This fund isn't shooting out the lights but has put up a respectable return. Its 13-year performance is suggestive of a decent record with neither a blockbuster performance, nor a massive blow-up. Only one year (2000) did it land in the bottom quartile.
The fund's focus on fundamentals is its strength. It would be rare to come across any unheard names in its portfolios. If they did appear, it would be in miniscule proportions. Since the fund refuses to chase momentum plays that have the tendency to fall as dramatically as they rise, it steered clear of real estate stocks which had been in fashion in the last couple of years. This is precisely why the fund doesn't set the charts on fire, but neither does it give its investors sleepless nights.
Although this is encouraging, instability at the helm rarely benefits investors. The high degree of churn in fund management continues to worry. Under Anand Shah's leadership (since January 2007), the portfolio has become more focused with under 35 stocks, as against the earlier count of 50. Consequently, the concentration in the top three holdings has also gone up from 15 per cent to over 20 per cent. But once you realise that these holdings include Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel and ICICI Bank, any apprehensions on this front disappear.
Its theme of core and feeder industries is more diverse than what appears at first blush. Its inclusion of sectors as diverse as energy, transportation, financial services, infotech, healthcare, electricity, media and hotels, give it a more diversified slant. The large-cap tilt along with its concentrated portfolio and broad theme make it an appealing option.