Senior ICICI banker to join PE firm India Value Fund Advisors
Photo Credit: Ankit Kumar/VCCircle

Sector-agnostic private equity firm India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA) has hired a senior executive from India’s top private lender ICICI Bank Ltd as it is looking at a bigger play in the financial services space.

Besides independently approaching ICICI Bank veteran Rajiv Sabharwal, as first reported by VCCircle, the PE firm has roped in Maninder Singh Juneja.

Juneja recently stepped down from his role as retail business head - ICICI Bank and is currently serving his notice period at the bank, people familiar with the development told VCCircle.

“A number of people from across industries had approached him with a job offer but he has gone ahead and decided to join IVFA. He is likely to follow one of the two strategies – to serve on the board of a couple of companies or help the PE firm acquire another finance firm and grow it to a new level," said a person close to the matter.

An ICICI Bank spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email query sent late on Tuesday evening, on Juneja’s exit.

Last month, ICICI Bank had announced top-level management changes, naming Anup Bagchi as head of retail banking to replace long timer Sabharwal who also served as a board member . Bagchi, who was managing director and CEO of the bank’s investment banking and brokerage arm ICICI Securities Ltd, will also become executive director to take over the seat vacated by Sabharwal.

One person said Juneja had decided to step down months ahead of the management shuffle in the retail banking unit in October.

 But Vishal Nevatia, managing partner, IVFA, confirmed the development and said that Juneja would be joining the firm by 1 January, 2017.

“He will be focused on financial services and will initially help us identify right business opportunities. Based on his insights, we plan to acquire a few financial services businesses. Once these businesses have been acquired, Maninder will full time lead one or more of these businesses as CEO/managing director,” he said.

He added, “Also, we have now interacted with Maninder closely for over one year and we find his vision and values compelling and well aligned with IVFA.”

Juneja will bring to the table over 15 years of experience in financial services space, with the last 10 years being spent at ICICI Bank. Previously, he has also worked at GE Capital India as head of retail assets and Godrej Group, as branch manager.

When contacted, Juneja acknowledged that he has made up his mind on joining IVFA but declined to comment any further on it.

His addition would add some more financial sector experience to the existing team at IVFA. While Nevatia is the head, the PE firm counts eight partners and five managing directors besides other mid-level executives in its team.

Juneja would be the sixth managing director of the PE firm.

The senior executives are spread across both ‘fund management’ and ‘business management’. The former is responsible for identifying emerging industries; identifying, evaluating and concluding investments; monitoring and identifying acquisition opportunities, balance-sheet management for portfolio companies and managing exits.

The business management team provides an operational perspective to the underwriting process and engages with portfolio companies in attracting and mentoring talent, evolving business strategies, developing and monitoring business plans, and facilitating institutionalisation of business processes, as per IVFA’s website.

Eye on financial services

IVFA, which primarily invests across sectors such as consumer & media, infrastructure services and healthcare, has made a few investments in the financial services space.

Its most recent bet on the sector was last year when it invested in public-listed Kolkata-based NBFC Magma Fincorp Ltd.

However, it has also curated what it calls a central management company under FINCARE that aims to build a portfolio of businesses focused on providing financial revenues to those at the bottom of the social pyramid. This unit has jointly with IVFA invested in Future Financial Services Ltd in south India and Disha Microfin Ltd in Gujarat.

In the past, however, IVFA had invested in Centurion Bank of Punjab in 2006. It exited the investment three years later after it was merged with HDFC Bank Ltd.

Indeed, the firm has put its might behind building an even stronger portfolio of financial services companies. It is out to acquire housing finance business and other such companies depending on the market condition, deal dynamics and how it fits into the game plan of IVFA.

“Under Maninder’s leadership, our objective is to create a large and one of the most admired, new age tech centric financial services business over the next 5-10 years,” IVFA’s Nevatia said.

He added, "Over the last four-five years, IVFA has been investing and building sector expertise in healthcare services, financial services and consumer businesses (B2C). We now plan to add technology products and services as a fourth vertical.”

IVFA, which is particularly known for its investments in healthcare space, has been a strong investor over the last 16 years by investing over $1 billion in more than 35 Indian businesses. It has so far launched five separate investment funds with a combined corpus of over $1.8 billion and is currently investing out of IVF - V, which has a corpus of $682 million. The latest fund was raised last year.

IVFA was also in the race to acquire ICICI Home Finance, the housing finance arm of ICICI Bank. Baring PE Asia and IVFA had made a joint bid and were seen as leading the race to ink the deal. However, the two pulled out of the race over the course of last two months over some terms of the deal.

People familiar with the development had earlier said the Baring-IVFA duo had approached Rajiv Sabharwal – to spearhead the home finance venture besides monitoring other investments in the space even when they were in the middle of negotiations for the proposed acquisition. Sabharwal, who is currently serving his notice period at ICICI Bank, had earlier said that IVFA is one of the options for his next move.

The stake sale process of ICICI Home Finance, a wholly owned subsidiary of ICICI Bank, had previously received bids from several investors including Piramal Group, Baring PE Asia, IVFA, Carlyle Group, AION Capital Partners, Morgan Stanley and Tata Capital.

This process has been going on for more than a year now and is yet to see a closure.

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