'Age' is making Rakesh Jhunjhunwala risk averse, but not less sexist

'Age' is making Rakesh Jhunjhunwala risk averse, but not less sexist
  • India's iconic stock picker Rakesh Jhunjhunwala made a sexist joke.
  • He called 'long-term investing' the wife, and 'short-term' speculation, the 'mistress'.
  • This is not the first time the investor worth $2.7 billion has made an example of women.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is India's most famous stock picker, and the largest individual investor in the country's share market. But even the man who is reportedly worth $2.7 billion is feeling more nervous with age.

"I must put 5-10% of my money into (savings products)... age is catching up, and I should limit my risk appetite," Jhunjhunwala said on Wednesday. This is a person who admittedly loves to gamble.

He has a fixed deposit of ₹50,000 ($700) in a bank and ₹ 1 crore in public provident fund, while rest of the investments are in equities. Now, he wants to leave behind 5% of his fortune in fixed deposits for his two kids-- that would be about $135 million.

The statements have come after the carnage in mid-cap stocks in India last year, when the whiskey-lover billionaire lost a lot of money.

Jhunjhunwala had a good advice for his followers, but his words were in bad taste. He said, people to invest in stocks for the long term, and speculate less, but his analogy was abhorrent. "The outspoken investor compared share trading to a mistress and longer-term investing as a wife, and recommended investors to keep both happy," news agency PTI reported.


In 2016, the Associated Press style book disallowed the use of the word 'mistress' for being sexist. "The word “mistress” has no male equivalent and means different things in different parts of the world, so the AP now recommends avoiding the term and using “companion,” “friend,” or “lover” if applicable. “Whenever possible,” the new entry says, “phrasing that acknowledges both people in the relationship is preferred: ‘ The two were romantically (or sexually) involved," the Columbia Journalism Review reported.

Perhaps, he could have said it like Warren Buffett— “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." Not long ago, Jhunjhunwala himself had said it differently-- "Give your investments time to mature. Be Patient for the world to discover your gems.” This time, he let himself down with the choice of words.

But then, this is not the first time that Jhunjhunwala has made a sweeping statement about women. "As I told you markets are like women, you have to be patient," he told CNBC-TV18. He also said, "If a girl is beautiful, a suitor will come. If a stock is beautiful, a suitor will come. So I don't search for suitors when I buy the stock."

A chartered accountant himself, and the son of an income tax officer, Jhunjhunwala is a respected investor in India, who started investing when the Sensex was at 150. Today, the benchmark index is at over 37,000. While he is not active on social media, a twitter handle dedicated by his fans has over 61,400 followers. Any rumour of his interest has taken stocks to soaring heights.

He was famously called 'India's Warren Buffet', a title he gracefully disowned. Any contribution from him to raise awareness of the rampant sexism in India's corporate culture will be priceless.

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