June 2013 | tata.com
‘It’s important to be flexible and innovative to provide the type of products and services that your client wants’
Tata Capital in Europe is a corporate finance advisory business that facilitates investment opportunities between Europe and India. The company also provides corporate finance advice to Tata companies. Amit Mehta, head of Tata Capital in Europe since its inception, works on identifying opportunities, building relationships and providing solutions to existing clients. In this interview with tata.com he talks about the company’s operations and future plans
How important is an innovative mindset at Tata Capital?
Financial services are not new, however the attitude and sentiments of the clients change. For example, investors are more cautious now than before 2008. So in order to remain credible it’s important to be flexible and innovative to provide the type of products and services that your client wants. This credibility is vital in such a competitive sector.
What differences have you noticed between the UK and Indian markets through your work at Tata Capital?
There are certainly big cultural differences between the UK and India. Indian business is driven by relationships, conducted between people that know each other and trust each other; inevitably this can take time.
In the UK, business is more transactional. Institutions are more developed, the regulatory framework is stable, and experience is more important than relationships, hence there is less transactional resistance or process difficulties in doing deals. India is a very value-conscious market and you have to identify the key decision-maker to be successful.
However, Indian business has become significantly more outward looking over the last 20 years, and is falling closer in to line with the UK model.
What effect has slow global economic growth had on the operations of Tata Capital?
Investors and business have been significantly shaken by the current climate. Their cautious approach has affected Tata Capital as many Asian and Far Eastern companies are currently reluctant to invest in Europe. European companies are also cautious about investing in emerging markets such as India although they do see long-term benefits. Consequently, we are working harder than ever to provide a committed, tailor-made service to clients.
What are the new developments in your industry at the moment?
As companies are seeking high yield investments, emerging markets are becoming more important. However, investors remain cautious, though in the next three-five years I predict a three or four-fold increase in investment in these markets. This would be extremely significant.
To ensure that we capitalise on this trend, we are looking to build capabilities and products in other emerging markets. Africa in particular is an interesting opportunity for investors and for us.
What are your most memorable projects?
Since joining the group, the most high-profile transaction has been the acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover where I worked alongside colleagues from Tata Motors. This was a very exciting project, as it was a big step forward in a new market segment with a high-profile brand.
Since then, it is setting up of Tata Capital. This is a small business at the moment but it will play a very big role as companies are hungry for capital. Tata Capital aims to be able to assist them raise capital internationally.
Making Tata Capital’s European organisation into a sustainable business was probably the most challenging project. We are a very young organisation but have the benefit of a strong brand, however with that comes expectation and responsibility. It is very important that we stay focused on our objectives and not get derailed.
What qualities are needed to be a successful employee at Tata Capital?
Being technically competent is a given, however you also need to be positive, tenacious with a can-do attitude, and creative. You need to have patience as you have to continually revisit your assumptions. It’s also imperative to be sensitive to your clients’ pressures and needs. Overall, you have to have the key Tata quality of being trustworthy.