For me, the first step was exactly 30 years ago...I resigned from Citibank on August 23, 1993.

It's been a long journey since; from getting the coveted BSE card to making it as the only investment professional in the 'Most Powerful Women' listing in Fortune.

Being a special day allows me the indulgence of going back into memory lane and some of the landmarks and turning points.

Starting with the memories of that long ago August day when almost everybody I met in the corridors of Citibank asked me, "Devina, what happened? You are looking so happy."

Step One was the membership of the Bombay Stock Exchange and suddenly the proverbial connecting of the dots in hindsight happened, to make my goal manifest against all odds!

Of course, the old-time Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) brokers didn't want outsiders but much of my past life came together to make it happen:

  • The 5 years I reluctantly spent in investment banking which gave me the required capital market experience
  • The two extra marks for my IIM gold medal that pushed me over the cut off
  • And then my experience as a credit analyst which became the launchpad for becoming a pioneer in security research

How long back that was can be seen from the famous HDFC Bank report, with my name as Member, BSE because those days only proprietorship or partnerships were allowed as brokers...not companies.

Then came the heady 90s as one of the top brokers to institutions, esp Foreign Institutions.

But again as the new learning began to fade towards the end of the 90s, I decided to go global.

And let me tell you, no person endorsed this move.

All experienced hands in global markets said it could not be done; that you could not research securities sitting remotely and even if you did, no one would listen to you on global companies... when they had all these old established Wall Street firms to choose from.

But I had faith in my craft and my analysis and that's how First Global became not just the first Indian but the first Asian firm (ex Japan) to go global with membership of the London Stock Exchange in 1999 and NASD the year after.

A new experience of understanding more complex companies, geographies and economies...most gratifyingly, being recognized for quality research by every single major publication in the world...Yes, it could be done😎

What next was the question and over time one became a bit restless with sell side work where even after all your analysis and conviction, the fund manager may not take the decision due to reasons of their own.

The logical step was to move to direct fund management.

Started that with Global assets in 2015 and then was trying to understand the best way of moving forward as the investment landscape itself changed.

The challenge was whether you adapt to the changes or become a fossil still chanting the mantras of the 80's and 90s when the world had totally transformed and required a new set of skills.

Do you continue to sell combustion engines cars forever, or move to electric vehicles?

So the next Big transformation was to move to a Human plus Machines system, driven at the core by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning where all the expertise gathered over the decades was coded into a rigorous machine system which could then be applied on a bias-free, noise-free basis on the entire universe of securities available.

These have been exciting times with returns of our both Indian and global Asset Management products being right on top of the heap.

The excitement of the business I entered 30 years ago has never faded for me because the learning has never disappeared.

Not many careers in the world where 30 years on you can still be learning everyday, where you don't know it all and you can't know it all. Your craft has to be constantly refined. That is the part that puts a smile on my face every morning.

And yes many miles to go before I sleep.

Need all your blessings🙏

From the desk of 

Devina Mehra

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