Working as CFO at one of the topmost exchanges in the world, the National Stock Exchange of India, Yatrik Vin keeps himself motivated for his hectic job by nursing his creativity zealously.
“Never fly at a height of a sparrow or a crow, always fly at a height of an eagle,” was one of the most common advice that a young Yatrik Vin got from his mother at an early age. He recalls her saying, “the height will give you a fresh perspective of things so be courageous. Use that to keep moving forward and don’t lose your compassion for others.”
While his mother may have set the professional agenda for him early by giving him a dream, the one person that Vin believes he was most influenced by is his grandfather. A Gandhian he gave up his law practice under the British rule and turned to teaching in a school. “He was my guide and mentor,” Vin says. Simplicity, therefore, was a common code at home as a result of this influence. Vin recalls spinning the ‘charkha’ at a young age as his grandparents wore khadi all their life.
Born in a Gujarati joint family in Mumbai, Vin’s early years had no particular leaning towards finance. He was an exception in his family as someone who gravitated towards finance and economics as most of the other members of the family were following law, engineering or medicine as professions. Yet, once he had made his choice he took up finance with gusto.
-> FIRST JOB
->A LESSER KNOWN FACT
->OTHER DREAM JOB
In 1988, he started in his first job at the textile-based Khatau Group as an Executive Assistant to the Director (Finance). Simultaneously, he started teaching CA students at the Sukh Sagor Institute, Mumbai, a task that he continued with for the next 20 years. During that time, nearly 22,000 students passed through his classes.
Vin got his first taste of business failure and perhaps his first lesson in the importance of business agility when the company he was working with became financially unviable due to the introduction of synthetic textiles. Nearly 50 per cent of its revenues were through exports.
-> HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS
“As I was an integral part of the entire rehabilitation process, I think, at a very young age I had a chance to learn few of the key lessons around how economic forces can severely impact even the strongest of the business models as well as the nuances of project funding the way banks and financial institutions would look at and stringent financial and cost management discipline,” he recounts.
After three years of intense learning, he moved on to Raymond Group in 1991, another textile giant. Here he was responsible for the pre- and post IPO phase of one of the subsidiaries named Raymond Synthetics. He also set up the finance function here and was involved in project funding, empanelment of various banks and leading financial institutions in the consortium, designing systems and controls, auditing and assurance function etc.
Thereafter, his search for new learning experience landed him to a hard core engineering sector in Godrej Group at Vikholi, Mumbai. It was 1995 he was heading the finance function of two of the businesses namely Locks & Material Handling Equipment business. “I think, this (stint) gave me lot of insights and developed my skills into the successful entrepreneurship areas,” he says. Here he was involved in a project feasibility study which improved profitability by more than 45% due to higher efficiencies by shifting a part of the manufacture from Mumbai to Goa. Another key assignment involved handling all finance aspects of manufacturing and marketing tie up between Godrej Group and Crown Equipment Corporation, USA.
Having done it all, economics, his primary passion drove him to NSE, where he has been for almost 16 years. “The key economic purpose of any Stock Exchange is be catalyst in the economic growth of the country through right facilitation for mobilizing savings on one hand and capital formation on the other hand. It’s completely an evangelist kind of role that you play. This attracted me a lot.”
Financial performance too has been robust. NSE has maintained its profit margin consistently at 70 per cent and is a leader in market share of most of its products. The return on capital employed has consistently remained over 20 per cent since 2004-05.
With respect to future plans for NSE, he feels rather concerned that the percentage of household savings which flows into the equity markets in India has dropped to less than five per cent. In developed countries, it is between 15 per cent to 20 per cent.
“It is important that the infrastructure we have created over time helps mobilise savings of retail investors in a significant manner. We at NSE have a significant agenda in that direction.”
According to Vin this is a huge opportunity for further growth. “It is important that the state of the art infrastructure that we have created over the period of time helps mobilize the savings of the retail investor in a significant manner.” He believes that NSE still has significant unfinished agenda in this direction.
Yet it is not just finance and markets that drive Vin. He retains his passion for education and wishes to do carry forward his efforts in education, especially for underprivileged children. “Call it my hobby, passion or vocation, but this I believe would be my contribution to society.”
If he had not been a finance honcho, he reckons he would have been an interior designer as he points out that he has a significant creative streak. Catch him in the Mumbai monsoons and you will find him painting or writing poems in Gujarati. This is an interest he has nurtured since he was a college student in Mumbai.
Yet, in the midst of all the bustle life remains essentially simple. And that Vin believes is due to the atmosphere at home during his formative years. “In the world of finance you need to have strong value system, integrity and ethics,” he says. “When those are imbibed in your lifestyle you will be able to run the finance function with much more clarity and pleasure.”
Given his continuous interaction with the young finance professionals, Vin is rather optimistic about the future of the finance function.
He believes the young generation is full of potential, confidence, intellect and sharpness. “The only issue with this generation is that they live in the age of the internet where concentration wavers.”
Understandably so then that his advice to the younger generation is to “remain passionately focused on the higher sense of purpose and commitment.” And he adds in good measure that “readiness to do that extra hard work and avoid taking short cuts in life” is the full mantra for a happy and successful life.