BMR Advisors, a professional services organization offering services in the area of tax, investment banking and transactions advisory recently announced a new top leadership structure with Mukesh Butani being elevated to the role of Chairman of the firm. As a part of the planned transition, Bobby Parikh, founder of the firm will now serve as Chief Mentor and in that capacity will provide inputs and guide the firm’s strategy.
Bhutani would essentially act as the CEO of the firm working with the heads of all its practice areas. As part of new leadership structure, the firm also announced the appointment of Gokul Chaudhri as national leader for the Direct Tax practice. Rajeev Dimri will be the new Indirect Tax service line leader.
An extended leadership team- comprising of Abhishek Goenka who will lead the role of Partner – Markets, Frank DSouza, Partner – Business Planning and Risk Management, Vivek Gupta as Partner in charge of people matters and Sujit Ghosh, Partner responsible for leading the strategic initiative in the Tax Litigation and Legal Documentation space will perform identified strategic functions core to the firm’s growth strategy and in turn help the Chairman-led Operating Committee comprising of the service line leaders.
VCCircle’s Shrija Agarwal caught up with Bobby Parikh, to get a low down on the transition and his views on the emerging deal market.
How does one read into this transition?
I am in no ways hanging up my boots. Now, all my operating responsibilities are handed out to Mukesh who has taken over. I, effectively, will be very much in the firm as I have always been and keep serving the clients on a regular basis. I will remain engaged from a strategy perspective and remain looking at our key clients accounts and clients satisfaction and such areas. This transition was planned as part of our internal processes to occur at some point of time and this is what has happened now.
If you look at the big four since they are more representative of the professional services firm, there is always a rotation which occurs typically in every five years. A rotation is very much part of the organization from a best practices point of view. It brings fresh energy and drive to whatever is going on.
What are the other areas we will see you getting actively involved into?
I am on the boards of a few companies which is external to BMR Advisors and which is something I will continue to do. Also, I am on the government committee which will also take some of my time over the next 18-24 months.
You have been one of the founders. What has been the vision of the company and do you think BMR has achieved it?
Building an organization of this kind was not something in which we had a prior experience. We have always been a part of large organizations. If we look back six and a half years back, we have built a reasonably good franchise for ourselves. Our vision was to create a good professional services organization. Building a global organization was never the vision as it is something difficult to aspire for and execute. We felt that there was a room within the professional services domain to raise the bar as an advisory firm and create a niche for ourselves. That has been the proposition, our vision, from the beginning.
If you look at Avendus or other boutique advisory firms, they have expanded into various practice areas. Do we see BMR getting into other segments or Is it a conscious decision to stay niche and focused?
At this stage, the thinking is to stay focused in what we do. There are two-three areas which will be very relevant going forward. Transactions both from an origination perspective and providing support around it in terms of structuring, advise etc.- this will be a dominant area of focus. The other is controversies & litigation which we are focusing on and are building capabilities. The third specific vertical is transfer pricing which we see growing in relevance as time goes by. The fourth area is corporate restructuring for which we also see significant activity going forward.
We started off with some practice areas in mind and really the objective has been to build a franchise in the areas which we knew the best. We needed to get BMR established and get visibility as an organization. There is a certain way in which we wanted to be known. Everything will be evolutionary and not that we will always remain static.
Do we see you getting into angel investing?
I don’t consider myself as an investor. i have reasonable advisory capabilities but good advisory capabilities does not necessarily translate into good investing capabilities.
What is your view on the current dealmaking environment?
Deal making would be mainly mid-market going forward. Businesses will grow and the deal size will gradually climb and we are already seeing large transactions which are invariably more rampant in the publicly listed companies space. So as the economy grows from a $1 trillion to $4 trillion, we would see deal sizes growing. But the number of mid-market deals will always be many times larger than big deals.
I think the big trend currently is that environment is becoming more complex with the competition. Deals take very long to close which is more unique to India than being reflective of any other M&A market , so you need sustaining power to get deals across the line and that’s a challenge. The mind set has to evolve. Indian promoters still have the psyche that ‘we can’t sell the business that we have established’. That dynamic makes the deal execution very complex.
We are also seeing a lot of MNC’s paying very high premium for buying Indian companies. Is it because they see it as the last ditch opportunity to get into India without missing the bus?
India happens to be one of the few markets that sees growth. All the mature economies are stressed and are seeing relatively flattish growth. If companies need growth, they need to go to markets where growth happens.