“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”

It is a known fact that great companies emerged from a humble idea, an idea that sparked collective brilliance. Ideas that inspire to tread on uncharted courses, bring growth and sustainability, also unprecedented. Decisions, even though risky and tough, if made for the right reasons often pay rich dividends in the long run. “Let us start an exclusive company for financial services?” was the decision taken, and this decision led to the dawn of a prominent brand in the infrastructure financing space – IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN). On 1st August 2006, IFIN began its journey in the financial services space, with an aim to stand out and on its own in the Financial Services industry.

With diversified business lines and financial products, it holds a large repertoire of national and international clients. The genesis of IFIN was the result of the IL&FS Management Members’ vision to enhance the financial services business and create an entire new set up within the IL&FS Group. With the same strong sense of business and work ethics that make IL&FS group standout, IFIN had its inheritance to carry forward.

Initiating under the profound nurturing of the IL&FS group, IFIN set on a journey to fulfill the growthand success prophecy.  As is the case with a new entity, IFIN’s journey started with limited resources and business options and due to the exemplary efforts of its leadership and ever vibrant employees, IFIN was soon able to attain a unique positioning in the financial sector

Carrying forward the innovative approach, a number of new business initiatives were pioneered over the years by the IFIN Top Management e.g, 'Pooled Municipal Debt Obligation (PMDO) Facility', in partnership with 15 leading PSU Banks/Financial Institutions  to support the urban sector projects ‘Structured Mezzanine Credit Facility (SMCF)’, again in partnership with 14 leading PSU Banks/Financial Institutions to provide mezzanine support, largely to infrastructure projects, and initiation of ‘Infrastructure Debt Fund (IDF)’ in partnership with Life Insurance Corporation of India
IFIN extended its business odyssey and entered the international markets in 2008. The pedigree of business achieved in the domestic business was up for call with the four international business hubs, Singapore (for APAC region), Hong Kong (Hong Kong and main land China), Dubai (EMEA) and London (for European region).  With some marque projects like, the first offshore CNH bond by a corporate issuer (non-bank) from India, raising Debt for first Indian company controlled independent tanker terminal in Fujairah, refinancing the existing debts for a prominent Spanish company and raising debt for an expressway in China, IFIN has played a vital role in providing financial services advisory internationally. The success of all these four overseas subsidiaries has been due to the diligent efforts of the IFIN leadership to conquer international frontiers

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm”

Sailors, from ancient times, insisted on the ship being shipshape i.e planning in advance and organizing the ship to make it ready for stormy weather. This practice helped them to mitigate the risk of an adverse situation due to stormy weather.World economy has been seeing financial turbulence since 2008 and India was not insulated either. By 2012, owing to financial crisis, other challenges in the economy, infrastructure financing was badly affected. Raising funds for projects is becoming a challenge, especially in maintaining revenue longevity and risk mitigation of financial assets. Mr Ramesh C Bawa, MD & CEO, has time and again demonstrated rare skill as a leader to keep IFIN shipshape. The team has kept the eye on the ball and steered through the arrhythmic waves of challenging economic conditions. Strengthening corporate governance and mobilizing external resources with focus on relationship building, are some of the work ethos that have emerged through these tough times.
With the support of additional functions like Resources, Credit Admin, Credit Risk and others, earlier this year, IFIN has become the one stop shop for our customers and stakeholders. With IFIN’s business portfolio expanding, it was time to strengthen the business and future leaders’ current portfolios. IFIN’s people centric philosophy ties in, favorably, with the organization’s need to optimize the current structure and empower deserving people.

“Great things in business are often done by a team of people”

People build businesses! – and this has been the story with IFIN as it has been able to nurture resilient set of people through times, who demonstrate their readiness to dawn different mantles required for the success of the company from time to time. The ethos at IFIN is to preempt the challenges and adapt efficiently to mitigate business risks. This has been archived yet again as earlier this year the Core Committee decided to shift gears of focus on the four business functions through structural changes and enhancing peoples’ responsibilities. The vision of creating successors was an off shoot of this changes. A new set of second in command for IFIN was identified amongst the senior members / heads. This cohort of leaders with renewed responsibilities is mandated to meet the short, medium term business objectives in the context of the volatility of the economic scenarios and the continuity of IFIN’s success so far. With the three Chief Operating Officers, Mr Sabyasachi Mukherjee (COO- Project Debt Syndication), Mr Subash Chandra (COO- Asset & Structured Finance), Mr Deepak Pareek (COO), the leadership at IFIN is confident that the next generation of leaders is ready to shadow while they explore strategic avenues for growth.

Mr Deepak Pareek has been the CFO for IFIN and has been a key contributor to the overall growth of the organization. Optimizing operational cost, managing regulatory audits and rating agencies have been key areas of contribution for him. This new role of Chief Operating Officer will see Deepak get involved much deeply and widely in business deals. It will sharpen his business partnering portfolio. His experience as the CFO will help Deepak take on larger responsibilities of managing Resources team, Credit Admin team and Credit risk team.

Being a seasoned investment banker with over 30 years of experience, Mr Subash Chandra, COO - Asset & Structured Finance, views the new regulations transforming India’s structured financing market as the ones that will improve returns to investors, promote foreign investment, and improve the resolution process in the event of default. He will have a focused approach on the growth of the asset book by utilizing the legal reforms to minimize the stress on assets and facilitate measures for timely payback of loans.  

Mr Sabyasachi Mukherjee,COO - Project Debt Syndication, has been one of the key leaders of the Debt Syndication business at IFIN for the last decade. Mr Rajesh Kotian, Deputy Managing Director and Sabyasachi continue to be the winning team at IFIN, building innovative solutions for projects and financing structures in domestic debt advisory business. Sabyasachi will also have, with him, the support of his team of three seasoned leaders from Debt Syndication, Ms Lubna Usman, Mr Santosh Swamy and Mr Vineet Agarwal.

A ship changes its course to avoid choppy seas, keeping the storm behind its stern it utilizes the conditions to its benefit. An alternate course to the destination is plotted and once the ship weathers the storm, it is back on its course. Due to the changing business conditions, there was a need to adapt to the current conditions and relook at business expansion strategy. The new focus on business development is a preemptive step to change the architecture of the Business Development team to a two-fold structure focusing on product BD and pure BD.  The Business development team headed by Mr Asesh Dutta as Chief Operating Officer, has its focus on creating niche product clientele as well as building relationship bridges between business teams and external stakeholders.

This renewed team of four COOs will be the new Turks, as the senior leaders of IFIN continue their quest to increase global presence. While endeavoring for theconsistent growth and distinction in business, IFIN has always strived to emphasis on the core values by maintaining transparency and high standards of business

IL&FS Financial Services, by way of successfully executing marquee financial transactions in the infrastructure sector, has played an important role in assisting the infrastructure reforms agenda ahead. The need of the hour is to keep preempting the market trends and adapt with innovative products and solutions like InvITs and Masala bond in offshore capital markets. With Mr Ramesh C Bawa at the helm, supported by Mr Milind Patel (Joint Managing Director –IFIN) and Mr Rajesh Kotian, IFIN will continue its niche dominance in the Equity and Debt Businesses. The vision to “Focus, innovate and grow” as articulated by Mr Bawa, simply yet profoundly expresses that this philosophy is firmly embedded in the current success of IFIN and shall continue in the decades to follow. 




Authored by
Sudakshina Bhattacharya
Senior Vice President & Head - HR, IL&FS Financial Services Ltd (IFIN)

 







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