John Pereira is passionate about opportunities for investing in India
After decades watching and waiting for India to fulfill its economic potential, Indian-born Fund Manager John Pereira believes there has never been a more exciting time than right now.
Following an early childhood spent in Mumbai during the 1960s, where the family maintains a home, Pereira was raised and educated in Melbourne before a long career in investment banking, funds management and law.
Bringing India’s investment opportunities to Australia is a lifelong goal, which he is preparing to do with India Fund Limited.
Pereira says few Australians understand the vastness of India’s recent changes, and wants the Australian government to make a free trade agreement with India a top priority.
What’s different about India’s economic resurgence this time?
The reason it’s different this time is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The mandate for change is huge, and already we’ve seen a massive turnaround regarding foreign investment. The world wants to do business with India.
India has seen a pick-up of investment, in its share markets, in business confidence and in GDP growth—the World Bank and the IMF both forecast that India will overtake China this year to become the world’s fastest growing major economy.
Is there a risk that progress will stall?
Modi’s party, the BJP, has a big majority and has won seven out of the last eight state elections, which gives us confidence that his direction is sustainable. To understand Modi you need to consider his track record as Chief Minister of Gujarat. Over 12 years under Modi Gujarat’s GDP reached 10.3 per cent year-on-year. It was a standout state in India known for free market liberalism with little government intervention. This period of what they call “Modi-nomics”, was transformative and showed he can get things done.
What are some defining features of “Modi-nomics”?
Cutting red tape, clamping down on corruption and opening India up to business are the main themes. The changes are far-reaching—already many billions in foreign investment is going into infrastructure. And they have made progress regarding ease of doing business—from May 2015 you will only need to lodge a single form to incorporate a business in India.
Do Australian-based investors have many options to invest in India?
There are currently very few options to share in India’s growth from Australia, which is a shortfall we hope to address with India Fund Limited.
As India takes the mantle of world’s fastest-growing economy it will be harder to ignore—in fact most of the rest of the world are already over there! Australia has been a little slower to catch on. That’s changing but I was disappointed to see our government does not think a free trade agreement with India is possible this year.
Why is now a better time to invest in India than the past?
I’ve always passionately believed that India will have its moment, and have watched its progress closely for a long time. I’ve seen a few false starts. But I’ve never seen such a strong direction as now. The response on the investment markets, and globally, has been incredible.
Most Australian investors have no exposure to the world’s fastest growing economy at all—the time is right for a dedicated allocation.
For more information about India Fund Limited, and a copy of the prospectus, please visit www.indiafund.com.au