How much is Enough?

Before I dwell into my journey of THINK HATKE, I wish to touch upon a very important Serial which has captured minds and souls of millions of Indian Investors. Reason I am bringing this up before anything else is that I relate to this Serial as I was part of the ecosystem when these events transpired. Also, it fits in very well with the Theme of my book – THINK HATKE.

Currently I am reading another book PSYCHOLOGY OF MONEY by Morgan Housel. In one of his Chapters, he has touched upon a TOPIC of what is ENOUGH. That also fits in very well with both THINK HATKE – and what is ENOUGH as a character depicted in this Serial.

I completely relate to combined wisdom of both these authors viz. Howard Marks and Morgan Housel and will share where our minds are meeting and how my journey was shaped on similar thought processes (though I had not read their books earlier when I was actually gathering experiences during my Advisory practice).

I am sure by now the readers have guessed as to which Serial I am talking about – none other than SCAM 1992 – Harshad Mehta Story which is being aired on Sonyliv.

I have interacted practically with all the characters depicted in the serial as I was part of the system at that time, dealing in Money Market Securities, US 64 Schemes, Tax free Bonds etc.

I had started my career in 1985 with a well-known brokerage firm called M/s V B Desai. I worked with them till 1987 and then joined another well-known brokerage firm called Jayantilal Khandwala & Sons from 1988 onwards.

Harshad Mehta was gaining popularity during this period and expanded his empire.

This is where Morgan Housel’s chapter resonates with me. What is ENOUGH? Morgan Housel gave the example of how Rajat Gupta had the world at his feet but he still thrived for more fame and money and cut corners to achieve that. Same was the story of Harshad Mehta – one man’s Greed and Ambition, his spirit of adventure and flirting by being on the wrong side of the law created disaster for the entire stock market in our Country. His ego was evident when he had decided to present himself shares of ACC at Rs. 11,000/- share on his birthday. Since he had artificially jacked the markets up with sheer liquidity (not his own), post the SCAM of 1992, Indian stock markets delivered no returns for more than a decade till 2002.

This brings me back to the topic of THINK HATKE – (THINK OUT OF THE BOX). Harshad did think Hatke and used the system to benefit himself. All of us who were part of the industry at that time had the same opportunity of using the funds available through the banking system, play the market for our own benefit and pay back the banks before anyone was any wiser. But there was only one Harshad Mehta who Thought Hatke – unfortunately, in the wrong direction and used the system to his advantage to satisfy his GREED and AMBITION.

Second Level of Thinking what Howard Marks has spoken about and GREED and what is ENOUGH what Morgan Housel has spoken about can be only relevant when one goes in the right direction with these thought processes. Once, someone uses these as short cuts to making money is when the real downfall of that individual starts.

Every individual is faced with such temptations in their lives. How you react, counteract, and not fall prey, will determine your long-term investment journey and successes and failures.

THINK HATKE should have positive connotations – which can benefit society at large and show your own Value Add to your target audience.