Blogs

  • Marcellus: The Working Habits of Great Minds

    Published on:17 May, 2019 Pathbreaking work has at its core very hard work, often done in the midst of a well-defined schedule and usually done in solitude. Research shows that the greatest minds of the past three hundred years have used a...


    Published on 17 May, 2019

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  • Marcellus: The Tussle Between What we “Should do” & What we “Must do”

    Published on:10 May, 2019 For millions of professionals, the tussle between what they feel they should do (because of financial or societal reasons) and what they must do (in order to fulfill deeply felt urges) is the defining tussle of their lives....


    Published on 10 May, 2019

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  • Marcellus: The Fed’s Accommodation of Wall Street: Endgame

    Published on: 3 May, 2019 The renewed easing of monetary policy by the Fed is unsustainable. Therefore, we believe it is prudent to prepare for the end of accommodative monetary policy in the US. For India, such a regime change, would increase the...


    Published on 03 May, 2019

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  • Marcellus: Our Habits, as Much as Our Brains, Drive Investment Decisions

    Published on: 26 April, 2019 Even though habits account for 40% of the decisions that we make, the “thinking” part of the brain does NOT control our habits. Understanding the auto-reflex element of habit-driven decision making is central to...


    Published on 26 Apr, 2019

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  • Marcellus: Three Degrees of Disruption in Home Buying in India

    Published on: 18 April, 2019 The rapidly growing sharing economy, and the availability of easy credit for pursuing ‘dreams’ and ‘desires’, together are shaping the attitude of young Indians towards buying assets. The impact is most visible...


    Published on 18 Apr, 2019

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  • Marcellus: The Most Important Questions to Ask Your Fund Manager

    Published on: 17 April, 2019 The clients who ask us the most probing questions tend to have well organised work lives and a fierce focus on doing what is most useful and most enjoyable for them. Everything else is edited out of their lives. Such...


    Published on 17 Apr, 2019

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  • Marcellus: India’s Real Economic Dynamo – The Internal Migrant

    Published on: 12 April, 2019 Over the last 40 years, India has seen the largest internal migration that any country has witnessed in any era. Even on conservative assumptions, India’s 100 million internal migrants are sending ‘home’ vast sums...


    Published on 12 Apr, 2019

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  • Marcellus: The Foundations of Self-Belief

    Published on: 5 April, 2019 Self-belief is known to be a magical catalyst with a proven track record of delivering transformational results in sport, in business and in investing. The roots of self-belief lie as much in the environment in which an...


    Published on 05 Apr, 2019

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  • Marcellus: The Delicate Dance Between Politics, Religion & Investing

    Published on: 29 March, 2019 The triangle of relationships – between politics/state on the first vertex, god/religion/ethics on the second vertex and commerce/investing/property rights on the third vertex – is a delicate interplay. The fact that...


    Published on 29 Mar, 2019

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  • Marcellus: Value Investing – The Indian Challenge

    Published on: 22 March, 2019 Around the world, making money from stocks does involve a significant element of market timing. However, for a small minority of stocks in India, the classical value investing paradigm does not readily work. These...


    Published on 22 Mar, 2019

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  • Marcellus: The Courage to be Disliked

    Published on: 15 March, 2019 The majority of us spend our lives seeking the approval of others. A few people however have the courage to do things which they know will invite criticism. This rare characteristic – which is often the hallmark of...


    Published on 15 Mar, 2019

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  • Marcellus: The Heroes we Forget Hold a Mirror to Our Souls

    Published on: 8 March, 2019 Our mind sees & remembers the world in stylised & stereotypical terms. If a story doesn’t fit our stereotype, we don’t remember it and hence don’t celebrate it. The lives of three forgotten heroes – Malik...


    Published on 08 Mar, 2019

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  • Marcellus: Exit the Kirana Store, Enter the Supermarket

    Published on: 1 March, 2019 As local kirana stores start winding up in India, the conditions required for organised retail to operate profitably are coming together nicely. Whilst this does not necessarily mean that all organised sector retailers...


    Published on 01 Mar, 2019

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  • Marcellus: Non-Conformism Underpins Original Thought

    Published on: 22 Feb, 2019 The more we get plugged into social & mass media, the harder it becomes to escape the echo chamber of consensus thought. In stark contrast, original thinkers – in Investing and beyond – have wide ranging interests...


    Published on 22 Feb, 2019

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  • Marcellus: The Nifty is No Longer a Play on the Indian Economy

      Published on: 15 Feb, 2019 Over the past decade, the Nifty’s earnings have not only grown at a much slower pace than the Indian economy, they have also trailed the S&P500’s earnings growth by a country mile (although the Indian...


    Published on 15 Feb, 2019

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  • Marcellus: The Virus Spreads Beyond the Banks

    Published on: 8 Feb, 2019 As the same problems which ravaged India’s banking system now spread into its money & bond markets, we highlight the need for investors to strengthen their forensic accounting firepower. With over 60 years of...


    Published on 08 Feb, 2019

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  • Marcellus: The Big Shift in Small Town India

    Published on: 2 Feb, 2019 With potentially $500 billion per annum of financial savings arising from annual income and with potentially another $100 billion per annum arising from the balance sheet shift (from physical to financial), our visits to...


    Published on 02 Feb, 2019

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  • Marcellus: A Cynic’s Guide to Reading Indian Newspapers

    Published on: 25 Jan, 2019 80% of the content in Indian newspapers is irrelevant for investors; the other 20% is very useful. The latter 20% focuses on: (a) the actions (not words) of Indian promoters and politicians; and (b) narratives about the...


    Published on 25 Jan, 2019

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  • Marcellus: Reading VS Naipaul Will Make You Richer

    Published on: 18 Jan, 2019 Intensely researched, well thought through non-consensus opinions are priceless. VS Naipaul’s final book on India is an example of such work. Meticulously researched, Naipaul’s 1990 book flagged that India was a...


    Published on 18 Jan, 2019

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  • Marcellus: Does Spirituality Help Improve Clarity of Thought?

    Published on: 11 Jan, 2019 Any activity which entails making a call on the future is as much about managing emotions as it is about rational analysis. Investing therefore is always and everywhere a dance between these two elements – reason &...


    Published on 11 Jan, 2019

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  • How Competitive Advantage Drives Churn in the Stockmarket

    Published on: 4 Jan, 2019   The extent of competitive advantage possessed by a firm can fluctuate as the sector in which the firm operates grows (from niche to nationwide). The aggregation of this phenomenon across the entire stockmarket...


    Published on 04 Jan, 2019

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  • Grand Fortunes and the Illusion of Competition

    Published on: 28 Dec, 2018 Through the ages, the greatest and most lasting fortunes have been built on the back of commercial opportunism allied with the willingness to bend the rule of the law repeatedly & ruthlessly. The Medicis in Italy, the...


    Published on 28 Dec, 2018

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  • Your memory will determine how much money you make

    Published on: 20 Dec, 2018 Memory in all its avatars (perception, projection, intelligence) plays a big role in how we invest. The fragility of our memories (both in the sense of how quickly they fade and in the sense of how susceptible to...


    Published on 20 Dec, 2018

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  • Who is Marcellus and why does he matter

    Published on: 9 Dec, 2018 We live in era defined by majoritarianism and social-media driven consensus. In such an age we seek inspiration from the one of the greatest warriors of the 20 th Century, Cassius Marcellus Clay, better known as Muhammad...


    Published on 09 Dec, 2018

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  • System level thinkers

    Published on: 2 Dec, 2018 The intellectual legacies of four titans show that the smartest thinkers of every epoch are able to understand how the economic system works in its entirety whilst most of the rest of us only understand the world at an...


    Published on 02 Dec, 2018

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  • Weak EPS growth and strong GDP growth can coexist

    Published on: 28 Nov, 2018 There is needless angst in India about EPS growth staying weak even as the economy grows at 7%. Such a phenomenon is actually a good thing for the Indian economy – it highlights a shift to a more competitive,...


    Published on 28 Nov, 2018

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  • Have we hit Peak Finance

    Published on: 19 Nov, 2018 The combination of a rising fiscal deficit & tighter monetary policy in the US is pushing the world’s risk free rate upwards thus reversing a 40-year trend of money become ever cheaper. Alongside adverse developments...


    Published on 19 Nov, 2018

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  • The role of Outsiders in investing

    Published on: 11 Nov, 2018 The success of non-establishment figures in reshaping the investment landscape in America over the past 40 years gives India a useful template. The outsiders have already made their mark in the VC and PE space in India....


    Published on 11 Nov, 2018

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  • The Indian Stockmarket is Unique. Here is the Data.

    Published on: 7 Nov, 2018 No other large stockmarket is as overwhelmingly macro driven as India’s. Arguably, this is because of the high cost of factors of production and the influence of the Indian state in every aspect of business life. To make...


    Published on 07 Nov, 2018

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  • Social Media, not Fake News, Damages your Portfolio

    Published on: 30 Oct, 2018 Sixty years ago Solomon Asch showed that we start believing in nonsense if enough people around us are believers. Social media has amplified this problem manifold and thus become a hazard to HNWs’ portfolios. Cutting...


    Published on 30 Oct, 2018

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  • The end of QE and fund management

    Published on: 26 Oct, 2018 Over the last ten years macro factors drove the majority of stock returns in India thus reducing the importance of investors’ skill/judgement. The end of QE is likely to reduce overall market returns but the...


    Published on 26 Oct, 2018

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  • What do we expect from a CEO

    Published on: 19 Oct, 2018 Rather than being a corporate Superwoman, the Effective CEO is an honest, industrious, well informed executive who is aware of her limitations and understands that her conduct and her incentive structure sets the tone for...


    Published on 19 Oct, 2018

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  • Spotting the Liar in the Boardroom

    Published on: 12 Oct, 2018 Alongside our forensic accounting model, we also use questioning techniques popularised by the CIA to figure out whether the CEOs we are meeting are making things up. “He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may...


    Published on 12 Oct, 2018

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  • The Hero Delusion in Sport, Business & Elsewhere

    Published on: 5 Oct, 2018 Evolution has trained us to use ‘thumb rules’ to simplify complex decisions. However, when these thumb rules don’t work, we are prone to delusional thinking. Our belief in heroes is one such delusion. Evolution has...


    Published on 05 Oct, 2018

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  • Accounting fraud and liquidity crunches are bedfellows

    Published on: 29 Sep, 2018 Major accounting frauds typically come to light when liquidity tightens. Given the over 2% point jump in money market rates in India in the last 12 months, the probability of major accounting fraud coming to light in the...


    Published on 29 Sep, 2018

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  • Elections are irrelevant for equity investors

    Published on: 20 Sep, 2018 Exhaustive research by American political scientists, Chris Achen & Larry Bartels, shows that elections neither produce responsive governments nor do voters elect leaders who can tangibly impact economic outcomes and...


    Published on 20 Sep, 2018

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  • Reverse Positioned Brands

    Published on: 10 Sep, 2018 “The writer-physician Atul Gawande has written about the phenomenon of ‘positive deviants’ in the medical profession, that small set of players who are mired in the same environmental conditions as...


    Published on 10 Sep, 2018

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  • Lehman, liquidity and Indias exposed financial system

    On a crisp wintry morning in January 2007 I sat down with, John Kay, the Chairman of the firm I had co-founded in London, for our monthly chat. Over the next hour or so, John’s penetrating intellect helped me understand why the overleveraged...


    Published on 28 Aug, 2018

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  • The smartest thinkers on competitive advantage

    ‘Competitive advantage’ is the most commonly used concept in business. However, proper application of the concept – to figure out whether an investment is worth making – is not easy. Three smart thinkers – Joan Magretta,...


    Published on 20 Aug, 2018

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  • The rise of Indian SMEs

    The networking of the Indian economy (through roads, phones, internet, low cost flights) has created immense churn in the stockmarket. Small companies who were formerly regional players are raising their sights and aiming to become national players....


    Published on 13 Aug, 2018

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  • Reversion to the mean in politics & investing

    Our desire to see India change for the better results in us overestimating the pace of change in the country in the short-medium run. This creates valuation anomalies that one can profit from. Selling wholesale market funded lenders and buying IT...


    Published on 04 Aug, 2018

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