It is unfortunate that the equitydesk forum, which showcased Basant’s stock picking skills and was instrumental in propelling him to great heights, met such an ignominious end.
At one time, in the not-so-distant past, the equitydesk forum used to be a bustling bee-hive of activity. It was *the* place to hang out if you wanted your daily dose of stock market discussion. Its members were passionate about stocks and also very knowledgeable. There was a warm and friendly atmosphere throughout and juniors could learn the tricks of the trade under the benign supervision of the seniors. The forum was a treasure house of wisdom and knowledge.
The forum boasted of a massive membership base of 60,000+ and was probably second only to Moneycontrol’s MMB.
Sadly, Basant’s ambition to start his own stock advisory service called ‘Basant Top 10’ conflicted with the growth of the forum. He set up another forum within the closed walls of Basant Top 10 which was available only to the subscribers of his service.
As most of the well-known and active members joined Basant Top 10, the equitydesk forum began to get neglected.
Basant also did not take kindly to members in equitydesk discussing the stocks recommended by him in the service. He made his displeasure clear and dealt with transgressions with an iron hand.
As the months turned to years, the forum went into a steady decline. With none of the popular members around, the traffic dwindled to a trickle.
There was some hope of revival of the forum when Basant abruptly closed Basant Top 10 after a raging controversy over whether he had dumped stocks like Hawkins and Page even while he was recommending them to his clients.
However, Basant made no effort to revive the forum and it stood there forlorn and neglected. It became a haven for spam bots and they took over the forum with impunity.
Yesterday, Basant finally pulled the plug on theequitydesk forum and ended its misery. He made this grim announcement:
Prima facie, Basant appears to have been hasty and short-sighted in his decision. The forum itself would not have been in conflict with Basant’s PMS though his participation in it would have been. So, what Basant ought to have done is to hand over the reins (including ownership?) of the forum to a trusted friend or a group of friends. The new manager(s)/ owner(s) could have fostered the forum and revived its past days of glory. This step would have advanced the growth of the equity cult in India because novice investors would have had a place to turn to for trusted advice.
Anyway, Basant has now got himself a brand new website which gives details of his PMS. One interesting fact is that while Basant has so far been a one-man show, one Ms. Shalu Mehra is now referred to as “co-founder/ partner” of the PMS. Shalu Mehra is described as a “passionate investor with significant personal investments in Indian Equities” and as a “value investor”. There is not much information available in public domain about Shalu Mehra or her stock picks. We will have to keep a lookout for her investments and stock picks.
In an earlier piece, I pointed out how a PMS can be a huge money-spinner for the PMS Manager. Even a modest AUM of Rs. 500 crore and a CAGR of 33% means that the manager gets to take home a whopping Rs. 31 crore per year. In fact, PMS Managers in the USA (called Hedge Fund managers) like Carl Icahn, Bill Ackman etc are billionaires in their own right.
Some other well-known PMS providers in India include Porinju Veliyath’s Equity Intelligence, Prof Sanjay Bakshi’s ValueQuest India Moat Fund, Nilesh Shah’s Envision Capital, Manish Bhandari’s Vallum Capital, Ravi Dharamshi’s ValueQuest etc.
It will be interesting to see which PMS garners the highest AUM over the next five years. Any guesses?