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Profile: Jaswant Lalwani

Published by The New York Sun on 2005-01-24

Jaswant Lalwani is a New Yorker who's enjoyed a storied career of multiple reinventions. A chemical-engineering graduate of the elite Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, he went on to get a master's degree, also in chemical engineering, from Wayne State University in Michigan, and a MBA from Columbia University. Then followed a series of jobs at blue-chip firms: Grey Advertising, Colgate-Palmolive, and Cunard Line Limited, where he was president of Cunard Asia, based in Hong Kong.

He then launched his own shipping company in 1999, Indian Ocean Cruise Line, but it fell victim to the sharp downturn in the global travel business following 9/11. Ever resilient, Mr. Lalwani returned to New York from Bombay and joined the Corcoran Group. He's considered one of the real-estate company's promising performers.

So what does he seek in his investments? Mr. Lalwani said: "I look for consistency and for promise of value in the long run. It's a bit like New York City itself -- a city of great promise and opportunity for those who show long-term endurance."

His favorites -- among others -- are five stocks that took a hammering in recent years for a variety of reasons but have bounced back. IBM is one company that Mr. Lalwani values. So is Amgen. Another stock is that of Tyco. A special favorite is AIG, a company which provided support to Mr. Lalwani when he headed Cunard's operations in Asia. And he's a great fan of Oppenheimer's India Fund (IFN), mostly because he believes that the $675 billion economy of a nation of 1.2 billion people -- more than 300 million of whom are part of a growing and upwardly mobile middle class -- has huge prospects.

Mr. Lalwani has done well by his holdings. But, he says, "money is a means to an end -- and my 'end' is art, conservation, social causes. I like material comfort, but being a New Yorker means that you can do well and also do good. And that's my promise."

Pranay Gupte,
Senior Writer and Global-Affairs Columnist


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