Jamshedpur, Nov 15: The Finance Association at XLRI (FINAX) recently hosted ‘GNOSIS 21’ – 12th Annual Finance Symposium. Usually held in India’s financial capital Mumbai, this year’s event was organised online owing to the pandemic. The event saw the participation of faculty, students and corporate delegates all over India. The theme was ‘Shifting Tides in Financial Services’.
The keynote address of the symposium was given by R Gandhi, former deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India. He illustrated the long history of technology and history ‘Jugalbandhi’ and how this time enabled by technological progress made over the past 20 years have made way for digital push in Indian banks. Backed with solid data gathering, he informed the delegates about how the shift to digital banking has ensured more inclusiveness.
Fr. Paul. Fernandes, director, XLRI highlighted how the recent financial crises have exposed inadequacy and vulnerability of the traditional mechanisms in managing risk, it is imperative that we have to look for newer and innovative ways to ensure safety of assets. He emphasised the new innovations in the banking system should act as a catalyst to reduce economic inequality and protect people’s hard-earned money.
Dr HK Pradhan, senior professor of Finance and Economics at XLRI articulated the greater role of banks in financial intermediation despite digital deepening and entry of payment banks. He highlighted the financial sector to have been quick and adaptive to technology, the digital penetration in transaction responding to lockdown, and the accentuation of risk capital finding their way into many emerging sectors in the payments system, including e-commerce, and innovative start-ups.
Later on day one, there was a panel discussion on India’s millennial era with mega IPOs. The panelists were Kaushik Guha, Co-founder, Hostbooks; Angel Investor for Ola, Housing.com, R Srinivasan, CIO and Head (Equity) of SBI Mutual Funds, Rajesh Sehgal, Managing Partner, Equanimity and Ajay Sharma, ET Now moderated the panel. The diversity of the panel with leaders from the institutional investing sector, private investments and PE ensured a healthy discussion, diving deep and explaining the difference on how they see the current boom in IPOs differently. They discussed the various trends underpinning the IPO frenzy that has been underway in India in the past year. The necessity to change the way how a business is valued was discussed in great detail. Instead of attacking the valuations, traditional investors need to keep an open mind and still need to focus on unit economics. Changing times now demand that we factor in the narratives built around the businesses in addition to the current cash flows.
In the last leg of day two, the symposium had a speaker session by Tahem Verma, Co-founder and CEO of Mesha, a decentralized social platform for investors. With deep knowledge about blockchain, cryptocurrencies and NFTs, he gave a masterclass on how to navigate the new world of tokens, stable coins, various use cases of blockchain and valuing the coins. His way of evaluating the tokens included the purpose that the tokens served, the team behind them and the hype around the tokens. He also warned that this could be another crypto bubble but opined that in the long run, cryptocurrencies would emerge as a substantial way to invest.