Kisan Ratilal Choksey
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A brief biography
In the early 1960s when a fresh commerce graduate in his 20s analysed companies’ balance sheets and annual reports, attended AGMs, quizzed managements and visited manufacturing facilities, not many were amused. The young man only wanted to understand companies better to invest in their stocks, but in the days when speculation and ‘gut’ ruled Dalal Street, stock research was an alien idea.
Kisan Ratilal Choksey, however, was sure he wanted to invest in stocks only after thorough research. Madras Cement (now Ramco Cement) and Bajaj Auto were two of his initial recommendations in which “my clients and I made good money”, he said. Choksey also believed in the ‘skin in the game’ principle. “I always believed in buying into companies that I recommended to my clients.” He still holds Bajaj Auto and the three offshoots of the Pune-based group: Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv and Bajaj Holdings. Some of his early picks also included Grasim, MICO (now Bosch India) and MRF.
After working for 18 years with M K Choksey & Co, an old broking firm run by his uncle, Choksey branched out on his own in 1979. He set up K R Choksey Shares & Securities. In the last six decades, Kisanbhai, as he’s fondly called on the Street, has chiselled his research-based stock-picking skills. “Even today I attend AGMs, read a balance sheet, speak to the company management,” he said.
Choksey was also a director of the BSE for eight years and a trustee of the exchange’s Investor Protection Fund for three. His mantra to prospective investors hasn’t changed: Understand the company, its business model and the management’s growth plan. And “in the current globalised world, one should also have a good understanding of the Indian economy and the world economy”, he signed off.