Saturday, June 11, 2005

Pune Darshan

With Buddies at Pune
Thats Me !

'Yours Truly'

That's Me !

Who invented instant noodles?

Who invented instant noodles?
Man Quite an Eye Opener !
Sure Makes me respect those slimy things more ... a lot lot more :)

The fuss of Standard and Poors India rating downgrade

The lowering of India's long term sovereign currency rating from BBB- to BB+ by Standard and Poor's opens up a can of worms for India's financial position . S&P said that the perception towards India's long term rating was below par. S&P also downgraded India's short-term local currency rating to "B" from the earlier "A-3".What does all these mean ?.Well, before all these one must know what is the Standard and Poor's rating all about and what does it signify. Standard and Poors is an organization which provides ratings and opinions about the capital markets.It mainly intends to quantify the creditworthiness of the players of the capital markets .S&P remains unbiased and analytical in disclosing the facts that make or break the trading trends across the world's capital markets. They provide the world's most reliable investment data,financial analysis ,creditworthiness ratings to all the potential
investors.The McGraw hill company traces its origin to the 142Yr old Standard's and Poor's . As on now Standard and Poor's operate in about 18 countries with 7 affiliate around the globe (including one in India).They comprise of over a 1000 analysts some of who are popular and respected investors and economists.

None of the S &P's rating signifies any kind of advice to buy or sell a particular investment tool either at a national or at an individual level. A respected outcome of the merger between Standard Statistics and Poor's Publishing, today S&P is the most respected and accepted
provider of financial statistics and data to the investors of interest.

Be it short term investment tools like equity or any kind of mutual fund that is aggressive or long term alternatives like government paper,corporate bonds,S&P rating has always been taken seriously ,if that particular investment option has been rated. Standard and Poor's has the most observed and commented United States portfolio index of S&P500 along with over $1.5trillion worth assets that have been indexed by various other indices . S&P has also been setting standards at various levels for financial sectors around the globe and also sectors like
Oil,construction ,software that have a close affiliation to the financial sector and the performance with in at the global level .
These set standards have also helped investors to be more focused in their investment decisions and accurately portray their 'risk-appetite' .S&P has been rating Bond transactions, holding companies and insurance.They have also evolved tracking mechanisms for the indices.
Standard and Poor's have been independent in their ratings ,they have no affiliation with any Govt. agents what so ever .The rating of S&P have been signifying the creditworthiness of the borrower This rating is devised on the information that is made available to them by the investors ,the borrower and the external 'prevailing' economical conditions.
S&P's , both the long-term and short term ratings is the quantification of the capability of the borrower to repay in the specified timeline and the notation just adds value to it.Alike the Indian credit rating firm 'Crisil' , a 'AAA' rating is the strongest which speaks the financial prowess of the borrower .A 'D' signifies the non-investment grade .Most of the S&P's ratings include a Plus or the minus sign providing the relative position of that which is rated with respect to other
rated instruments in that category. Hence a positive suffix would be that the instrument is likely to increase in creditworthiness and a minus means the opposite .

Given the fact that S&P's ratings are based on only those parameters that invoke investor confidence in transactions, the ratings reflects the position of the borrower in a rather absolute sense .All ratings are assigned considering all the aspects that define the creditworthiness - legal , past trends and other quantitative and qualitative measures .
The fundamentals are what that are used in quantifying the creditworthiness .
The ratings are assigned only after a thorough study of all the factors that determine the financial credibility of the 'client' , like the industry of concern, the fundamentals that drive the industry , the economic developments that can influence the creditworthiness of the country .
All the financial details (Public and non public) are considered in confidence and a team assigned to 'client' is headed by an analyst .The financial behavior of the company in terms of the kind of investments they consider to maintain liquidity and long-term stability in the company is considered .Also ,the management policies that the company adapts ,the
technological changes and the company'sstrategies to match up to them are also taken while calibrating. The issue does not end after a rating is done It is also reviewed as and when the conditions that effect the same are reviewed. A credit watch listing is prepared that is to be tracked and the analysis for the re-rating is undertaken .The 'client' keeps S&P informed about all the policy changes and changes in the way financial statements are prepared.

What happened in India?
Standard and Poor's had downgraded the India's Long-term local currency from BBB- to BB+ which in colloquial sense was equal to 'Junk' .They had also downgraded the short-term rating from A-3 to B .It was expected to effect the long term borrowing substantially but certainly not the foreign direct investment in India .With 3% of India's borrowing being comprised by foreign debt and 98% of the borrowings were done from within India.

To reduce the total borrowings government of India granted total freedom to carryon with pre-payments. Also that the fiscal deficit was more contained at the time of S&P downgrading as compared to the same time last year.

The Rating Guide
- AAA : Financially strong and would be able to meet commitments .
- AA : Very strong to meet financial commitments
- A : can meet financial commitments ,but is sensitive to economic upheavals
- BBB : Can meet the commitments but a little more sensitive to external factors
- BBB- : May or may not meet the commitments, almost of non investment quality
- BB : Would eventually become sensitive to extrinsic factors
- B : Extremly sensitive to external adversaries but currently can meet all the commitments
- CCC : dependent only on similar domain business opportunities
- CC : Highly vulnerable to all the forces
- D : Defaulted payments
- Investment Grade : AAA,AA,A and BBB
- Subject of speculation : BB,B,CC and C

Source : The official website The first two quarters also witnessed a good growth in exports, hence a good balance of payment position and an ability to make accelerated repayments to service the external debt.Also the Forex reserves were at a comfortable $62Bn .
Standard and Poor's has attributed the rate cut towards the increasing debt burden and also hoped further cuts if the reforms goes on in the current pace.

But, one school of thought voiced that the India's forex reserves was a record in itself if the economic and political upheavals were taken into consideration and also the fact that inflation was low. One aspect everyone was confident was that ,in order to increase the creditworthiness it was imperative to initiate faster reforms and quicker disinvestment .

The foreign currency rating still remains stable for India as far as S&P is concerned.
The fiscal deficit of India is actually a culmination of the state fiscal deficits .The downgrade would not effect the overseas business as the amount of foreign funds in Indian government paper was minimal and also that the rating on 8 Indian companies were stable(See box).

What about the markets?
The markets reacted by dropping 1.5% but gained later,the tech heavy equity dropped .But there was a fair amount of optimism considering the optimism of government being under pressure to disinvest smaller PSUs .The sensitive index of Mumbai was down by 0.9% settling at 3014 .

S&Ps eight Indian companies
- Indian Oil Corporation Limited(IOCL)
- National Thermal Power Corporation(NTPC)
- Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company(TELCO)
- Tata Power
- Larsen and Toubro Ltd
- Indian Railway Finance corporation
- Reliance Industires
- Power Finance corporation

Address By Azim Premji

Address by Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro Corporation, in the "Shaping Young Minds Program" (SYMP) organized by the All India Management Association (AIMA) in collaboration with the Bombay Management Association (BMA) on February 9, 2004 at NCPA in Mumbai on " My Lessons in Life"

Respond instead of Reacting: Azim Premji
I am very happy to be here with you. It is always wonderful to be with young people.

The funny thing about life is that you realize the value of something only when it begins to leave you. As my hair turned from black, to salt and pepper and finally salt without the pepper, I have begun to realize the importance of youth. At the same time, I have begun to truly appreciate some of the lessons I have leant along the way. I hope you will find them useful when you plan your own career and life.

The first thing I have learnt is that we must always begin with our strengths. From the earliest years of our schooling, everyone focuses on what is wrong with us. There is an imaginary story of a rabbit. The rabbit was enrolled in a rabbit school. Like all rabbits, it could hop very well but could not swim. At the end of the year, the rabbit got high marks in hopping but failed in swimming. The parents were concerned. They said, "Forget about hopping. You are anyway good at it. Concentrate on swimming." They sent the rabbit for tuitions in swimming. And guess what happened? The rabbit forgot how to hop! As for swimming, have you ever seen a rabbit swim? While it is important for us to know what we are not good at, we must also cherish what is good in us. That is because it is only our strengths that can give us the energy to correct our weaknesses.

The second lesson I have learnt is that a rupee earned is of far more value than five found. My friend was sharing me the story of his eight year-old niece. She would always complain about the breakfast. The cook tried everything possible, but the child remained unhappy. Finally, my friend took the child to a supermarket and brought one of those ready-to-cook packets. The child had to cut the packet and pour water in the dish. After that, it took two minutes in the microwave to be ready. The child found the food to be absolutely delicious? The difference was that she has cooked it! In my own life, I have found that nothing gives as much satisfaction as earning our rewards. In fact, what is gifted or inherited follows the old rule of come easy, go easy. I guess we only know the value of what we have if we have struggled to earn it.

The third lesson I have learnt is no one bats a hundred every time. Life has many challenges. You win some and lose some. You must enjoy winning. But do not let it go to the head. The moment it does, you are already on your way to failure. And if you do encounter failure along the way, treat it as an equally natural phenomenon. Don't beat yourself for it or any one else for that matter! Accept it, look at your own share in the problem, learn from it and move on. The important thing is, when you lose, do not lose the lesson.

The fourth lesson I have learnt is the importance of humility. Sometimes, when you get so much in life, you really start wondering whether you deserve all of it. This brings me to the value of gratitude. We have so much to be grateful for. Our parents, our teachers and our seniors have done so much for us that we can never repay them. Many people focus on the short comings, because obviously no one can be perfect. But it is important to first acknowledge what we have received. Nothing in life is permanent but when a relationship ends, rather than becoming bitter, we must learn to savor the memory of the good things while they lasted.

The fifth lesson I learnt is that we must always strive for excellence. One way of achieving excellence is by looking at those better than ourselves. Keep learning what they do differently. Emulate it. But excellence cannot be imposed from the outside. We must also feel the need from within. It must become an obsession. It must involve not only our mind but also our heart and soul. Excellence is not an act but a habit. I remember the inspiring lines of a poem which says that your reach must always exceed your grasp. That is heaven on earth. Ultimately, your only competition is yourself.

The sixth lesson I have learnt is never give up in the face of adversity. It comes on you suddenly without warning. One can either succumb to self-pity, wring your hands in despair or decide to deal with the situation with courage and dignity. Always keep in mind that it is only the test of fire that makes fine steel. A friend of mine shared this incident with me. His eight-year old daughter was struggling away at a jigsaw puzzle. She kept at it for hours but could not succeed. Finally, it went beyond her bedtime. My friend told her, "Look, why don't you just give up? I don't think you will complete it tonight. Look at it another day." The daughter looked with a strange look in her eyes, "But, dad, why should I give up? All the pieces are there! I have just got to put them together!" If we persevere long enough, we can put any problem into its perspective.

The seventh lesson I have learnt is that while you must be open to change, do not compromise on your values. Mahatma Gandhi often said that you must open the windows of your mind, but you must not be swept off your feet by the breeze. You must define what your core values are and what you stand for. And these values are not so difficult to define. Values like honesty, integrity, consideration and humility have survived for generations. Values are not in the words used to describe them as much as in the simple acts. At the end of the day, it is values that define a person more than the achievements. Because it is the means of achievement that decide how long the achievements will sustain. Do not be tempted by short cuts. The short cut can make you lose your way and end up becoming the longest way to the destination.

And the final lesson I learnt is that we must have faith in our own ideas even if everyone tells us that we are wrong. There was once a newspaper vendor who had a rude customer. Every morning, the Customer would walk by, refuse to return the greeting, grab the paper off the shelf and throw the money at the vendor. The vendor would pick up the money, smile politely and say, "Thank you, Sir." One day, the vendor's assistant asked him, "Why are you always so polite with him when he is so rude to you? Why don't you throw the newspaper at him when he comes back tomorrow?" The vendor smiled and replied, "He can't help being rude and I can't help being polite. Why should I let his rude behavior dictate my politeness?

In my youth, I thought of myself as a rebel and was many times, a rebel without a cause. Today, I realize that my rebellion was another kind of conformity. We defied our elders to fall in line with our peers! Ultimately, we must learn to respond instead of reacting. When we respond, we evaluate with a calm mind and do whatever is most appropriate. We are in control of our actions. When we react, we are still doing what the other person wants us to do. I wish you all the best in your life and career.

I hope you achieve success in whatever way you define it and what gives you the maximum happiness in life.

Those who win are those who believe they can.

Lets start with Who am I !

Hi ,
Its truly perplexing when I am asked to describe myself. Its like this, I am more like cipher, am in constant pursuit of making some sense out of myself . Had you known me any better you could not have agreed with me any more than what you do now; Puzzled? See what I mean!
But hey, I am not a number crunching neo-nazi weirdo all the same. I am a Bong from Delhi. Computer science did little to soothen my senses so I am now working in an american software consulting firm in Southern India. Not that it help much, I think.
Music is better alternative according to me. I really indulge in it fathoms deep.
you might be tempted to call me a pop-blue lover if you observe me on periphery , however in depth analysis reveals a craze for techno , alternative fusion , rock and Jazz. So tthat means all except metal & Heavy metal.
My hobbies are observing people and doing analysis. Comes close second is INVESTMENT ANALYSIS & BUSINESS FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS . Business esp. ones done with panache and elegance really amazes me.
I have this amongst my objectives in life , that I will help people do away with the connotation that you cannot do good business without giving the other person a bad deal !
Win - Win is my kindda trade !

Keep Rocking in the FREE World (as long as it lasts )
Cheers ,

PS : All my friends call me CHEETOS