Jay Kotak, spearhead of neobank initiative, introduced to investors

Jay Kotak, co-head at Kotak811.
Jay Kotak, co-head at Kotak811.

Summary

  • Uday Kotak formally introduced his son to investors and analysts at an event, signalling a new era at the bank

Jay Kotak, 32, son of billionaire banker Uday Kotak, stepped into the limelight last week, three years after joining the private bank his father founded as a non-bank lender more than 35 years ago.

Uday Kotak formally introduced his son to investors and analysts at an event, signalling a new era at the bank. Jay Kotak, 32, currently co-heads Kotak811, a fintech neobank incubated within Kotak.

“I can see a lot of our business continue in the business of horses. There are many of our businesses transforming into the business of cars. Some of them are speeding up. A lot of money is being made from the business of horses. We have to leverage the speed. A customer is far more comfortable with a car. Talk to any consumer, and their transaction has moved to online and mobile. It tells you that change is underway," Uday Kotak said at the event.

Jay Kotak had joined Kotak Bank as executive assistant to retail banking head Shanti Ekambaram. He became co-business head of Kotak811 last year and now leads a 104-member team.

A Harvard Business School graduate with a bachelor’s in history from Columbia University, Jay Kotak has previously worked in consulting firm McKinsey & Co., investment research at an equity fund, and an investment banking internship at Goldman Sachs.

Jay Kotak quoted his professor Clay Christensen on the need for large businesses to incubate autonomous units and self-disrupt rather than being disrupted from outside. Kotak811, he said, is an example of this theory, focussed on engagement and cross-selling.

“Kotak811 is a full-stack digital bank within Kotak. Our customers are valuable and sticky, resembling branch banking customers. We have technology and data at the core. We have strong unit economics compounding at scale with 4.5 years of customer breakeven that is going down," he told analysts and investors.

Analysts said the market will now monitor succession planning at Kotak Bank.

“Jay Kotak comes across as a young enthusiast, but he has a long way to go to gain business acumen and democratic leadership skills. We will be closely watching the succession planning, with possibly two executive directors in the fray (K.V.S. Manian/Shanti Ekambaram) for the managing director’s position and the impact, if any, of potential holdco norms by the RBI," a report by Emkay Securities said last week.

Still, not many analysts are impressed with the performance of Kotak 811 over the last five years. While it has been a key customer acquisition engine, analysts feel that much of the improvement in the current and savings account (CASA) ratio to 61% from 44% in FY17 and the SA ratio to 40% from 26% was mainly done by its higher savings account rate of 6% offered over these years.

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