new trends and developed investor education programs, and even how the management of the group has evolved over time from a completely family run business to relying professional management for day-to-day affairs.

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Interview Citation Format

Interview with Hemendra Kothari, interviewed by V. G. Narayanan, August 1, 2018, Mumbai, India, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, https://www.hbs.edu/creating-emerging-markets/Pages/default.aspx.