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Fund Manager: Mrinal Singh (Mittul Kalawadia co-manager)
Investment Style: Mid Growth
Investment Process: The portfolio is positioned to benefit from the first signs of economic recovery. The fund managers ply a growth-at-a-reasonable price approach for selecting stocks.
Date of Analysis: October 2017
The challenges in managing a mid-cap fund are abundant.
While unpredictability in the equity markets is accentuated in this segment, factors such as constrained liquidity, limited coverage, and poor disclosures make mid-cap investing a tricky proposition. Hence, the need for a skilled manager and a solid investment process cannot be overstated. ICICI Prudential Midcap makes the grade on both counts. Mrinal Singh is a competent portfolio manager who has been in the job since May 2011. He has had extensive experience as an analyst in the small/mid-cap space. Unsurprisingly, intensive research forms the core of his investment approach. He fluidly combines top-down and bottom-up approaches to identify companies to invest in. Although the investment strategy here is intended to be growth at a reasonable price, Singh, given his expertise in value investing, tends to scout for stocks that are attractively valued.
Therefore, to complement his value bent, Mittul Kalawadia, who typically adopts a growth-oriented investment approach while investing, was appointed as the comanager here on April 2016. As per the fund house, both the managers share equal responsibilities on this fund now. This has also led to some tweaks in the fund’s investment process, though the broader strategy remains unchanged. For instance, an element of benchmark alignment has been introduced by reducing the extent of the portfolio’s deviation from its benchmark. Also, while selecting stocks, growth aspect is now given more prominence than before. Although ancillary, these changes would give teeth to the strategy.
ICICI Prudential Midcap Fund performance has been below average in peer-relative terms over the past few years, that is, from 2015 till 2017 so far. This is largely because Singh has positioned the portfolio for an uptick in the economic cycle, which is yet to happen. While we will evaluate how the comanagement shapes up in the fund going ahead, we continue to draw conviction from Singh’s presence at the helm of the affairs here. We believe his research-driven investment approach and executional capabilities would keep the fund in good stead.
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