Uday Kotak, Asia's richest banker, multiplied his wealth four times in a decade


  • Uday kotak kickstarted a financial consultancy to provide cheap loans to companies at the age of 23.
  • The 60-year-old Uday Kotak is the richest banker in Asia with wealth of $11.8 billion, according to forbes.
  • His net worth grew by 268% from $3 billion in 2010 to $ 11.8 billion in 2019, primarily because of the increased value of his shareholding in Kotak Mahindra Bank.
If not for his father, Asia’s richest banker Uday Kotak would have been working for Hindustan Unilever. While HUL could have gained from it, that was not to be. Uday’s father Suresh Kotak, convinced him to open his own business at 300 sq. ft office space.

The 23 year old kickstarted a financial consultancy to provide cheap loans to companies. When he started in 1985, the interest rates for loans were very high. On the other hand, depositors too gained next to nothing from banks and deposit rates were low.

"I was shocked to find that triple-A-rated borrowers would get money at 17% when families I knew would only get 6% interest on their money," he told the Financial Times.

The idea to fix both these gaps, turned out to be revolutionary. Today, Kotak Mahindra Bank is the third most valued private bank in India, serving 14.5 million customers. It has over 1400 branches and $51 million assets as of 2019. '

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​Uday Kotak multiplied his wealth nearly four times in the last ten years

​Uday Kotak multiplied his wealth nearly four times in the last ten years

Net worth 2019: $ 11.8 B

The 60-year-old Uday Kotak is the richest banker in Asia with wealth of $11.8 billion, according to Forbes. He is also the sixth richest person in India, as per the Hurun Rich List 2019. His net worth grew by 268% from $3 billion in 2010 to $ 11.8 billion in 2019, primarily because of the increased value of his shareholding in Kotak Mahindra Bank.

According to Bloomberg Billionaire Index, as of 9 October 2019, Uday Kotak holds a whopping $13.7 B. The billionaire also owns 95% stake in the Business Standard, a financial newspaper in India.

Most of Uday’s fortune comes from his 30% stake in Mumbai-based Kotak Mahindra Bank

Most of Uday’s fortune comes from his 30% stake in Mumbai-based Kotak Mahindra Bank

Net worth 2018: $ 10.7 B

Most of Uday’s fortune comes from his 30% stake in Mumbai-based Kotak Mahindra Bank. His source of fortune has also become a source of controversy.

According to Bloomberg, RBI wants Uday to reduce his stake in the bank by 15% by the end of FY 2020, owing to a regulation that restricts the founder's stake in the bank.

Kotak has been fighting to keep his stake in the bank for a decade now.

​Even after tussles with bank regulator, Kotak got richer

​Even after tussles with bank regulator, Kotak got richer

Net worth 2017: $ 8 B

Despite a cold war with RBI, Uday Kotak got richer year by year since March 2014.

In the same year , Kotak Mahindra acquired ING Vysya Bank for $2.4 billion which doubled the wealth of the bank and increased his share value.

Uday’s shares outperformed his peers primarily because his bank manages asset quality well, reported Bloomberg.

​Kotak Mahindra’s profit stood ₹9158 crore in 2017-18

​Kotak Mahindra’s profit stood ₹9158 crore in 2017-18

Net worth 2016: $ 6.3 B

Kotak started a non banking financial company in 1985 providing only bill discounting service.At that time, India’s economic growth was stagnant at 3.5% a year, according to Euromoney. Kotak’s NBFC was the first to convert into a bank.

Kotak got its banking license in 2003, when a founder needed to have at least 40% stake in the bank. Two years later, RBI introduced new guidelines where the permissible founders' stake dropped to 10%. .

Today, the bank has operations across commercial banking, mutual funds, asset reconstruction, investment banking, insurance etc.

Over the last fifteen years the bank saw an exponential growth in its profit increasing from ₹333 crore in 2003-04 to ₹9158 crore in 2017-18.

Kotak believes, ‘Money is an outcome, not a motivator’

Kotak believes, ‘Money is an outcome, not a motivator’

Net worth 2015: $ 7.2

In 2008, Uday Kotak was given six months to take action against his shareholdings. But nothing happened. Another regulatory change in 2013 by RBI required the founder to keep only 15% stake. after 12 years of experience. As his stake remained steady, his wealth only increased.

Kotak has missed several deadlines since then. A few years back he even sold non-cumulative preference shares worth $7million to retain his stake.

But money isn’t a big motivator for him. He once told Financial Times “Money is an outcome of successful entrepreneurship rather than a goal.”

​He owns a mansion ₹385 crore

​He owns a mansion ₹385 crore

Net worth 2014: $3.8 B

Uday Kotak and family owns the Champagne house in Mumbai’s Worli. Kotak reportedly bought the bunglow at a price of ₹385 crore, which is 20% above the market rate, reported Live Mint.


Kotak is also known for his colourful and humorous speeches amongst his peers. He recently said that number eight is unlucky for the economy as bad events occurred in 1998, 2008 and 2018. He also has an interesting prophecy---that Indian economy will have a happy ending like in a Bollywood movie!

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