Sunday, 11 January 2009

The ಮಣ್ಣತ್ತೆಮ್ಮs in charge of your money

My mother, aunts and grandmothers have told me the story of ಮಣ್ಣತ್ತೆಮ್ಮ (clay mother-in-law) several times. In short it is the story of a newlywed woman who having come to her husband's house is not sure about how much rice she should be cooking each day. Unfortunately her husband's mother is also dead and there is no one to direct her. So she asks her husband for a mother-in-law who can tell her the right measurements. Now her husband brings her a clay figurine which holds both its hands with the fingers spread out indicating ten. So everyday before she cooks food for herself and her husband she asks the figurine how much she should be cooking and interprets the figurines gesture as an order to cook 10 ಸಿದ್ದೆ of rice each day. (A sidde is a unit of measurement equivalent approximately to two thirds of a litre. subject to correction.) Chaos ensues.

This parable finds a place in this post because the situation of common people who have some money to save/invest is comparable now to the situation of the daughter-in-law. In these troubled times, small investors who dabbled directly in the stock market burnt their fingers in the initial slump. Several others felt the need for an ಅತ್ತೆಮ್ಮ who they thought would be able to safeguard their investment by allocating it wisely. They went to Mutual Funds who they thought would have analysts dedicated to studying the markets and the industry and having a better idea than them about investments. As this economic times story shows several mutual funds went on to invest Crores of rupees of investors money in Satyam after the Maytas fracas. Thats right after Satyam is slimed by all for lack of corporate governance, all these MFs decide that the falling Satyam equities are an opportunity to make quick bucks and decide to jump in and buy about 1.7 Crore (1,70,00,000) shares in Satyam at a time when the price must have been around 180-190 Rs. I know that the disclaimer at the end of all their ads say that they are subject to market risks, but they never say that they are run by prize idiots. I can't find the link to it, but I can bring to mind another article in one of these all knowing financial newspapers which said a week before Raju's letter that it might be an excellent time to invest in Satyam because they have high cash reserves after the Maytas deal could not go through and in times of such recession, cash is king and cash holder is emperor.

All the new bride-investors blindly beleived their mother-in-law-analysts (Hope Ekta Kapoor doesn't get ideas... Kyunki investment banker bhi kabhi investor thaa) who ditched all common sense and seem to have gone in for the simple logic of buying it when it is cheap even if it is worthless.


Ashok Uchangi said...

Dear Vikram
It is an interesting story.your blog is also good.Keep in touch

Manoj said...

"...Thats right after Satyam is slimed by all for lack of corporate governance, all these MFs decide that the falling..."

For a while I thought you were calling them Mother Fuckers. I realized that it could be mutual funds also. what is it?

You wuz here