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How These India-focused Family Offices are Running the Show From Dubai, Singapore & Mumbai A conversation with 3 family offices that are investing in India from different locations have one common learning - Indian families are closed about their wealth & the way they want to invest it

By Aashika Jain

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As the days of the wealth advisors are slowly changing into the days of family offices, here's a conversation with 3 family offices that are investing in India from different locations and yet have a common learning - Indian families are closed about their wealth & the way they want to invest it.


Shibani Jobanputra - Joban Group

While speaking to Entrepreneur India, the Director of Joban Group, Shibani Jobanputra, spoke about how the company runs a family office in Dubai.

Shibani's family moved to Uganda 30 years and is originally from Gujarat.

For the last 30 years, the Joban Group has businesses across five different African countries. The family business has ventured into manufacturing, trading and real estate but it began a family office in Dubai 5 years ago.

"We invest in a lot of Indian startups," Jobanputra said. She is most interested in education.

Jobanputra finds India an ocean of opportunities however the company has not ventured as of now and does not have the right network. But she hasn't given hope.

"I think Indians have this culture of never giving up and being persistent I am very grateful for that. It is engraved from a very young age and is a matter of gratitude," she said.


Nikhil Nambiar - Taurus Global Assets & Funds Management

While speaking to Entrepreneur India on what sort of investments are flowing in the family office space to this Nikhil Nambiar, the Director of Taurus Global Assets & Funds Management AG/ VIG International, said "we have seen a lot of business coming down our way Dubai being a launch pad for Africa as well in the Middle East itself so we have a lot of interest, it's a fairly nation market but the space that we operate in is a very exciting space we operate on a free advisory model only we don't charge brokerages whatever comes to us as commission or brokerages goes back into the client account.

Tauras wealth advisors are a multi-family office based out of Singapore with an office in Dubai.

The company manages families and families wealth based in the Middle East in Africa and then Europe. The Singapore office manages money for offices from South East Asia and currently has representation in clients from over 24 countries.

Nambiar says family offices choose to keep tight lipped about their investments due to several reasons.

"Big families are very cutting edge savvy when it comes to industry. They are hiring the right people, they are seeking right people like us and other people in the market to help them manage and structure their investments. They are in real estate, they are in art, they are in private equity, they are in venture; they are in everything. So, Indian families are showing a lot of interest in Dubai too," says Nambiar.


Krishna Chokhani - Chokhani Securities

The gen-next of the Chokhani Group does not call himself what his forefathers did. He isn't the next "lala" on the block dealing in securities. He would like to be called a tech enthusiast who has key interest in futurist AI, robotics, blockchain, agri-tech and smart cities.

Krishna Chokhani is taking ahead a 40-year old legacy that has diversified interests from corporate finance and related activities such angel investing, LP funding, venture investing to pharmaceuticals and warehousing.

He manages the Chokhani Group's Family Office, which deals with the wealth of some of the wealthiest families in India. The Family Office is into financing activities and management of family treasury via 2 NBFCs that deal with debt financing, equity financing, LAS (Loan Against Shares) and RE funding among others.

What Krishna brings on the table is new-age thinking and interest in startups; this bend that led him to start Zone Startups India Fund, which is a 15 million fund backed by Toronto-based Ryerson Futures, the technology accelerator and investment arm of Ryerson University and the Chokhani Family office. The fund allocates seed fund to early stage startups within the ticket size of $50K - $750K for strategic seed funding.

Krishna finds the experience with family offices a unique one given the digital shift that is taking in lot of disruptive technologies to take over traditional family businesses to transition to digital-savvy ways.

"I have seen family business are feeling left out because of lack of knowledge, lack of expertise, old mindset of the veteran generation. The new generation is more risk tasking as we like to explore new things and it is good to be backed by our family because there is still some runway that we can use or burn in order to multiply traditional wealth," Krishna says.

He boasts of coming from the business community of India, popularly known as the "Marwardis" and hence knowing the trick of the trade.

From money lenders to investing in market products and later diversifying into gold and real estate, the Chokhani Group has presence in over 10 countries and is Indian partners to the Indo-Canadian Fund house along with Zone Startups India Fund.

Krishna's journey started 11 years ago when a friend of his father encouraged him to start looking towards technology to investments through the company's NBFC to bring efficiency.

Krishna is inspired by the sudden yet successful shift to digital the Reliance JIO Group has made in no time and is determined to replicate the same success for other families across the nation.

He believes the new generation will give a new platform to technology to grow faster not only with their money but with their networks. He thinks real disruption will happen, only when the next gen starts diversifying and innovating family businesses.

"These businesses are reluctant now because they are already doing well but if one has a foresight of the next 50 years and not only to grow one's own business but grow the ecosystem, it will lead to real disruption," Krishna says.

Aashika Jain

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Associate Editor, Entrepreneur India

Journalist in the making since 2006! My fastest fingers have worked for India's business news channel CNBC-TV18, global news wire Thomson Reuters, the digital arm of India’s biggest newspaper The Economic Times and Entrepreneur India as the Digital Head. 
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