I have big shoes to fill, says Vishal Kampani

JM Financial board has appointed Vishal Kampani managing director with effect from 1 October


Vishal Kampani.
Vishal Kampani.

Mumbai: Vishal Kampani is excited. His father Nimesh Kampani, investment banker and founder-chairman and managing director of JM Financial Ltd, is leaving his executive role, the financial services firm said on Tuesday. The board appointed Vishal, 39, as managing director with effect from 1 October. “This is sort of an end of an era. There is an air of excitement but there is also an air of nervousness because you have to fill big shoes,” he said in an interview.

Vishal currently serves as non-executive director at J.M. Financial Ltd and managing director of JM Financial Products Ltd, the group’s non-banking finance company. Vishal also heads the institutional securities business of the group.

Edited excerpts from an interview:

It’s a very important day for you.

It’s a very important day for me. This is sort of an end of an era. There is an air of excitement but there is also an air of nervousness because you have to fill big shoes. At same point, one has to take responsibility, accept responsibility… This was the time, the board felt I was ready for it and I am really grateful to them.

And it will be a smooth transition?

Yes… because I worked very closely with my father. For 19 years, now… I joined the firm in 1997… I worked in different departments, in different capacities.

How will your work change?

It is going to be a lot busier. At the same time, it is going to be a lot more focused on business planning and strategy, working with all our key chief executive officers and focusing on a lot of management responsibilities. I am very passionate about investment banking so I just hope I get as much time to do deals as I used to earlier.

The equity markets are on a roll, especially India. There’s too much of global liquidity, so it is going to continue.

The business has also changed a lot. In the past 10 years, JM has changed from a traditional investment banking and securities business to fund-based and asset management businesses that we have added.

How will the company change in the next 10 years?

Many of our businesses will grow in scale. A few of them have already become much bigger, for example, the investment banking business. But our culture, innovation capabilities, secretiveness as an organization, low-profile culture stems from what Nimesh Kampani stands for. I am fortunate that we have more than 20 people in the group who have been associated with the firm for 20-25 years who share the same culture and ethos and values. And with that, we will try and grow the business further.

In the next 10 years, India will create some of the largest companies in the world. I personally will run the investment banking and the fixed income business. But a lot more time also needs to be devoted towards growing other businesses—the ARC (asset reconstruction company) business, wealth management division, asset management.

Your father had tremendous relationships with many of the older business groups...

Absolutely… There are many incidents… I was involved in the transaction we did together when Larsen & Toubro Ltd sold its cement business. We have worked very closely with the Ambanis and the Birlas on several transactions. We worked on the Reliance Industries Ltd demerger, the Bajaj Auto Ltd demerger...

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