Published : Wednesday, 21 October, 2015 12:28 PM

Despite an early start and deeper penetration, PSU banks trail private sector banks on various counts, P J Nayak

 Industry leaders and policy makers debate moves needed to position India as the “Breakout Nation” at ISB’s Capital Markets Conclave ARTHA

The Indian School of Business (ISB), with campuses at Hyderabad and Mohali, hosted PJ Nayak, Former Chairman, CEO, Axis Bank and Sanjay Nayar, CEO, KKR as keynote speakers at Artha 2015 – ISB’s Annual Capital Markets Conclave being held in Mumbai. The conclave brought together some of the best minds at the forefront of industry, policy and academia. Artha 2015 is co-organised by students of the Finance Club at ISB and alumni.

The theme of the Conclave for this year was, “India in a Sweet Spot? - Initiatives required to emerge as a ‘Breakout Nation.’ Accomplished leaders debated various approaches to position India as a favoured investment destination, and the kind of investments needed to catalyse India’s growth and find out how India can become the next growth engine in Asia.

Delivering the keynote address, P.J. Nayak, Chairman of the RBI Committee on Public Sector Reforms and Former Chairman & CEO, Axis Bank, stressed there is much that still needs to be rectified with the public sector banks vis-à-vis the private sector. Notwithstanding the comparison on size, the private sector banks have been more innovative leading to their success. The key drivers for this success is their innovation on adaption of technology for operational efficiency, automated transactions channels, better sales and distribution channels and relationship management. For instance public sector banks own two third of the assets of the Indian banking sector, but generate only one third of returns, observed the head of the PSU banks reforms.

Public sector banks are facing a double whammy in the form of lower credit spread and lesser fee income than their private sector counterparts. Further it is a fatal flaw to impose the burden of social mandate on select banks. The social responsibility should be shared equally by all banks, private and public, alike, he added.

The first panel on ‘Role of banks and FIIs in financing long term growth’ comprising of Vikram Limaye, MD & CEO, IDFC, Harshvardhan, Global Partner & Head of financial services, Bain & Company, and Giri Jadeja, Head – Asia Financial Institutions group, IFC deliberated on whether India can become the next growth engine in Asia through banks acting as catalysts of growth in the next decade.

The panel, moderated by Krishnamurthy Subramanian, Associate Professor of Finance, ISB debated on the role of banks in driving domestic credit growth and how digital platforms can be leveraged to build banks of tomorrow. These transformations can enhance economic growth and impact financial inclusion.

Vikram Limaye, MD & CEO, IDFC, said, “There is a concern on how banks are governed in India and from a regulatory perspective, whether the banks have the authority to do what they are supposed to do. The system is still not geared up for a seamless credit structure.” Further, there is a need for the banking community to do banking in a different way. Technology is the key and more and more banking will be done on mobile handsets adding, “The whole ecosystem needs to be complete in terms of having the right tools, regulations and the governance structure.”

Speaking on the occasion, Sanjay, Nayar, CEO, KKR, “Industrial export numbers have declined and I expect this trend to show in the service sector as well, which is already being reflected in the IT sector results. He further added, “We need more absorption capacity in our capital markets to avoid asset price inflation. In the new GDP series, 7% GDP growth feels like a sub 6% GDP growth. It would be cynical to say that India cannot achieve 8%-9% growth in the new series, the only question is when?”

The second panel on ‘Attracting Private and Public Capital Flows vis-à-vis other Emerging Markets’ was presided by Manisha Girotra, Chief Executive Officer Moelis; Gaurav Ahuja, Director, Chrys Capital; Shankar Narayanan, MD, Carlyle; Vish Narain, Partner, TPG Growth; moderated by Viraj Mahadevia. The panelists spoke about private and public market flows throwing insights on India and other emerging vis-à-vis developed markets.

The recovery in US demand along with a possible solution to the Greek crisis can provide the much required boost to Indian exports to Europe and elsewhere. The panel widely agreed that amid sluggish growth in China, and indeed globally, the Indian capital markets can emerge as a favourite destination for capital flows. In the near horizon, this substitution effect will give a significant fillip to Indian economy.

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