Edelweiss Group

Edelweiss Group is one of India’s leading diversified financial services companies, providing a broad range of financial products and services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, institutions and individuals. Edelweiss’ products and services span multiple asset classes and consumer segments across domestic and global geographies.

Uniqueness, Diversity at Workplace is Radhika Gupta’s Mantra for Success

A global citizen having grown up across four continents, a keen storyteller, Bridge player, and Twitter microblogger, Radhika Gupta is an investment professional with a range of diverse experiences across asset management – globally and in India, which includes start-up and global giants, public &...
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A global citizen having grown up across four continents, a keen storyteller, Bridge player, and Twitter microblogger, Radhika Gupta is an investment professional with a range of diverse experiences across asset management – globally and in India, which includes start-up and global giants, public & private sector, and institutional & retail clients.

Starting her career with McKinsey, she later switched to Wall Street, joining AQR Capital – pioneers in hedge funds. She moved to India in 2009 to start her own venture – Forefront Capital Management, the first registered hedge fund in India, which was acquired by Edelweiss Financial Services Limited in 2014. She led Edelweiss’ acquisition of JP Morgan’s Mutual Fund business and Ambit Capital’s AIF business, to become the CEO of Edelweiss Asset Management in 2017.

She has been singularly focussed in helping build brand Edelweiss AMC into a fast growing, differentiated and innovative asset manager.

A member of the AMFI board, chairing the Committee of Mutual Fund Distributors, and a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), she has also been recognised as amongst “The 30 Most Powerful Women in Indian Business.”

In this exclusive conversation with the Women Icons Network, Radhika Gupta, the managing director and chief executive officer of Edelweiss Asset Management Co., the Edelweiss Group’s investment and advisory business, talks of the Gender Equity philosophy that drives the workplace at Edelweiss Asset Management Company.

 

The Edelweiss flower has deep symbolism attached to it. How does the Edelweiss Group symbolize Gender Equality at the workplace?

I’m glad you mentioned the Edelweiss flower. It forms the foundation of our cultural ethos. The original Alpine flower can withstand harsh winters and was immortalised in song. The flower in our logo was conceptualised keeping its namesake in mind, the centre representing our ideas and the encircling ‘e’ representing the values that protect it.

At Edelweiss, our focus is not just gender diversity but inclusion in its truest sense. Celebrating individual differences and opinions is integral to the Edelweiss way. We believe in building an inclusive workplace where diversity of thought drives competitive advantage and we walk the talk!

Women comprise 21% of our employee base and 13% of senior leadership. We have 2 women Independent Directors on our Board and 2 women CEOs, including myself. Our ESG council is headed by a woman and comprises heads of various critical departments including Corporate Development & Investor Relations, Marketing & Communications, Compliance & Governance, Human Resources and Administration – all women.

Could you tell us about some of the initiatives that have helped Edelweiss look inwardly through a Gender lens?

As we entered our 25th year, all of us at Edelweiss strengthened our resolve to embrace uniqueness and diversity in thoughts, ideas and perspectives via our inclusion philosophy, All In.

  • You are INtegral to the Edelweiss family
  • Your INdividualism makes you unique
  • Your opinions are INvaluable
  • You should speak up without INhibitions
  • You INspire others with your ideas
  • You INvolve others to get a fresh perspective

For us, diversity is not just about gender, but also diversity of thought and perspective. Women are biologically more empathetic and as an organisation becomes more emphatic, they start understanding and relating more to the customer. Differentiated views, innovation and diversity are all essential ingredients to building a long-term sustainable organisation.

At Edelweiss AMC, we introduced mentorship circles for women, preparing them for the next phase in their career. We also have a learning forum that showcases stories of inspiring women who dared to dream and made their mark. Women leaders are given ample exposure to network with the best in the industry at external forums.

Overall, I think women alone cannot fix the diversity problem. Men play an important role too. In fact, on women’s day earlier this year, we celebrated our male colleagues who have enabled and empowered the women in their lives.

What have been your learnings in the journey to becoming a leader that help you to play the role of a catalyst for Gender Equity at Edelweiss?

Firstly, I have heard too often that “women don’t like women” in offices. I have been very fortunate to experience the opposite. I have met so many iconic women over the years and I’ve only benefitted from their warmth, affection, advice, candid stories and goodness. I think it’s important that we change the narrative. Women need to support other women and encourage them to step up. They need to act as mentors to each other, as they climb the corporate ladder. It’s the only way we can break the glass ceiling.

Secondly, I’m a firm advocate of the fact that there’s no secret sauce to success. It’s very simple really – discover your strengths, hone them well and work hard. Life is never about the cards you are dealt, but what you make of those cards. The one piece of advice I never tire from re-iterating is that getting opportunities is about asking for them. Your career is in your hands. Do justice to yourself and don’t be afraid to just ask for what you rightfully deserve. The men don’t hesitate. Why should we?

Thirdly, the concept I misunderstood the most in college is networking. Every introvert’s nightmare, we instantly conjure up images of people making small talk and exchanging business cards. But it’s so much more than that! It’s about investing in meaningful relationships with people outside your immediate bubble. It’s about enriching your life with multiple perspectives. Once you’ve mastered the art, it’s essential that you pass it on to other women, helping them build out their own network.

And finally, Empathy. I learnt very early on in life that you cannot claim to have technical skill sets alone. With the human race making rapid strides in automating everything, it becomes ever more critical that you build skills that cannot be automated – empathy, humility and kindness. In fact, there is no way we could meet the unarticulated needs of our customers without empathy.

When do you believe will the intrinsic worth of promoting Gender Equity at workplaces get captured in the value given by investors?

Gender diversity is often thought of as a soft social issue relevant only to women. In reality, it is a deep economic issue that should matter to all of us. A society that doesn’t leverage its women is punching well below its weight.

Take my own industry as a prime example. There are 45 mutual fund companies in India.  Between CEO, CIO-Equity, CIO-Debt, and Head-Sales, there are 4 leadership roles per AMC, which make 150-180 leadership roles across the industry. I don’t think women fill even 10.

S&P Global found women to be the most under utilised source of growth that could send global market valuations soaring. The clear positives of a gender-diverse leadership bench and the benefit it adds to the bottom-line is no longer ignorable. With ESG increasingly taking up significant real estate in investor decks, boardrooms across the globe are finally being forced to take gender diversity seriously.

 

 

 

 

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The inspiring women driving the essence of Edelweiss

One of the youngest and fastest growing Asset Management Companies in India, Edelweiss Asset Management Limited (EAML) is part of the Edelweiss Investment & Advisory Business. EAML has two investment platforms – Mutual Funds and Alternatives. With women constituting 24% of the workforce and...
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One of the youngest and fastest growing Asset Management Companies in India, Edelweiss Asset Management Limited (EAML) is part of the Edelweiss Investment & Advisory Business. EAML has two investment platforms – Mutual Funds and Alternatives.

With women constituting 24% of the workforce and a pipeline aimed at increasing the gender diversity of the organisation, EAML has in recent times been in the limelight with some of the women leaders being recognised at the national level.

Women Icons Network spoke to three of inspiring women at EAML to understand their leadership journey and how they intend to pay it forward.

 

Manisha Dokania, Head Of Brand
Awards & Accolades:
  • Winner of “40 under 40 Most impact marketing professionals 2020” by Social Samosa awarded in Jan 2020.
  • Featured among the “Top 50 marketing professionals in the BFSI sector” in November 2019.

    Manisha Dokania
Learnings in the journey towards becoming a leader?

Leadership is a continuous journey that is both challenging and transformational. I have been in the corporate world for over 11 years now and have had the opportunity to work across functions and roles. Being agile and a keen learner, I have consistently worked towards developing my skills to get a deeper understanding of business, and widen my scope of work. Usually marketing is perceived as a support function, but it is my belief that if aligned with business objectives, it can have a positive and direct impact on the outcomes. It is these learnings and beliefs that helped me showcase my capabilities to lead the marketing function and take on more challenges.

Also, having a mentor to guide me on my professional journey helped me to a great extent in identifying my strengths and making the right career choice. The interactions with my mentor also enabled me to evaluate & leverage my skills, overcome fears, align my thoughts with purposeful action and learn. A mentor could be anyone – a colleague, a family member, a professional acquaintance or a friend. The key is to have an open mind with a focus on improvement. I have also realised that empathy is an important aspect of being a leader. In order to help team members develop professionally or work towards a common goal, you need to listen, evaluate and coach without bias.

How would you like to contribute towards being a catalyst in this process and be an ally for other women in the workforce? 

Having had various roles across organisations and several interactions with people from the fraternity, it has been my observation that women get very complacent when it is family, children, in-laws or other similar priorities, and these aspects take precedence over one’s career and the importance of building their own professional identity or “brand”. I would like to share my learnings and helping them realise the importance of building that individual identity and its long term impact on their careers and beyond, through mentoring and guidance.

Also, in my opinion and out of personal experience, I feel women are better collaborators or managers due to their inherent skills of multitasking as well as empathy. I would like to encourage women to realise these strengths and make the best use of them to seek challenging lead roles in projects.

Another aspect which I want to champion and encourage women to do is to network. Networking across the place of work and among peers in the industry is vital to one’s career advancement as well as, personal and professional development. This is very important to build you as a leader and empower you to successfully manage a team.

 

Rashida Roopawalla, Head of Product and Marketing Alternatives
Awards & Accolades:
  • India’s Top 100 Women in Finance 2020 by AIWMI
  • Learnings in the journey towards becoming a leader?

    Rashida Roopawalla
Learnings in the journey towards becoming a leader?

I have worked in the asset management industry for over a decade now and have also been the part of Alternatives since its inception in 2012 in India. Over the last few years I have learnt that the key aspect of being a leader has been about embracing change irrespective of the varied cycles that the business goes through including acquisitions and mergers of new teams or even a shift in business focus and style. All these collectively have helped in my learnings and contributed significantly to my leadership style.

In tough times like what we have experienced over the last couple of months, reassuring people that things would be fine and also provide inspiration and motivation to keep working towards delivering their best are some of the softer skills that a leader needs to have. Your temperament has a huge impact on your judgment and as a leader it is important to manage your emotions, no matter how challenging the situation gets. Also, even as a leader, the learning should never stop. Reading about current topics outside of your day-to-day experience enhances creativity and provides new ideas that are crucial to leadership.

What has helped me over the last few years is the support of a group of people who know me well, including a close family member, my mentor and a trusted friend who provided me with valuable learnings and guidance that helped me in aligning my thought process to develop stronger leadership skills.

How would you like to contribute towards being a catalyst in this process and be an ally for other women in the workforce?

I think the key challenge in the current environment is the scarcity of women leaders in the workforce. The rate of women dropouts between the junior to mid-levels is predominantly high in the corporate environment in India. Effective mentoring will help them understand that there are several ways to have a work life balance. And that essentially is the key to addressing the scarcity of women leaders in the workforce.

Women leaders tend to have a higher impact on teams and businesses because of their ability to be collaborators and relationship builders with a natural instinct to empathise. They have demonstrated skills at resolving conflicts. I have personally experienced the power of women leaders through my own mentoring group that women are risk takers, result oriented and laser-focused on achieving milestones if given the right guidance and confidence to take on new challenges. I would like to be a catalyst of change by supporting, counselling and nurturing these women in the early stages of their career.

 

Twinkle Jain, Senior Manager
Awards & Accolades
  • India’s Top 100 Women in Finance 2020 by AIWMI

    Twinkle Jain
Learnings in the journey towards becoming a leader?

I am Chartered Accountant by qualification and working in Financial Services industry has given me an insight into various aspects of the industry and its complex functions. I have been exposed to various aspects of Financial Services and have been able to contribute significantly towards investor and distributor education for products that provide a diversification opportunity in asset allocation. Due to my work in a niche category of the financial services industry, I have learnt the nuances of investment and consider myself fortunate to be among the few in this industry who have this in-depth knowledge and understanding of the product at a young age.

I am a strong believer of continuous learning and improvement and hence, I try to seize most of the opportunities that help me learn and develop my skills further. I believe that opportunities to learn exist everywhere and not necessarily are always related to your education, qualification or earlier work experience. Hence, it is important to constantly and consistently seek these opportunities and keep upgrading your skills. It is this enthusiasm to learn that has helped me develop as a professional and has given me confidence to manage difficult situations with minimum guidance. Change is constant and I am always happy to accept changes and the challenges that come with it, keeping me engaged in the process.

How would you like to contribute towards being a catalyst in this process and been an ally for other women in the workforce?

While there are many opportunities in every field in India as well as globally, and these are only increasing with time, there is an evident lack of women representation at the Management and leadership levels in the Indian Financial Sector. Giving equal opportunities at workplace and accepting equal responsibilities at home by both men and women will lead to reducing this representation gap and perhaps, build a stronger and gender-balanced workforce. I would like to actively contribute towards helping women identify these opportunities by way of guidance and also through exploring the same with my own professional network.

**Edelweiss
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