A leading name in the private equity investment sector, Ashish Dhawan has emerged as one of India’s richest investors and philanthropists. Forbes India recognised Ashish Dhawan as the NextGen Leader in Philanthropy. 

While you may know him as the co-founder of the Young India Fellowship program and of Ashoka University, and co-founder and owner of private equity firm Chrysalis Capital, Dhawan rose to riches from humble beginnings. The portfolio of Ashish Dhawan is rich with quality stocks that have catapulted his net worth to more than Rs. 2,200 cr. 

Let us delve into the journey of Ashish Dhawan and see the financial lessons that he can teach potential investors.

This article covers:

Early life

Born in 1969 in New Delhi, Dhawan completed his education at Yale University and later pursued an MBA from Harvard University. 

His career started in 1992 when he joined the Wasserstein Perella and Company, a Wall Street boutique bank. He took a break to study MBA, after which he joined Goldman Sachs in New York in the proprietary capital department.

Laying the foundations of his business

In the year 1999, Dhawan returned home to India. Here, he co-founded Chrysalis Capital along with his batchmate from Harvard, Raj Kondur. Chrys Capital was a private equity firm which was still a new concept in those times. However, the company managed to establish itself well and Dhawan himself became a brand personality. 

Within 5-6 yrs of commencement, Chrys Capital was already managing USD 1 bn. This made the company one of the largest funds in India.

Venturing into education and philanthropy

Dhawan’s journey into the education sector began in 2010 when he co-founded the Young India Fellowship program. The Fellowship is a one-year residential program in multiple disciplines that focused on experience-based learning to create the next generation of Indian leaders. 

In 2012, Dhawan established the Central Square Foundation, a grant-making organisation. The foundation is engaged in providing grants and acts as a policy think-tank aimed to improve the country’s education quality. Moreover, the foundation focuses on children’s education from the lower sections of the population. 

Furthermore, in 2014, Dhawan also co-founded Ashoka University with 40 other philanthropists. The university is the first of its kind liberal arts university in India.

Ashish Dhawan’s portfolio

With 20+ yrs of experience in investment management, Dhawan has constructed a solid portfolio reflective of his net worth. He holds 16 primary stocks, and the value of his top 10 holdings, at the end of the July-September 2021 quarter, stood as follows:

Name of the stockQuantity heldTotal value (Rs. in cr.)
IDFC Limited56,000,000290.4
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Limited5,100,000254.6
Birlasoft Limited5,000,000252.8
Greenlam Industries Limited 1,362,842242.3
Equitas Holdings Limited16,000,000197
Arvind Fashions Limited6,564,065192.6
Allcargo Logistics Limited3,901,827141.4
Zensar Technologies Limited2,794,686134.2
Quess Corp Limited1,586,510131.8
Source: Trendlyne

Latest changes in Ashish Dhawan’s portfolio

There have been significant developments in Ashish Dhawan’s portfolio in recent times. Have a look:

  • In October 2021, in a major sell-off, Dhawan sold his entire holding in Max Healthcare. In the April-June 2021 quarter, Dhawan held a stake of 1.42% in the healthcare company. His stockholding was valued at Rs. 450 cr. However, as the stock prices started plummeting, Dhawan off-loaded his entire stake in the company and liquidated his position.
  • In the July-September 2021 quarter, Dhawan booked profits in Birlasoft and reduced his stake from 2.88% to 1.8% sequentially.

Investment lessons from Ashish Dhawan

Dhawan has managed his portfolio effectively and increased it exponentially within a span of a few years. Here are some important lessons that you can learn from Ashish Dhawan’s portfolio:

Diversification always pays

Dhawan held six telecom companies in his portfolio and also invested in companies of other sectors. When the Dot Com crash happened, Dhawan’s portfolio suffered from acute exposure to telecom stocks. However, his investment in SpectraMind gave him attractive returns. These returns helped him set off the losses. Even the current portfolio of this investment guru is diversified across sectors. Hence, diversification is essential so that losses from one investment can be offset against gains from others.

Long-term investment is profitable

Dhawan invested in Mphasis when the market price was Rs. 350. After that, the stock prices plummed sharply to Rs. 50. Rather than panicking, Dhawan held onto his stock with rock-solid belief in the company. The same Mphasis stock, later, earned him 5x returns. 

So, even when the markets turn volatile, they largely dilute in the long term. If you have invested in sound companies, do not fear fluctuations. 

Understand the company that you want to invest

Dhawan has incurred his fair share of losses by investing in sub-par stocks. However, these failures taught him the lesson to study the company judiciously before investing and the importance of monitoring. When Max Healthcare stock started falling at the markets, Dhawan was able to make an informed choice to exit from the company and cut down his losses without remorse. 

So, before investing your hard-earned money, understand the basics of the company that you are investing in. Moreover, realise that all trades will not result in great returns. It is better to cut your losses early on than wait for corrections to happen.

Conclusion

Ashish Dhawan is one of the biggest stars in the investment world. Through hard work and failures, he has carved a name for himself in the market. Besides being a smart investor, he is also a wise entrepreneur and a big-hearted philanthropist. With his endeavours in social welfare causes, Dhawan has constantly been giving it back to society. You can take valuable lessons from his life and investment journey and create a profitable portfolio for yourself too. 

Manonmayi

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