An exclusive interview with Sankarsh Chanda, Founder & CEO of Savart, India’s leading Investment Advisory
In the dynamic world of finance, Sankarsh Chanda, the visionary Founder & CEO of Savart, stands as a luminary guiding the path to financial success. With a transformative journey that has catapulted Savart to the pinnacle of India’s investment advisory landscape, Sankarsh brings a wealth of insights and innovation to the table.
As the mastermind behind Savart’s evolution from a digital-only platform to the leading investment advisory firm in India, this interview promises a deep dive into Sankarsh’s entrepreneurial journey, his vision for the future of asset management, and the unique strategies that have propelled Savart to the forefront of the industry.
Can you share a bit about your personal and professional journey that led you to establish Savart?
Sankarsh Chanda: From a young age, I was driven by curiosity, often turning to books and articles for insights. An article on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham directed my interest towards stock markets. Graham, known for his meticulous company evaluations, stressed the value of real-world company performance over market volatility.
Motivated by this, I started investing through my sister’s DEMAT account, using my scholarship money, and deepened my understanding by analysing balance sheets of various emerging companies, including international ones.
Kindly brief us about your company, its specialization, and the services that it offers?
Sankarsh Chanda: Savart is an innovative asset management firm that uses its proprietary APART AI technology to simplify long-term investing in stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and gold for investors in India, the U.S.A., and Canada. This technology automates the investment process across asset classes and regions, making wealth creation accessible and straightforward.
• Investment Advisory: Advice for investments starting at INR 1,000 through the Savart app & website.
• Portfolio Management Services: Fully automated long-term investment through the ‘Ad Astra Fund’.
• Personal Finance: Comprehensive financial planning services
• Nirvana: Personal finance & investment education
The fact that Savart is now one of India’s largest investment advisors is a testament to our focus on driving alpha creation through innovation.
What is your biggest USP?
Sankarsh Chanda: APART is the sole & final investment decision maker at Savart. Asset classes covered: Stocks, Mutual Funds, Bonds & Gold .Our advice has a positive bias towards stocks over other asset classes. We believe in making long term investments. We define long term as a period > 5 years. Our favourite holding period is ‘forever’.
We prefer to maintain concentrated portfolios & make big, infrequent bets. Our strategy is ever evolving and open to new ideas because inflexible strategies die quickly. We are generally sector, industry, geography, and market cap agnostic. We do not recommend ‘something new’ every day or month just because we have to.
There are many occasions where we recommend ‘averaging’ or ‘repurchasing’ the same investments. Inaction generally works better than action in investing. We avoid ‘timing’ our purchases and exits to perfection and instead rely on asset fundamentals to make such decisions.
How does Savart differentiate itself in terms of the services it offers compared to other investment advisory firms?
Sankarsh Chanda: Personalized investments: APART computes & analyzes individual risk tolerance and financial goals to create personalized investment advice. Savart’s proprietary EFGTM system uses psychometric & behavioural indicators to create a dynamic & accurate profile of each individual investor.
Eclectic & fast research: APART allows the creation of multi-asset & multi-geographic portfolios in a span of seconds, which otherwise takes a human research team a few months to simply research. The amount of data that APART crunches in a minute is more than what an individual research analyst could in a lifetime.
Real-time monitoring: It is not just important to invest right, but also keep a close track of all investments to ensure there is no significant deviation from the initial thesis or rationale. The challenge of overload of irrelevant information is easily surmounted by APART.
Trust & transparency: While the economic, business and educational challenges of helping individuals invest for the long term are tremendous, our adherence to ethics, transparency and doing the right thing have created a reliable atmosphere for investors to share their dreams with us.
Performance: While our tech may be amazing, what matters most is what we were set out to achieve i.e., Alpha. Our performance track record since September 2019 till date has generated alpha in excess of 100% over the benchmark NIFTY 50 index.
What is the core investment philosophy that guides Savart in providing advisory services to clients?
Sankarsh Chanda: APART is the sole & final investment decision maker at Savart. Asset classes covered: Stocks, Mutual Funds, Bonds & Gold. Our advice has a positive bias towards stocks over other asset classes.
We believe in making long term investments. We define long term as a period > 5 years. Our favourite holding period is ‘forever’. We prefer to maintain concentrated portfolios & make big, infrequent bets.
Our strategy is ever evolving and open to new ideas because inflexible strategies die quickly. We are generally sector, industry, geography, and market cap agnostic. We do not recommend ‘something new’ every day or month just because we have to. There are many occasions where we recommend ‘averaging’ or ‘repurchasing’ the same investments.
Inaction generally works better than action in investing. We avoid ‘timing’ our purchases and exits to perfection and instead rely on asset fundamentals to make such decisions.
How does Savart tailor its advice to meet the diverse investment goals and risk appetites of its clients?
Sankarsh Chanda: Bespoke asset management and personalized portfolios were traditionally available only to high net worth investors. However, Savart has democratized personalized asset management at scale thanks to its APART system.
The personalization of the portfolio is governed by our proprietary psychometric risk profiling system, termed the EFG (Emotional, Financial & General Analysis). This helps us understand the risk tolerance, financial behaviour, financial goals & expectations of the investor using 20+ behavioural metrics. This is especially essential given that most clients may not always be able explain their investment needs & risk appetite precisely through the traditional Q&A format of profiling.
The customization of portfolio may reflect changes in inter asset allocation, intra asset allocation, geographic allocation or investment strategy that is recommended for each client. This ensures that the advice received aligns with the needs of the investor.
The world of investments can be complex. How does Savart contribute to the financial education and empowerment of its clients?
Sankarsh Chanda: Savart Financial Advisory has recently introduced “Nirvana,” an edu-tech platform dedicated to enhancing financial literacy. Nirvana operates as an online learning platform, delivering in-depth and engaging content covering a diverse array of financial subjects. Tailored to accommodate learners of various ages and backgrounds, Nirvana aims to make financial education accessible and comprehensive.
This initiative reflects Savart’s commitment to empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complexities of personal finance. Through Nirvana, users can access a wealth of educational resources, fostering a better understanding of financial concepts and promoting informed decision-making.
Given the inherent risks in the financial markets, how does Savart approach risk management for its clients?
Sankarsh Chanda: APART analyses the risk on client side using the EFGTM system while it conducts numerous quantitative, qualitative & forensic checks on the investment side using the Quant & Iris systems. Data from con-call transcripts, annual reports, news articles & thousands of other sources constantly pour into the APART database where business, currency, geopolitical, environmental, competitive, and regulatory risks among others are thoroughly assessed.
While we are careful with risk, we don’t go overboard or obsess about risk reduction given that investment in quality businesses and patiently holding them is alone sufficient to improve probability and quantum of wealth creation in the long term.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give to individuals looking to make sound investment decisions?
Sankarsh Chanda: Savart stands as an outlier in the asset management space amongst hundreds of firms peddling speculative advice and lure of get-rich-quick schemes among innocent investors. It is our belief in educating a client before investment and maintain transparency post investment.
We launched the Nirvana program to help spread the idea and importance of research based investing through online-offline courses & free reading material.
On the asset management front, APART AI monitors millions of data points and conducts trillions of computations to make a single investment, much more than a human analyst or fund manager can ever fathom.
Are there common misconceptions about investing that you often encounter, and how does Savart address them?
Sankarsh Chanda: A few common misconceptions are mentioned below:
- I need to time the market to be a successful investor: Savart believes that it is impossible to time the market consistently. Instead, Savart focuses on long-term investing and asset allocation. Savart creates investment portfolios for its clients that are designed to generate superior returns over the long term, regardless of market conditions. The focus must remain on long term investments.
- I need to a lot of money to invest: Stock market is now democratized and accessible to all investors with investments starting at INR 1000 as well.
- Stock market is the way to get rich quick: There is no free lunch in the world and definitely not in the stock market. Patience and thorough research is imperative to achieving investing success. Savart’s asset management services both save time and also conduct thorough research, thus improving odds of profitability.
- Stock investing is too complicated & is a gamble: Anything that is done without understanding is a gamble. People often end up making short term bets in the market without proper due diligence, which are certain to go sour.
In our conversation with Sankarsh Chanda, Founder & CEO of Savart, the narrative unfolds with a compelling blend of vision, expertise, and foresight. Sankarsh’s insights into the intricacies of investment advisory services offer a rare glimpse into the mind of a leader shaping the future of finance in India.
As Savart continues to redefine the landscape of wealth management, Sankarsh’s commitment to innovation and client empowerment shines through. This interview not only captures the essence of Savart’s success but also serves as an inspiring testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that propels individuals like Sankarsh Chanda to the zenith of their respective industries.
As we conclude this enlightening conversation, one can’t help but anticipate the continued impact that Sankarsh and Savart will undoubtedly have on the ever-evolving world of investment advisory services in India.
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