Chandrakant Sampat
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Chandrakant Sampat (Honorary Member)
sampat@capitalideasonline.com

    Starting almost from scratch, simply by picking stocks and companies for investment, Chandrakant Sampat has amassed an enormous fortune. He is often referred to as guru, at least by all of us here at 'Capital Ideas Online'.

    A fitness freak at 70, his daily routine includes running a mile a day "in less than 8 minutes" he hastens to add. As if that is not enough, he goes and pumps iron at the Hindu Gymkhana, after that '8 minute' ordeal. Gulp!

    He comes across as being obsessed with money making, but don't be fooled by that façade, he is amongst the most objective and emotionally detached persons you are likely to meet in a life time. And that includes detachment with money. His emotional intelligence especially his ability to defer gratification is probably his most important strength. He leads a spartan lifestyle, usually travels by 'bus' (public transport), and doesn't bother to own an office. "All you need is a cheque book and a pen", he says.

    An autodidact, he is openly abhorrent of the educational system in this country, and is often cited as saying "knowledge is that which liberates and not captivates". That in fact is a translation of one of the shlokas from the great Indian epic, 'The Bhagwad Geeta', so many of which he recites verbatim. "Markets and mistakes are the best education. The conventional education just closes the mind", he declares.

    The one man who has had a lasting impression on him is none other than the greatest management theorist of all time, Peter F. Drucker. "If we achieve profit at the cost of downgrading or not innovating, they aren't profit. We're destroying capital. On the other hand if we continue to improve productivity of all key resources and our innovative standing, we are going to be profitable. Not today but tomorrow. In looking at knowledge applied to human work as the source of wealth, we also see the function of the economic organization", he resonates Drucker. Taking a clue from Drucker, every company is measured on a rigorous scale of productivity and innovation before forming a part of his portfolio. And it just doesn't end there. Every constituent in his portfolio is continuously challenged. Any stock that fails to measure up well against his metric, is given the boot. He gets every rupee to sweat for him.

    He seeks continuity amidst discontinuity and chaos. "Coke and Gillette have been around for many many years, and they are likely to be around for many more. I can't say that with any degree of certainty for technology, where the rate of obsolescence is very fast, where things change at warp speed". He is inclined to invest in businesses with sustainable cash flows, which he calls as 'The Inevitables'.

    His favorite quote, "No one is resource poor. We are all imagination-poor. We have no courage to dream" - Professor C. K. Prahlad. With evangelistic zeal he tells anybody who cares to listen, "De-bureaucratize the whole process of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) with only one condition, the Multinationals who seek entry into this country must get themselves listed on the Indian bourses. Imagine Microsoft India Ltd., Coca Cola India Ltd., Intel India Ltd., being traded here! Not only will this bring in US$ 80 billion of FDIs annually, but the stakeholder wealth/capitalism that ensues will actuate a virtuous circle where ideas create wealth, wealth creates consumption, consumption creates new ideas, new ideas create new wealth…"

"To be a good investor all one has to do is dream", he muses.

Chandrakant Sampat has been called:

India's Best Investor(s) (Business India)

...at 70 amongst the biggest and most respected investors in Mumbai… (Sucheta Dalal, Indian Express)

He can be reached at sampat@capitalideasonline.com