The handing over of the baton by Mr Nimesh Kampani to his son, Vishal Kampani, marks the end of an era.

Pradip Harkisandas of Harkisandas Lakshmichand (HL ), Bhupen Dalal, Hemendra Kothari, Nimesh Kampani. These were the big daddies of ‘merchant’ banking in the seventies and eighties. And then there were ‘brokers’ on the BSE/CSE.

Every business house had its favourite merchant banker. It was virtually impossible to break the barrier.  Then came the foreign banks- Grindlays Bank and Chartered Bank. Citibank. They got business thanks to the MNCs operating here. It was a closed club till the nineties.  One by one, they all went away as a young breed led by the amazingly focused Uday Kotak came in. A host of new bankers. But, Uday Kotak clearly ahead of all of them and now bigger than all the big names. Of the first named four, only Hemendra Kothari and Nimesh Kampani waged on. Hemendra Kothari was focused on building his firm in to an institution and Merrill was the buyer. And Merrill itself got swallowed by BofA! Bhupenbhai, perhaps the brightest among them, got swallowed by the 1991 Harshad Mehta scam.  And some of the professionals – R Sankaran in particular, were the rain makers.

Today, Uday Kotak clearly stands out as the tallest. Breaking all conventions, taking calculated risks and building relationships based on value add rather than getting business on relationship, he is in a separate league.

The Old Boys club is no more. And there is no documentation of the battles they fought, the deals they did, of speakable and unspeakable things.

Nimesh Kampani stands out as a lone survivor, having tried a marriage with Morgan Stanley and then restoring status quo (much like Uday Kotak had tied up with Goldman Sachs and then divorced quickly) . I am sure he will be driving a lot of deals for his firm and his son, but a formal handing over of the baton, marks the end of an epoch.

Wish you a very happy retirement, Nimesh Kampani.




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