Ever since Anand Rathi Financial Services lost its senior high-profile equities team last year, a search for a person with prior experience in a foreign firm was on. The search ended early this month when it announced the appointment of Praveen Chakravarty to head its investment banking and equities segments.
Chakravarty had earlier helped BNP Paribas set up its India equities business. He had joined the bank in 2007 as the chief operating officer (COO) and head of research.
People who know Chakravarty say that he is not the usual market expert who relishes doling out numbers and projections. While spreadsheets are his forte, he is more known for his passion for public policy matters, said a managing director of a rival foreign brokerage. After staying with BNP Paribas for three years, he quit in 2010 to be a part of the government's ambitious Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) project as a volunteer for its financial inclusion initiative.
His stint with Anand Rathi will help the domestic brokerage in not only getting some big institutional clients on board, but also in the venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) space. Chakravarty is the co-founder of Mumbai Angels, which focuses on start-ups and early stage companies in need of VC/PE funding. Chakravarty, who is an alumni of BITS Pilani, also sits on the boards of many start-ups. In 2007, he was a founding board member and investor in Inmobi (earlier known as mKhoj) and has also invested in movie rental firm MadHouse that was acquired by Seventymm.
The MBA from Wharton School has earlier worked with technology majors Microsoft and IBM. He was also a part of the India team of Thomas Wiesel, a US-based investment banking entity. Interestingly, when he moved out of Thomas Wiesel to join BNP Paribas, Paribas was sued for around Rs 100 crore in damages for the defection of 20 other co-workers. The two firms eventually reached an agreement.
Chakravarty is joining Anand Rathi at a time when even the bigger players are finding it tough to sustain themselves in the market. So it remains to be seen if he will be able to work his magic. The stakes will be higher this time around since he also owns a piece of his new employer.