If there is one name outside the Big K trio (read: Kotak, Kampani and Kothari) in Mumbai’s financial district that evokes the same clout in business circles, it is Enam and the key man behind the brand is Vallabh Bhansali.
A chartered accountant (and a rank holder to boot) by profession with a degree in Law, Bhansali has over two decades association with the Indian capital markets. The man, who is a trustee of Bombay Stock Exchange, is a practitioner of Vipassana meditation, a form of insight meditation that seeks self-transformation through self-observation and introspection.
This could have kept him waiting for a better timing to press the exit button when others either sold off (like Hemendra Kothari to Merrill Lynch) or who went their own way after building a strong brand with foreign partner (Nimesh Kampani severing ties with Morgan Stanley).
Having over 25 years of association with capital market and investment banking, Bhansali has sat on various policy making or advisory bodies including several committees of market regulator SEBI (including primary market committee) and the first index committee of Bombay Stock Exchange. And not for nothing. The 59-year-old has seen through some of the biggest domestic deals and public floats over the past two decades. Indeed, he was the key architect who ensured the Infosys initial public offer did not bite the dust almost 20 years ago . The rest is history.
He is also believed to be personally involved in several large M&A transactions including the high-profile deal where AV Birla Group snapped up L&T’s cement business to create a local commodity behemoth.
Given his close association with the market, it is not surprising that he will be an important member of the Axis board as a part of the all stock deal that gives Enam group one board seat in the country’s fourth most valued lender. Needless to say, his close involvement will make Axis Bank a bigger force to reckon with in the space of investment banking and corporate finance.