rakesh jhunjhunwala: Who will succeed Rakesh Jhunjhunwala as the next Big Bull? Well, the hunt is on


NEW DELHI: If somebody had asked Rakesh Jhunjhunwala ‘sir market ka kya lagta hai’, (How does the market seem), his typical response would have been – ‘the mother of all bull markets is coming’.

The epitome of the eternal bull on Dalal Street has left the throne of ‘Big Bull’ empty with hardly any contenders around.

“There is a huge gap between Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and any bull after him. No one comes close,” admits star investor Vijay Kedia, who himself made a fortune in the stock market after shifting to Mumbai from Kolkata empty-handed.

For Delhi-based HNI investor Safir Anand, Harshad Mehta was the start of the ‘Big Bull’ era that ended with the passing away of Jhunjhunwala on Sunday morning.

“The next biggest bull is in place – it will be retail. I don’t see anyone in between,” Anand tweeted.

Most market participants agree that hardly anyone comes close to Jhunjhunwala’s stature.

“Very few people, practically no one, can speak their mind without hesitation like he did. Also, because he was managing his own money he could always take the higher moral ground and not get trapped into the rat race,” says Kolkata-based value investor Abhishek Basumallick, who runs Intelsense.

So what qualities turn a bull into a ‘Big Bull’?

“Someone who has the really big picture vision to bet big. Both the words ‘big’ and ‘bull’ are important. One has to be very unabashedly bullish on the India story and bet big and also make it big,” Basumallick said, adding that such sobriquets are needed because they capture the essence of the person in a few words.

While his portfolio, stock picks and exits were widely tracked not just by scores of retail investors but also by veterans, the Pied Piper of Dalal Street was instrumental in nurturing the equity culture in the minds of retail investors as he minced no words in public interactions and was always bullish on the India story.

“Had you met him 40 years ago, you would not have said he is the ‘Big Bull’. It is time and discipline that makes bulls,” said equity strategist Kranthi Bathini of Wealth Mills.

In the last few years, the dynamics of the market, the business of investing and fundraising patterns have also changed dramtically. Venture capitalists sniff out most success stories much before they enter the stock exchanges.

“As a result, it is getting tougher to make those 700 or 1,200 times return that Jhunjhunwala made from listed stocks. He realised the changes that were happening and as a result, most of his bets in the last few years were made in VC-style much before the listing,” Bathini said.

Once upon a time, UTI boss Manohar J. Pherwani was often regarded as the biggest bull on Dalal Street as he led the largest domestic institutional investor’s team. So can

be now treated the same way?

The PSU insurer, which manages assets worth over Rs 23 lakh crore, made a profit of Rs 42,000 crore from its investment in the equity market in FY 21-22.

“The first criteria for being a ‘Big Bull’ is that he should not be managing public funds. High risk-taking capacity and attitude creates a Big Bull and public fund managers are generally risk averse,” said Pankaj Singhania, who runs PMS firm Lakewater Advisors.

So who would be the next Big Bull? As Kedia says “time will tell”.



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