As the child of an Indian diplomat, Radhika Gupta had the unique opportunity to grow up across 4 continents in countries like India, Pakistan, Italy, Nigeria and the US. Moving every three years to an unknown place and starting all over again has really defined who she is – a person who loves new opportunities, new challenges, and the idea of change. Gupta is the CEO of the Mutual Fund Company, Edelweiss AMC, and has 12 years of experience in domestic and global asset management across investments, sales and distribution.
My grandmother was a breadwinner for the family and my mother continued to build her career despite my father’s changing locations.
She says, “The other defining aspect of my childhood is that I have grown up around very strong women. My grandmother was a breadwinner for the family and my mother continued to build her career despite my father’s changing locations. Both of them have very strong personalities and have encouraged me to build my own identity.”
A graduate of the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology from the University of Pennsylvania, receiving joint degrees in Economics from the Wharton School and Computer Science Engineering from the Moore School, Gupta came to India in 2009 and started her career as a hedge fund manager at Forefront Capital. At that point in time, the idea was to strengthen the roots of Alternative Investing as India’s growth in this space was at a very nascent stage.
She informs, “This was a key transformation as I took a leap from managing assets to managing an entire hedge fund business. At Forefront Capital, I looked at aspects pertaining to clients, regulatory ambit and distribution community as well, apart from fund management. Here at Edelweiss MF I do the same work and meet the same people but it is for a different product line and catering to retail investors.”
As an entrepreneur, she had started Forefront Capital Management in 2009, which was acquired by Edelweiss in 2014. The idea of starting Forefront came in 2008 when she was in the US, working as a hedge fund manager. The idea was really to push the boundaries and come back to India and start a business because there was an opportunity and the space to do so.
“The decision to sell the business to Edelweiss was really driven by the desire to scale a business we had built and that had tremendous potential that would be harnessed within the right platform and with the right partner.”
“The decision to sell the business to Edelweiss was really driven by the desire to scale a business we had built and that had tremendous potential that would be harnessed within the right platform and with the right partner. I have never looked at this as a transaction or a sale, but a chance to partner with a group that was a terrific cultural fit for who we were and what we wanted to do, and I think that the journey has worked out beautifully,” she adds.
Currently, Edelweiss Asset Management, is essentially a mutual fund business that provides investment products in equity and debt for customers – “We are a young differentiated mutual fund business embarking on a very interesting journey, as more and more Indians look to move their savings into financial assets.”
“Entrepreneurship tests and stretches every bit of you. It makes you look beyond your line function at a much broader picture, it really teaches you the meaning of ownership because you are the first and last line of defence, and it makes you very resilient.”
As a life experience, Gupta recommends entrepreneurship to everyone, “It tests and stretches every bit of you. It makes you look beyond your line function at a much broader picture, it really teaches you the meaning of ownership because you are the first and last line of defence, and it makes you very resilient.”
She asserts that customer businesses are always tough especially at the beginning, when you are trying to convince customers why they should look at you. That was tough in her Forefront Capital days, and while it has become easier, is a constant challenge.
“Innovation is always tough because when you are trying to do something new, especially at a young age, in an established market, you are faced with a lot of questions, and people who will tell you otherwise. Holding on to your conviction and persisting is always tough.”
The entrepreneur doesn’t stress too much about work-life balance because it is impossible to get it right at all points in time. She instead, focuses on work-life harmony – as long as she is happy with what she is doing, she doesn’t worry about it.
In the next five years, she sees herself leading a great business and leading a great team!
She says, “I am very ambitious about Edelweiss AMC and want to see ourselves as a leader in this space over next 5-8 years. 1 lakh crore in 5 years is a number I am confident about. I want to build Edelweiss AMC into one of the most respected brands in the asset management business.”