Budget 2024: No populist measures expected, says Seemant Shukla of JM Financial

Going by the past trends, no populist measures are expected in the upcoming Budget. It would — in all likelihood — be pragmatic while there could be some extra push to infrastructure, says Seemant Shukla, Chief Business Officer (CBO) of JM Financial Asset Management.

In an email interview with Mint, he speaks about the growing fascination for SIPs (Systematic Investment Plan) among retail investors, best performing sectors of 2023 and the expectations from the market in 2024.

What are your expectations from the interim Budget 2024? What do you think would bring cheers to the markets?

Whatever past trends show, we don’t see any populist measures. It should be pragmatic, and urban infra may be added. I personally feel there might be a push. Perhaps some personal tax may come. But there will be no big-time freebies. 

The trend so far has been positive for the market since 2014. From the view point of fiscal management and GDP contribution, the trend has been positive. This will bring cheer to the market.

Mutual fund SIP inflows hit a fresh all-time high in each of the past five months. What, according to you, is the key reason for growing fascination among retail investors for investing in mutual funds, particularly via SIPs? 

I personally feel that capital market participation has risen. The number of demat opening has also risen significantly. 

Total net equity AUM is 20.33 lakh crore (Nov 30 data) out of which 9.31 lakh crore belongs to SIP, which is a fairly decent chunk.  Another interesting data point is that out of 16 crore folios, 7.44 crore belong to SIPs i.e., 46 percent of total number of folios.

Can you share some insight on the record highs that the market indices have witnessed? Is this trend expected to continue next year too? 

Market reflects the GDP growth. When GDP grows, people get more money with per capital income rise. This (rise in market) is about to happen. 

Although market hike does not remain purely in sync with the GDP. Market is volatile and there can be some froth in the price. And there could be some price correction ahead. 

Which were the best performing sectors of 2023? Will they demonstrate the same performance the next year as well?

The realty, auto, infrastructure and PSU banks have done well this year. While real estate was the top performer with 71 percent growth, auto and PSU banks rose by 39 and 38 percent, respectively. Infra went up by 33 percent. 

What are your expectations from the forthcoming year? Are there any new sectors that you believe would beat the expectations?

Broadly, overall economy looks well. New technologies such as AI are being developed and becoming popular. Routine things will be taken over by the AI and ultimately productivity will increase. But as far as BFSI is concerned, human to human touch is required.

What investing advice do you have for retail investors? 

It is important to remember that in personal finance, personal comes before finance. Everybody has different cash flows, risk appetite and therefore, they should do asset allocation based on their situation. Hybrid is the right approach. 

And they should ideally approach advisors.


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Published: 27 Dec 2023, 01:57 PM IST

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