Richest Asian banker plans office but spurns crypto


MUMBAI • The family of Uday Kotak (picture), billionaire MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, is setting up an office to invest in assets including private equity, stocks and real estate worldwide.

“The funds will be deployed in asset classes other than debt and cryptocurrencies,” Venkat Subramanian, who will be managing the family office, said in an interview in Mumbai last week.

“We will also stay clear of any investment opportunities that will bring us in direct competition with the bank.”

While Subramanian didn’t disclose a figure, Kotak has about US$1.2 billion (RM4.81 billion) in cash and investable assets, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Most of the money was raised when he cut his stake in the bank to meet regulatory requirements.

The Mumbai-based banker, whose US$10.3 billion fortune makes him the eighth-richest person in India and the wealthiest banker in Asia, held about 30% in Kotak Mahindra Bank as of end-September, which is worth US$9 billion based on current prices.

That’s down from 33.6% in December 2016, a little before the Reserve Bank of India directed the company to gradually reduce the founders’ stake to 15% by March 2020 in line with guidelines for bank licences.

Subramanian, who is currently CEO at Infina Finance Pte Ltd, a US$470 million long-short fund that has Kotak and his bank as sole investors, is working with members of Kotak’s family to put in place a team to manage the office.