He was a successful trader, investor, and businessman who had built his fortune entirely on his own, earning him the nickname “Big Bull” of Dalal Street. According to Forbes’ 2021 ranking of India’s billionaires, Jhunjhunwala came in at number 36 with about Rs 46,000 crore.
An Indian financier, trader, and Chartered Accountant by training, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was widely regarded as the industry’s preeminent investor in the subcontinent.
- Based on media portrayals, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala seems to have had a natural knack for success and to have only ever made wise decisions.
- Still, he claims that it was learning from his errors that made him a more successful investor overall. He believed that one of the keys to making it in the stock market was to be self-aware and reflective enough to learn from past failures.
- He supported approximately 400 schools because he believed in the need of education, especially for children from poor circumstances.
5- July-1960 to 14-August-2022
- The son of a Commissioner of Income Tax, Jhunjhunwala was born on July 5, 1960, into a family of Rajasthani Marwaris living in Mumbai.
- According to his last name, he hails from the Rajasthani tribe of the Jhunjhunu. After finishing up at Sydenham College, he enrolled in the Chartered Accountants Course at the Institute of India.
- Jhunjhunwala became interested in the stock market after hearing his father and his friends talk about it. His father taught him how to invest in the market but never provided him any money and forbid him to borrow from friends.
- Rakesh used his college savings to begin investing while he was still a student. Jhunjhunwala began in 1985 with a 5,000 investment and by 1986 he had made his first sizable profit of 5 lakh.
- He turned over almost 20-25 lakh between 1986 and 1989. His initial investment reached 11,000 crores by 2022.
- His single largest holding in 2021 was Titan Company, which was worth 7,294.8 crore. He was a partner in the asset management firm Rare Enterprises, where he oversaw his own investment account. (Source: Online and other readings)
- Among Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s many health problems were his kidneys and heart. At the unveiling of Akasa Air, he attended while using a wheelchair.
- On the morning of the 14, 2022, he began to experience some discomfort, which prompted his immediate transportation to the Breach Candy-Hospital in Mumbai. When medical personnel arrived, they pronounced him dead.
- Jhunjhunwala was so full of hope for India that, six days before he passed away, he predicted (to a business news channel) that Indian markets would continue to grow, albeit more slowly than before, regardless of what happened in the rest of the world. He claimed that a new era of prosperity had begun in India.
- Even in his final days, Jhunjhunwala, one of India’s most prominent philanthropists, never lost his optimism about India’s economic and political future.
His Fortunes and Last Days
- Even Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was not immune to failure in the stock market; some of his less successful investments include Mandhana Retail, DB Realty and Dewan Housing Finance Corporation.
- It was in Akasa Air that he placed his final wager, for which he received a 40% ownership share. When Akasa first took to the skies on August 7th, it was Jhunjhunwala’s last public appearance. Jhunjhunwa maintained his fondness for stocks belonging to the Tata group.
- The Titan Company that Tata founded was largely responsible for his fortune. In 2002, he made his initial investment in the jewellery and watch maker.
- Besides Tata Chemicals, he also owned shares in Tata Motors, Indian Hotels Company, and Tata Communications, all of which are part of the Tata group. Likewise, he saw his stock holdings in companies like Lupin and CRISIL increase by a factor of several.
- Jhunjhunwala took bigger risks in the private market, despite his notoriety for betting on public stocks. Profits poured in when three of the companies in his portfolio went public last year: Star Health and Allied Insurance, Metro Brands, and Nazara Technologies.
- In the seven years since Jhunjhunwala turned 55, his disclosed portfolio has increased in value by 76%, with the greatest gains occurring in the last two years. His reported holdings increased in value from Rs 8,431 crore in March 2020 to Rs 30,652 crore by August 2022.
- However, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s brilliance did not end there; he was also a shrewd trader, not just a long-term investor. In 2018, he claimed that short selling stocks had been a major source of his wealth, particularly during the 1992 Harshad Mehta scam.
- A “Midas touch” investor, as Forbes magazine put it. According to India’s Economic Times, he’s like the “Pied Piper” of the stock market. On the ‘Forbes’ list of the wealthiest Indians, he held a prominent position. The Indian news magazine ‘India Today’ dubbed him the “poster boy” for the market’s recent upswing;
- Rare Enterprises, the asset management company he founded, was one of his partnerships, and he served as chairman of Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., and Aptech Limited,
- He also served on the boards of directors for other Indian businesses. The Bollywood films English Vinglish, Shamitabh, and Ki & Ka were all produced with him as a co-producer. Akasa Air, India’s newest airline, launched in August 2022 with backing from Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.
- Jhunjhunwala has a passion for Chinese food, but he also enjoys eating at street vendors and eating dosa. But as a true Mumbaikar, he can’t get enough of pav bhaji. As a form of relaxation, he also likes to watch cooking competition shows.
(This piece was written solely for informative purposes. We make no claims of originality to the foregoing material. We are also grateful to the many websites where we were able to read in-depth accounts of Big Bull Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s life and career.)