OB: It’s ironic that 2020 means perfect vision but our window into it remains foggy. We are in an uncertain territory where every lead indicators are either at a new low or heading there. So how do you think this will play out?
Rajesh Saluja, CEO and managing partner, ASK Wealth Advisors: It is during crises like these that you end up finding gems. Yes, our economy has weakened over one year, but that’s an outcome of the structural reforms such as GST (Goods and Services Tax) and demonetisation, which has been further accentuated by the NBFC crisis. Every year there is some noise. You can’t avoid equities. It’s all about making the right choices. Even in an uncertain year, equities have fetched 13-14% return. Even in real estate there’s opportunity; it is getting better to invest as a fund and not directly in property. Gold also remains a fair option from an allocation perspective, but equity is by far the best asset. Fixed income has been a challenge and we have always believed that it is far riskier than equity. Unfortunately, clients chase higher returns in debt, and that is where we get stuck. So, you have to guide clients to remain focused on safe investments.
OB: So, are clients convinced that this is a good time to shop?
Saluja: Smart clients have been making equity allocations over the past few months. Even if you look at retail clients, they are not timing the market, but are investing systematically through SIPs. So, anyone who has is seasoned and has seen two or three cycles still has a larger allocation in equity. People are shying away from alternatives such as real estate. In fact, we are finding it hard to get clients to invest in real estate funds due to a negative pe