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How does Windmill Capital avoid picking risky stocks?

How does Windmill Capital avoid picking risky stocks?
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Stock picking can be an extensive process and requires hours and months’ worth of research. At smallcase, our primary aim was to eliminate this process by letting experts do it for our retail investors. But how do the experts avoid stocks? What factors are taken into consideration while skipping stocks? Let’s find out!

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With the recent brouhaha around Adani stocks, we discovered that the Windmill Capital team had avoided most Adani stocks across all their smallcases, except for Adani Ports and SEZ. This got us curious about why an expert would avoid a stock when the entire market was bullish on it. 

Here’s what we found out – 

The team at Windmill Capital believes in taking a conservative approach to investing while prioritising capital protection over capital appreciation (this is done to avoid taking too much risk for a bit of an upside). The belief lies in taking a more measured approach to give investors sustainable, long-term returns.

The Negative List: The Windmill Capital checklist to avoid frothy companies 

To avoid risky bets, the team at Windmill Capital uses a negative list to screen stocks before they are included in a smallcase. The list includes five testing parameters a stock must pass to be included in a smallcase: market capitalisation rank, promoter pledge, default probability, mutual fund holdings, and liquidity. Stocks that fail to meet these criteria are rejected and excluded from their smallcases.

Market Capitalization: Only top 750 companies chosen

Only the top 750 companies in terms of market capitalisation are included in their smallcases, out of more than 5000 companies that are listed on the stock exchanges. The reason for this is liquidity. If a stock is not liquid, it can be challenging to sell, and that’s not a risk that investors might want to take. 

Promoter Pledge: Avoiding companies with high promoter pledge

Promoter pledge refers to promoters (read: owners) of a company taking a loan from banks by collateralising their shares in the company. This loan can be taken for any purpose, whether business specific or personal.   

In India, promoters own a majority share of their companies (approximately more than 50%). This is a peculiar case in the global context. Companies with high promoter pledges can pose a business risk and are viewed as a red flag; hence, the need to avoid such stocks. 

Default Probability: Avoiding companies with high SDP

The default probability is an indicator that tells you the likelihood of a company defaulting on its debt obligations. In other words, the probability of a company going bust.    

Companies with high default probability are usually deemed to be financially unhealthy and, hence, are skipped by the team at Windmill Capital.  

External Investor Holdings: Avoiding companies with low external validation 

When external investors (domestic mutual funds, foreign institutions) hold a substantial chunk of a stock, that is considered as a positive. Hence, the Windmill Capital process seamlessly integrates external validation by gauging such entities’ holdings into their investee companies and rejecting the ones with low or negligible external holdings. 

Stocks in the ASM/GSM List: Avoiding Erratic Movement

Windmill Capital also excludes stocks from our smallcases if they are on the ASM/GSM list. The ASM/GSM stock list is issued by exchanges when there is erratic price/volume movement in a particular stock and is a nudge to be careful with this stock.

Besides all these measures, the team at Windmill Capital has another added caveat to test stocks before they’re included in a smallcase. Called the Fundamental Indicator, this proprietary algorithm is a fundamental score that is assigned to stocks based on certain pre-decided factors.  

These were the key factors that helped Windmill Capital avoid stocks like Adani. However, one exception was Adani Ports and SEZ, which is present in a few of their smallcases. 

Picking stocks can be hard, and that’s why we believe in letting experts do it for us. And what is more reassuring than knowing that a smallcase Manager managed to avoid a risky stock while the rest of the market was bullish on it? 

Explore smartly curated smallcases from Windmill Capital

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How does Windmill Capital avoid picking risky stocks?