Shenoy, who oversees nearly 1.4 trillion rupees ($20 billion) of assets -- of which 23% is in equities, has reduced his shareholdings in top automakers, cement producers and consumer-staples companies. The life insurer also sold some shares in software exporters, barring the top two.
Still, he’s looking to reinvest the cash back into equities. Even as SBI Life continues to remain upbeat on banking stocks, it plans to buy into any dip in consumer and automobile stocks, mainly those of utility vehicles and motorbike makers, as it sees a recovery in demand from this year’s last quarter.
SBI Life expects earnings at India’s top 50 companies to rise as much as an average of 14% in the financial year that started April 1, boosted mainly by banks as they’re expected to set aside fewer provision for bad debts as non-performing loans fall.
The insurance firm has reduced its holding in shares of mid-sized companies in its equity funds to 9% from about 22% in 2017 and doesn’t see any immediate reason to change the balance. “We see a lot of value in mid-caps, but we won’t make a major shift to them, at least for the time being,” Shenoy said.
SBI Life held 2.1% of India’s total 331 million life insurance policies as of March 31, 2018, according to the latest data on the insurance regulator’s website, second only to state-owned behemoth Life Insurance Corp. of India’s nearly 88% share.