Among the indelible images associated with Mahatma Gandhi are those of the three wise monkeys, embodying the timeless adage, "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil." While this philosophy profoundly relates to personal ethics, it can also be skilfully adapted to harmonise with the fundamental strategies that investors must employ in the quest to protect and grow their wealth.
"See no evil" – Embrace Responsible Wealth Management
The first of Gandhi's three wise monkeys covers its eyes, symbolising the principle of "See No Evil." Gandhi urged us to introspect, to scrutinise our actions, and comprehend the consequences of our choices. In the realm of wealth management, this translates into the imperative of due diligence, where both clients and advisors must meticulously research and comprehend investment opportunities, assessing their risks and potential returns. Moreover, in addition to upholding honor and ethical conduct in their personal lives, investors must extend their ethical considerations to their wealth creation journey.
Modern wealth management places a premium on responsible investing, with a growing emphasis on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Thus, investors should aspire to "see no evil" within their portfolios, which can be accomplished by steering clear of investments in companies or industries that perpetuate negative social or environmental consequences. This approach allows for wealth generation while simultaneously contributing to the betterment of society at large.
"Hear no evil" – Tune Out Market Frenzy
The second monkey, covering its ears, signifies, "Hear No Evil." For Gandhi, this denoted the power of silence and the importance of listening before speaking. In the realm of investing, this translates to the art of patience and composure during turbulent market times—a trait that eludes many investors. While emotions are inevitably intertwined with one's wealth, succumbing to emotional impulses can lead to portfolio disarray.
Investors must recognise the value of "hear no evil" by insulating themselves from market noise and short-term fluctuations that may divert them from their well-considered long-term investment strategies. By ignoring market frenzies and sidestepping emotional reactions to every financial headline, one can uphold the sanctity of their portfolio and steadily pursue their investment objectives. Remember, patience and discipline are the cornerstones of successful wealth building.
"Speak no evil" – Uphold Integrity in Disclosures
The third monkey, covering its mouth, signifies "Speak No Evil." For the fearless leader, this meant adhering to truth and non-violence in speech. In the realm of wealth management, "Speak No Evil" translates into the pivotal values of honesty and transparency in financial disclosures and reporting. While the allure of wealth may tempt, it is imperative for investors to adhere to the financial regulations and reporting standards established by regulatory authorities.
This entails providing accurate and timely financial reports, disclosing relevant investment holdings, and complying with tax regulations. Such practices foster accountability and oversight, essential components in the curation of a portfolio grounded in integrity. Investors are accountable not only to themselves and their financial advisors but also to regulatory bodies that oversee financial markets.
As we celebrate the 154th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, it is undeniable that his wisdom transcends time and borders. On this commemorative occasion, let us draw inspiration from these timeless principles and weave them into our financial practices, in a concerted effort to honour Mahatma Gandhi's legacy while nurturing a world where wealth is managed with integrity, responsibility, and a steadfast commitment to the greater good.
(Vinay Ahuja is Executive Director, 360 ONE Wealth. Views are own)
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