Mumbai: Piramal Finance Ltd, the financial services division of Piramal Enterprises Ltd, is doubling its headcount to over 400 in two months, primarily for its upcoming housing finance division. In January this year, the Piramal Group firm, currently one of India’s top fund managers, announced plans to tap the Rs24 trillion housing finance market that is growing at 20% annually.

It is currently awaiting licences from the National Housing Board (NHB) before commencing full-fledged operations. In its annual report, the Piramal Group firm said its decision to enter housing finance was boosted by government initiatives like Housing for All by 2020, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and plans to develop 100 smart cities.

Founded in 2012, Piramal Finance has diversified beyond real estate, the segment where it started. With a current loan book of over Rs19,000 crore, it has provided financing needs across real estate and non-real estate sectors including energy, automotive dealerships, electronic surveillance and IT services.

The company currently caters to the entire capital stack, from early stage equity until later stage debt and construction finance for residential and both mezzanine or structured debt, as well as lease rental discounting for commercial office projects.

Five years since it was formed, it is one of India’s largest domestic fund management companies and has created separate platforms with leading global pension funds such as CPPIB (Canada Pension Plan Investment Board), APG and Ivanhoe Cambridge.

This year, Piramal Enterprises Ltd (PEL) moved all assets and liabilities related to lending to real estate and non-real estate projects to its unit Piramal Finance Ltd.

The restructuring came after PEL announced that it would apply to the National Housing Bank (NHB) to incorporate a housing finance company.

Piramal Finance now houses most of the financial services business of the group. The real estate investment business under Piramal Fund Management Pvt. Ltd (PFM) and the mezzanine funding unit, known as Structured Investment Group (SIG), were merged under Piramal Finance.

At present, the company is on a path to achieving $15 billion market capitalization and a $18 billion loan book by 2020.

The group also manages external funds with assets under management (AUM) of Rs7,315 crore, including in alliances with leading global investors.

Keeping in line with its growth target, the company runs various programmes at all levels including the junior, mid and top managements, with an aim to empower and push its employees to the next level.

For instance, while the company has been running year-long training programmes—ASCEND and SUMMIT—for mid and top-level managers respectively, it has also started a similar initiative called IGNITE for its junior managers.

Under these programmes, some of the brightest minds in the company are selected each year from various categories to undergo training for larger roles.

Khushru Jijina, managing director, Piramal Finance, said the intent of these programmes is to empower each employee and support them to reach the next level of growth in the company.

He attributed the company’s growth to the overall group philosophy of encouraging entrepreneurial spirit and claims that it has had zero attrition rate in the last three years. As he puts it, the company is constantly working on how to engage its employees and how to provide bigger responsibilities and roles to excite its employees.

The company has also received recognition for some of its in-house initiatives.

In 2016, Tata Institute of Social Sciences awarded Piramal Finance for its simulation-based learning programme created to provide training on finance to those who do not have a finance background.

The company also runs the Employee Social Impact (ESI) programme for its employees in partnership with the Piramal Foundation, with an aim to engage employees in a variety of social initiatives to benefit the society at large.