Categories Interviews

Interview with Rajeev Agrawal, DoorDarshi India Fund Fund Manager Insights

<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Good day, everyone. Today we have Rajeev Agrawal with us. He’s the Fund Manager and Managing Partner at DoorDarshi India Fund. DoorDarshi India Fund is based out of the U.S. and enables investors to benefit from opportunities in Indian equities. Mr. Rajeev has been investing in the U.S. and Indian equity market for 15-plus years. He follows value investing principles and finds that the Indian equity market provides wonderful opportunities for his style of investing. Prior to starting  DoorDarshi, Rajeev was a technology executive focusing on the financial industry and has worked with IHS Markit, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Dresdner Bank. Rajeev did his B. Tech from IIT Bombay and is an MBA graduate from IIM Calcutta. Rajeev, welcome to the Fund Manager Series.

<<Rajeev Agrawal>> It’s wonderful to be here, R.C., and thanks for inviting me.


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Great. Let’s start with you and how was your education in India and how did you end up in fund management industry? How did you figure out that managing funds is what I’m going to do? So we’re all ears to hear your story. 


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> Sure. No, I think it’s a very interesting story in the sense that what I find when I look back at my story, in our childhood, we get to know who we really want to be. And so for me, when I was in my high school, I was living in a joint family, so my grandfather and my uncle, they used to read newspapers and invest based on reading those newspapers, and that fascinated me. I’m like, wow, you can read newspapers, and they would be poring over the newspapers because that was the best way at that point to learn about the companies. And so that was always a fascination for me.


And so when I went to IIT, I had some freedom, and I had a little bit of money, very little, but I had that money. And those were the years when Harshad Mehta boom was happening. And so I said, well, I know all that I need to know about investing, so I put whatever little money I had into the IPOs at that point, and I was obviously very excited about that time. And then within a year, the paper certificate I got, because we used to get the paper certificate then, was not even worth — the paper was not even worth what I got in return, so I was extremely, extremely disappointed. I said, this is not something I can do. This is a total waste of time and effort and I swore I will never invest again.


So that’s the journey. And I always feel that early on if you have a setback like I had that basically makes you a little bit better investor because you’re a little bit more cautious. So for the next, let’s say, a decade, I did not come anywhere near investing. And it is only in early 2000s that I came to know about Buffett and Munger. And when you read Buffett and Munger, you realize that the investing approach they talk about, make a lot of sense, right? And so as you read about them, as you read about how they have been influenced by various mentors of theirs and you read their approaches like Benjamin Graham, now that was an approach that immediately made sense to me. Buffett always says either value investing grabs you immediately or it never does, right? And for me it was like, yeah, if you’re buying a company at a discounted price, that would make the most sense. And the more I read about them, the more I felt like this is the way I want to live my life, right?


But it was a long journey from being completely uneducated and educated in investing to getting to a point where you know a little bit and you keep improving. And so that is why over the last 15 to 20 years, I’ve been investing my own money and gradually building the confidence because once your confidence is shattered so badly initially, it takes a lot of effort to learn about investing. And I just felt that once I get to a stage in life where I don’t have to work for somebody else, then that is what I want to do, which is to invest my own money, right?


And so, luckily, in 2016, I moved out of the corporate world, and I was all along investing for myself, and so I knew that I have an investment approach that works for me. And because it works for me, I felt very confident that I can move out of the corporate world and be on my own. That was the ultimate thing I’ve always wanted, which is to be on my own and to spend the time the way I wanted to, right? And luckily, I was able to do that in 2016, so last six years has been a wonderful journey of being an entrepreneur. And then in 2021, I set up this fund DoorDarshi India Fund. As you mentioned, it’s a U.S.-based fund and invests in Indian equities. 

So I am very bullish and our firm is very, very bullish about the opportunities that we see in Indian equities. But that’s a quick summary of the journey so far.


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Excellent. It’s interesting. Right now in the last two years, in India especially, we have had a lot of new Demats getting opened, lot of young investors coming in. I feel they can resonate with what you felt back in the ’90s at the peak of the Harshad Mehta scam. And I’m sure people who are listening to this will be reassured that all is not lost, because I’ve heard my friends messaging me and saying, I’m never going to come back to the markets again. This has been a casino experience for me. So I’m sure this will resonate well with the new age investors who have been burned badly.


So to that end, do you think it’s necessary for an investor to burn his finger before he realizes the importance of value investing? How do you look at or what will be your advice to a young audience who are our primary listeners, what should be few key things that they should keep in mind when it comes to investing?


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> Yeah. So the first thing I will say with investing is the markets swing widely, both towards optimism and towards pessimism, right? One should not feel too excited when things are going well, and one should not feel too let down when the markets don’t do as well. And unfortunately, that pendulum swing will continue to happen, right. And so just be always mindful of the fact that you’re never as good as the world tells you and you are never as bad as the world tells you. You’re somewhere in between, right? And your results tell you possibly, right? So that’s the first thing to remember that a lot of the short-term achievements in the markets are because of luck rather than your skill, right? But it is only over a long-term that your skill starts differentiating you from others [Phonetic]. That’s the first thing.


The second thing is a lot of people actually take ideas from other investors or speculators and invest. And there is a famous saying in the market, which is borrowed conviction is worse than borrowed money, right? So you should never invest based on borrowed conviction, right? You should do your own work. And once you do the work and you feel comfortable with the business, comfortable with the management and the valuation, those three things, that is when you should invest. Now it may take a lot of work and, frankly, why should making money be easy, right? So the fact that if you’re making money and it is very easy should actually make you very skeptical of why it is so. So do the work. If you understand the business, you feel confident about the management, invest as long as the price is right, or keep watching. There is no compulsion that an investor has to invest at any given price. You can wait and wait and wait as Buffett says, right, because I think he gives a analogy of baseball in U.S., right, where there is no-called-strikes. And so an investor should always be focusing on, do I understand the company well enough because you’re ultimately buying a portion of the company. And if you don’t understand the company, how can you decide what you will do when the company’s valuation goes down? So I would say the second thing is understand the business, but also who is running it.


And then the third thing I will say is there is in markets the social proof, thing starts going on and then there’s this momentum that builds on top. And unfortunately, as you were saying, because of the euphoria, because people had a lot of time on their hands, and because the markets were doing well, everybody felt like now they are the next Buffett, right? But there’s only one Buffett. So always realize that you should not judge yourself based on your recent past, right? But you shouldn’t judge yourself based on how much work you have done and what your inner scorecard is, what is it that you feel convinced about. The results can be all over the place. But if you know deep in your heart that you have not done the work, then I think that should be — so a lot of investing is all about patience, discipline, right? Those are the two main things. And anybody who has read Charlie Munger, which I will strongly recommend to new newbie investors or even seasoned investors, is just keep going back to Charlie Munger and Buffett, and Buffett has his annual letters and Charlie Munger,The Poor Charlie’s Almanack. And I think those two are the Bibles, right, of investing world [Phonetic] apart from intelligent investor, I would say. Just keep going back to those texts and keep relearning the lessons that these greats have told us.


And one of the things which people don’t realize is investing is a lot about reading. If you love reading, you can be quite good in investing because you are getting the mental models from all these various places. And the more mental models you can collect and the more you can break down the world into simple ways of reflecting and thinking about things, the easier it is for you to assess whether something makes sense or not, right? And so reading is a core, core part of being a good investor. And I would encourage anybody and everybody, including myself, to read more.


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Excellent. Always my last question is for all my guests about book recommendations, so I’ll come back to you for book recommendations other than the ones that you already mentioned. You mentioned that Mr. Munger and Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, have been huge influences in your life. And I think you were lucky enough this past annual meeting where you had an opportunity to ask him a question, and I believe they instantly offered you a job. Walk us through your experience.


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> Yeah. It’s wonderful. So, first of all, I have been attending Berkshire meetings since 2017, so around this was my fourth meeting because the last meetings were not in person. And this was the first time the day before the event I was in some get together, and a friend of mine said, listen, why don’t you ask a question? I said I don’t even know how to ask a question at the annual meeting. He said, oh, listen do X, Y and Z and if you are lucky, you will get to ask a question, right? And I said, okay. And he said that because on the day previous we attended a conference and I asked the person who was speaking a question, and so he said, oh, why don’t you ask the same question to Buffett. I said, no, if I have to ask question to Buffett, I will ask the question that might be much more relevant to Buffett, right? So anyway, so till the night before I had no inkling that I will be asking any question. And so in the morning — this time I actually visited Omaha with my family, so my wife and my two kids were there as well, first time. And so we reached late. Normally I would get up and be in the line by 5:00 AM, but with the family in tow, we reached by around 6:50 AM and 7:00 o’clock is when the doors open, right? So we just reached in time. Luckily there were not as many people around the door, so we actually were able to get in.


And as we were going in, as you would have seen, it is in a big arena, right. And so we all want to go and sit on the floor, not on the sides, right. So as we are going in, we saw somewhere, sort of, a booth, right, with a mic. And so I told my family, I think that is the place to stand and ask the question. So we first quickly grabbed the chair because that is what you do when you enter, otherwise you won’t get a good chair. And then I came back with those guys and said, oh, what is the process if I have to ask a question? He said, listen, you just write down your name and we will do a lucky draw. And if your name comes in, then you get to ask a question. I said, okay, that’s good.


And this kind of mindset, listen, there are many different booths in different places in the arena, right? So you can try different places and try to ask a question. So we gave — in one place I gave my name, in another place we gave my daughter’s name. And so that is how we first entered and then when the draw happened, in both the booths, in one booth I was the first selected for asking the question. In the second booth my daughter was the first selected to ask the question, so both of us got lucky. And now once we knew that we had been selected is when the question was, what are we going to ask him? So till then we had not even thought about, because we were not sure what is the probability that we will be selected. But I have been thinking, listen, if I were to ask him, I just feel that Buffett is such a good market timer. He always tells us that he is not timing the market. And it is not about like today, I will buy. No, that’s not how you time the market. But the point is, obviously, he is doing certain things, and one of the things that he explained in his answer — and actually let me just take a step back. 


So to describe the experience. So what happened is, so I went to this booth. I think it was Booth #3, 2 or 3, in that order. And so what happens is near the booth there are like two or three chairs. You have to sit there. So the number one speaker will sit first and so on, right? And because this time Buffett was taking a long time answering every question, it took a little while for my turn to come. And this is the first opportunity to really speak in front of so many people. And so there was nervousness, but also it was pretty interesting. Once I started speaking, I had the phone, I had written the question on the phone, and then I said, okay, let me ask. And this guy said, speak loudly, the person who was near the mic, person who was coordinating. He said, listen, speak loudly so that Buffett can hear you. I said, okay.


And once the light turned on and you are like, okay, watching the phone and you’re trying to ask the question. And I felt like, listen, I was doing okay, speaking slowly and asking loudly as well. And to an extent I was expecting how the answer will be. But, of course, his response surprised me and surprised a lot of people because he said, listen, the question is so good, I would like to offer you a job. I said, wow, okay. And my reaction was, listen, I will take it. Of course, that was said in jest, and so, no, it was a great experience. I think his answer was exactly what I was expecting, which is that he does — well, he does not say that he times the market. He times the market based on the opportunities. If there are more opportunities, he will obviously buy and it might look like he’s timing the market, but he’s not. What he’s doing is seeing what are the opportunities, how compelling are they, and is it the best use of my money. And if so, he will deploy the capital, right, at the time when the markets are down, because the opportunities are the best then, and therefore, you will end up doing well with those opportunities.


I think the even more interesting thing in my mind is how good Buffett has been in getting out of the markets when the markets are expensive [Phonetic]. So it’s not just buying the markets, which is interesting, the fact that he got out of the market ’69-’70 is amazing, right, in his partnership and the fact that he bought Gen Re when he bought in 1998-’99, and he turned the portfolio from being an equity-focused portfolio to a fixed incomes — majority being a fixed income was again great timing in terms of changing the contour of the portfolio. And those are two amazing things, because as an investor what I can tell you and many of my friends will tell you is it’s not just buying, it is also when you sell, and that is always the hardest part.


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Very, very true. We call it the Chakravyuh. People know when to sell and exit. Excellent. And for those listeners, we’ll have the clip of the actual interaction by Rajeev and Mr. Buffett in show notes, so you can definitely check it out in person.


Moving along, so you have a India-focused — long-only India-focused fund based out of the U.S. Tell me the reasons why you started an India-focused fund in U.S., how is the perception for the market? Are we still considered an emerging market? Are we considered a hopeless market? What are your views and what are the reactions you hear from your investors? 


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> So, first, let’s talk about the fund. So DoorDarshi India Fund is a U.S. based fund. It’s a Delaware-registered fund, and we are FPI in doing this. We are a foreign portfolio invested into India. So we have investors investing in U.S. and then we move the money to India, and we invest in India. As you pointed out, we are a long-only, long-term investor, right? And so what we are trying to do is to find good companies under good management and available at a compelling valuation, right?


Now why did we start the fund? As I was mentioning, in my personal portfolio, I’ve been investing, as I mentioned, for some time now. So between 2014 and 2020, I had delivered almost a 32% CAGR in my personal portfolio in dollar terms, right? And so that gave me a lot of confidence that it is doable. And everybody talks about how well the U.S. markets have done. My personal opinion is when I compare my portfolio returns, which is 7 times in seven years versus a double for S&P 500 or for Nifty 50 and so on, right, in dollar terms, everything in dollar terms, right? So it was very obvious to me that Indian equity markets can provide good opportunities if you can think long. And the reason for that is that Indian equity markets goes through bouts of pessimism and optimism, right? And if you are a value investor, if you can assess the value of business and you can buy at good prices and can sell at good prices, one can do very well.


So what you need to be able to do well is inefficient markets [Phonetic]. If it is efficient markets, the price is very close to the value, then, of course, you will not have much opportunities. Because in Indian equities what happens is you have elections around the year, state elections happening, right? You have some a military conflict or because we have big borders, there’s always something or the other that is going on, right? There’s always some sort of — we are a populous country. Somewhere or other something is going on which is not necessarily fundamental, but it possibly changes the moods of the investors. And then another very big factor is funds like us going in and out of Indian markets, right? So risk on, risk off, right? And if there is risk off and you still feel that there is value in the companies that you own, there is no reason for you to worry.


So all those factors along with the fact that Indian investors or Indian populace are not as invested in equities as other markets, right, so there is going to be a very long tailwind for investors to continue to come in the Indian equities. All of those factors, in my mind, is why Indian equities or active investors like us will do well, right? And so that is one of the reasons why I started the fund because if you look at the landscape of the various opportunities that people have in U.S., most of them are typically ETFs, and ETFs is not a good vehicle for investing into India because you can come in and come out very quickly. But as an ETF, one of your problems is you want to have enough liquidity in the companies in which you invest. And so that definitely means — and Indian equity markets are not very deep comparatively, right? And so what that means is you’re pretty much investing in the top 100 companies, right, and not going below that. 


And Indian equity market, if you look at it, 5,000 companies, of which 2,000 trade on a daily basis, it’s a pretty wide market. It may not be as deep, and that is where the opportunity lies, right? So ETFs in my mind is not a very good way to take advantage of Indian equities, right? But having patient investors who can think long term and actually have the right mindset is a way to take advantage of that. So that is where we set up the DoorDarshi India Fund. And the whole idea is to bring the right type of investors in the fund. So we are not trying to get any and everybody into the fund. We are very selective of who comes in. And the investors who come in are the people whom we tell them, listen, this is what we do, this is how we invest, right? And our approach is value investing. But growth is a very, very important part of how we assess the value of our company. We are not just investing because this is a low price to — this that is not how we invest. We invest based on how the business will grow, what the values will become over time versus what the value is today or what the price is today, and therefore, can I get a decent return overtime, right? That is our approach.


And we ensure that they understand and we ensure that they ask as many questions, right? And they are comfortable with that approach. And then we tell them, listen, if you’re investing with us, think a few years out because while we are not having lock-ins, we don’t want you to come in and get out quickly and unnecessarily not make enough money in the process. We want any investor who comes with us, make good money, and that is our goal and that is their goal as well. So we want to ensure a good alignment.


Now how Indian equity markets are perceived vis-à-vis other markets, what I will say is in the last 10 years U.S. equities have done very well. So almost all the emerging markets don’t look as compelling when you compare to the U.S. equity markets, right. But the fact also is that the U.S. equity markets were very stretched, right? So we have seen at least in ’22 that U.S. equity markets are down a lot more than Indian equity markets so far. And that doesn’t mean that we can extrapolate it, but it does mean that there is an opportunity for investors to come in and diversify their allocation to different countries. And one of the interesting things is that Indian economy will be one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.


So if you want growth and you want the opportunity to take advantage of the demographics and the demand, then Indian equity is very good. So are people very bullish? Not necessarily because till last year or maybe the year before last, China was the flavor of the market, apart from U.S. And over the last few years that has gone down dramatically. And what I expect is over time people will figure out what are the other markets. My personal opinion is in the next 10 years, I’m not talking about the next year or two, but in the next 10 years, India will become what China was earlier for the U.S. investors. Which means that everybody who wants to have an international exposure will want to have an exposure to India. And that is where I think if we can start right, we can invest with the right investors, we can deliver the good returns. What we are trying to build is a track record of success. And when the market is ready, we will be there as well for them to come to us. So that is the thought process. We are not thinking short term. We are not short-term oriented at all, be it with our investors or be it with our investments, right? We’re always thinking long term. And we are saying we want to invest with the right investors in the right way. So we don’t want to charge you unnecessary fees. We want to have alignment of incentives, and then we want to do well over the long term. That’s how we are thinking.


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Very insightful, very insightful. Sticking onto the India theme, you mentioned next 10 years, great tailwinds ahead. Instead of talking about any specific stocks as such, what according to you or which sector or industry vertical according to you is going to see the maximum impact in India in the next decade?


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> So I think one thing which we all realize about India is that India for the longest has been a capital-starved market [Phonetic], right? There was never enough capital available. And there was a lot of entrepreneurship in India, right? When you go out today, you will see the people at the lowest strata, you give them a little bit of capital and their income can double, right, because they’re just so starved of capital. And so I think opportunities of getting capital, deploying capital will be a huge opportunity. And therefore, I think the financial sector will do very well. You are seeing the opening up of the financial sector in a way that very few could have imagined, right?


And so I think the whole spectrum, be it banking, be it NBFC, be it MFI, be it payments, you just look across the board, I think the amount of innovation and opportunities that are getting generated in that sector is quite amazing. And I think that is a long-term tailwind because Indians have not had enough capital. Finally that capital is getting freed and the cost of capital is coming down. The other problem always in India has been the cost of capital was so high. You could only justify very profitable [Phonetic] projects. I think that is changing, so your cost of capital is coming down. And so, I think we will have this tailwind.


And then, of course, in the financial sector, we all understand that the asset quality, which was pretty weak earlier, has become a lot better. There’s a lot more capital buffers now available. The capital adequacy is very good [Phonetic], so I’m very, very bullish, both because of the opportunity, but also because that sector has been beaten up in the recent past. If you look at what FPIs have been doing, they’ve been pulling money out. And where have they been pulling money out from? They’ve been pulling money out from the financial sector because that is where the biggest allocation was. So what that has done is that the valuations or the prices have come down quite a bit even though the future prospects look really good. So right there is an example of an anomaly that presents from time to time in the market. So that’s one area which I feel will do well.


If I look in the next decade, I think the Indian IT, in general, will continue to do well. Information technology, I think, you have limited opportunities or limited source of new human talent, right? But in India we have a lot of such talent. And increasingly as the industry becomes location agnostic, and that is what we are seeing, I think we will see more and more opportunities for Indian companies and also the whole startup ecosystem that is developing. Now in the startup ecosystem, my opinion is that there is a lot of frothiness, there is just too much capital chasing too few ideas, and so that is slightly different. But just look at IT services or possibly new innovation and new ideas, there will be a lot of that. And I think that will be again one of the very interesting areas for Indian economy and opportunities. 


The third one I will say is real estate sector. I know the real estate sector has been down and it possibly is a consensus trade as of now. But there are pockets of opportunities in real estate. Real estate for the last decade has done nothing. So I came back to India in 2012, and at that point everybody told me, listen, buy real estate. And I said, well, if everybody is buying real estate, I don’t want to, and that was a good decision. But now, a decade hence, 2022, I think there are lot of inherent demands because people have not really bought too much — especially in the residential real estate I’m talking about, because in residential real estate people want to have a little bigger houses as they’re working from home. I think the affordability index is the best it has been in a long time, and the competition among the real estate players has come down. So there are not as many real estate builders as they were in the past. And suddenly you basically see that the players who have survived are not only stronger but people also want to come only to them, so I think there is suddenly a tailwind in the real estate sector and that is the third sector I would say. I can tell a few more, but those are the top of mind right now.


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Thanks for that. So sort of a fun question. If I were to ask you to do a crystal ball gazing, if you were to have one more long-only country-specific fund other than India, which country or which breakout nation and why?


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> Yeah. I think that answer is very easy. That answer is U.S. and absolutely I think U.S. will continue to do very, very well. One thing that had made me nervous in the recent past was valuations means [Phonetic]. And I think now as the valuations have compressed, I think the opportunities in the U.S. equity market are also pretty amazing. Now the difference is that the U.S. equity market is a slightly more efficient market as compared to Indian equities, right. And so therefore you have to be much — you have to time your purchases in a careful manner, right. But just as Indian equity, U.S. equity will also grow, especially in the technology space, in the new-age space, right? And that is where given the company’s valuations just went over the top, I think it is really as those valuations become a little bit more realistic, I think one can do very, very well. And there are some of these companies which are monopolies pretty much, right, and they are available at a reasonable valuation given what has gone on.


And the interesting thing is the best companies in the world want to list in the U.S. because they want to have that aura of being listed on an NYSE or a NASDAQ, and that allows you to have access to the best ideas, and then you can say which places you want to go to. We are not trying to look for 100 companies. We need like five, 10 companies, right? So it’s not that difficult to find good companies at good prices. And in the U.S., I think what is interesting is management, in general, is a lot more aligned — not aligned necessarily, but management, you don’t have to worry about the corporate governance issues. You do have to worry about the dilution from options and how big is the pay packet and all of that stuff. But in terms of the corporate governance, are they going to take money away out of your pocket, all those things are less of a worry, right? So I think, absolutely, beyond India, I am very bullish on U.S., though I would not start buying aggressively right now.


I think the increase in rates and again to some extent I’m showing you, I also try to look at the macro and the micro before making investment decisions. And I think the in the short-term, it seems like there will be some headwinds because of the increase in rates and the fact that the U.S. economy in general is highly levered economy. Everybody has a little too much debt. And so as the debt rates go up, that may impact people’s ability to service it, and that may impact how the economy behaves. But I think long-term, there is no question this economy and U.S. stocks will do very well.


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Interesting. You mentioned the macroeconomic view. From a geopolitical standpoint, you have some contrarians like Ray Dalio who are talking about the changing world order and U.S. is a declining power, China probably is the next superpower and all. What are your views? Are we talking about our generation or are we talking about the next two generations ahead? What are your views from a geopolitical standpoint?


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> So my view is for a long time we’ve lived in a unipolar world, right, where U.S. was a dominant nation and there were no other nations even close. I think from a unipolar world, my view is we are moving to a multipolar world. And that multipolar world will have a few nations who will do well, and I think that will be U.S., that will be China, I will put India in that same category, frankly, may not be necessarily in my lifetime but maybe after. But I do think that these three countries are going to do very well over time. 


Now the question is that with democracy there is always a push and pull, which is both U.S. and India, right, they’re democratic, and we are having democracy. And in China you have communism. And so the question will be, is that communism going to help the people or is it going to go against the people, and that will determine how China does, right? If people continue to like that governance system and everybody is comfortable with that, I think China will continue to do well. There’s no question from a economic engine perspective, they have the engine going. But the question is whether people are happy with how the governance is being done. And that is something that nobody can really answer.


While in a democracy I feel that, yes, it might take a little bit longer for decisions to be made, but they’re more robust decisions. In communism, that may not happen. And so the pressure might keep building, building, building until it explodes. And so whether it explodes or it gets harnessed in the right manner is something only time will tell. But I would assume that we move to a more unipolar world, and we move to a world where there are a lot of opportunities for countries because the distance will become less and less meaningful, and it is your ideas and your ability to bring value into the system which will make you whether you are successful or not. And so to me, I think these three regions and countries can do very well.


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Shifting gears a little bit, coming back to DoorDarshi, any plans of having a presence in India for Indian investors? Any plans for PMS or AIF funds from India? I know this is U.S. specific and only know investors from U.S. can right now invest. If we are interested in your offering, any immediate plans or plans in the future for an offering in India for India or for any other country from here?


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> So it is something that has been on the radar. It’s just something that I feel because the amount of work that we do in Indian equity and obviously we are right now doing it for our fund, but frankly, the same thing can be leveraged for having a PMS offering or an AIF offering, right? So it’s not like incremental work needs to be done, but obviously we have to deal with incremental regulations around that. And so I think that is a question that we have in mind. But absolutely, we do think that there is an opportunity for having the investors participate in what we are trying to do, and it’s something that we keep considering from time to time. I definitely hope that in the next few years we will have some offering. But there is nothing that has been finalized as of now. It’s something that we keep looking at.


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Great. Rajeev as a person, when he’s not reading books or when he’s not building his mental models, what do you do?


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> Yeah. No, so I actually enjoy sports. I play tennis. I play badminton. Recently we went for a hiking. It was a very good trip. These days the weather outside is really good. In New Jersey, you only really get summer for four months, five months, and so one tries to benefit from that. And so we over the weekend had a fun trip with some of our friends. So yeah, just doing things which are different. Looking forward to the beach in the next few days. And actually, I’m going for a VALUEx conference next week to Colorado, so that will be the first trip to Vail. So I’m going to VALUEx Vail, which is hosted by Vitaliy. And so that will be good fun trip. I’m presenting the company.


So I enjoy investing. See, the point is a lot of people say, oh, what after investing? There is nothing what after investing? Investing itself is so much fun that I really see myself just doing investing for the rest of my life, right, if I can continue to, that is really what I am trying to do, which is to have fun. Because once you have fun, you’ll never work. And when you are having fun, Buffett always says, I tap dance to work. I’d say, I roll over to my work because I work from home. So I roll over from my bed, and I’m on my office working.


So I think the point is, once you are working in something that you’re excited about that energizes you, then really you don’t need too much. But I love outdoors, I love playing sports, I love meeting people. I enjoy talking to folks like yourself, R.C., and I enjoy participating and contributing in various conferences and learning from others. I think the best part of investing, in my mind, is that you never know enough. Whatever you know is okay, but there’s a lot more to know. And it is what you learn that will help you do well. 


So the learning never stops, and you always have to keep learning. And you can take the same mindset to anything else you do. I think one thing that, again, I will just go back to one of the questions you asked earlier, what should the novice investors do. I will say understand the psychological biases that trip [Phonetic] us all, right? And then I was about to say, listen, if you understand psychology and how Munger teaches it, you see it used everywhere and you go out and you are having a hiking, and you say, okay, he said this because and then, of course, go through the psychological mind maps you have created. And I think it’s pretty interesting. And the more aware we are of how we are behaving and how we are acting, we can be more effective. And so no, I think, as a person, I just am enjoying everything that I’m doing, and I am choosing how to do it and that’s the best part.


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Very nice. It’s an inspiration for people like me to get that conviction again that lifelong learning and love for reading from different aspects. It’s been a great talking with you. Before I let you go, other than the three books that you already recommended, Poor Charlie’s Almanack, Intelligent Investor and All Annual Shareholders’ Letters Of Berkshire, I’m going to give you some trouble. Please recommend three other books for people like us listening to your interview.


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> Sure. So I think one is Howard Marks’s The Most Important Thing. I think it’s a very good book because what it tries to highlight is that investing is not about just finding good value. You have to look at why there is good value and what is it that makes you so lucky, right. And so really thinking — the second level thinking, thinking beyond what is obvious out there in the market is such a fundamental skillset, and most of us forget that. 


Even Seth Klarman has written a wonderful book, Margin of Safety. Margin of Safety is something that is not easily accessible, but I believe it is available on the Internet in PDF form and people can get access to it. I think he’s one of the preeminent investors of our times. He doesn’t write as often or it’s not in public domain as often, but whatever he writes is amazing. Some of your listeners might have heard about Phil Fisher and Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, so that is another one. But there is another very interesting book written by Peter Cundill. Peter Cundill is a Canadian investor, and he has written a book which is There’s Always Something To Do. I bought it on Kindle and it’s a great book in terms of — and he says, always change a winning game. So if you’re doing well in something, don’t just stay there. Do something else, because whatever is winning possibly is already reaching its peak.


And then I can also tell you a few good non-investing books because I do think we become better if we’re looking at non-investing books as well. And one of the books that I find quite interesting is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I don’t know how many people have read it. Another one is, As A Man Thinketh by James Allen. That is another very interesting book. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. That is another good book. Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman. So I’m giving you a lot of books. Of course, maybe it’s too long of a list, but no, I think the idea is you don’t have to read all. Just pick one. If you like it, read it. If you don’t like it, move on to the next one. So there is nothing that forces you to keep reading one book. And by knowing name of a few books you can decide which one appeals to you.


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Brilliant recommendations and thanks a ton for also recommending non-investing books to build our mental models. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you, Mr. Rajeev. I look forward to more such interactions and pick your brains in future also. Thanks again for giving us the opportunity.


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> Wonderful. Good talking to you R.C. And best wishes to AlphaStreet. I must mention that I hear the con calls that you guys record. Keep doing that service. It’s very helpful to all of us, and we thank you for it because I think it’s a great service. And one of the ways of learning more about the company and the management is to see how they answer the questions. And so I think what you’re doing is wonderful and thank you very much for that. 


<<Radhakrishnan Chonat>> Thank you, Mr. Rajeev.


<<Rajeev Agrawal>> All right, bye.

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