In conversation


The Nifty 50

Reflections from Senior Associate at Islandbridge, Emily Hicks.

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The term “US Nifty 50” refers to a group of fifty large-cap stocks on the New York Stock Exchange that were most favoured by institutional investors in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These stocks were characterised by strong growth records and included well-known companies like Coca-Cola, IBM, and Procter & Gamble.


The popularity of the Nifty 50 arose from the prevailing investor sentiment at the time, which favoured high-quality growth stocks that could succeed in any economic environment. Investors believed these “blue chip” stocks could sustain high growth rates indefinitely, and thus they commanded very high price-to-earnings ratios, often in the 80-90x range. However, this optimistic sentiment was part of a broader speculative bubble that eventually burst. During the bear market of 1973-1974, the Nifty 50 significantly underperformed in many cases dropping 80-90% (more on this below), and assets like gold and other less popular international stocks emerged as better performers.


So what caused this exuberance? We see several parallels to the market environment today…


The late 1960s and early 1970s saw rising concerns about inflation. The Nifty 50 stocks, being large and financially solid companies, were perceived as safer bets against inflationary pressures, as their strong market positions and pricing power were believed to shield them from economic volatility.

Source: Bloomberg

Both periods experienced significant increases in energy prices. In the 1970s, oil price shocks in 1973 and 1979 due to geopolitical tensions in the Middle East played a crucial role in driving inflation (ringing any bells). Similarly, in the early 2020s, factors including geopolitical tensions, such as the conflict in Ukraine starting in 2022, and supply chain disruptions contributed to rising energy costs.

Investment Philosophy Shift

During the 1960s and 1970s, there was a significant shift in investment philosophy towards favouring growth stocks. Institutional investors were infatuated by the Nifty Fifty—a small group of “one-decision” stocks, companies so appealing that their stocks should always be bought and never sold, regardless of price. Among these select few were Avon, Disney, McDonald’s, Polaroid, and Xerox. Each was a leader in its field with a strong balance sheet, high profit rates, and double-digit growth rates.
We have seen a similar pattern in recent years. Since the default of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, which marked a critical point in the global financial crisis, the performance of growth and value stocks has distinctly diverged. Now, there were no ETFs back then, or really even indexes so comparison is challenging. Secondly, the proliferation of passive investing has without question added to this phenomenon in recent years.

Source: Bloomberg

Growth stocks, particularly in technology and consumer discretionary sectors have outperformed significantly in the 15 years since the financial crisis. This period saw a sustained low-interest-rate environment, which tends to favour growth stocks. They benefit twofold from cheaper borrowing costs and the greater value being placed on future earnings (i.e. long duration assets). We do see some trends supporting the tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google parent Alphabet, such as digitalization, e-commerce, and cloud computing, and more recently AI. But true to old form these high-flyers have been dubbed the MAG-7, or GRANOLAS in Europe. They have dominated recent market performance and are quintessential growth stocks.

What happened?

The bubble eventually collapsed. In late 1972, Xerox traded for 49 times earnings, Avon for 65 times earnings, Polaroid for 91 times earnings. When the stock market crashed in 1973, the Nifty Fifty defied gravity for a while, held up by institutional enthusiasm that created a two-tiered market of the richly priced Nifty Fifty and the depressed rest (which sounds a lot like today). Then, in the memorable words of a Forbes columnist, “the Nifty Fifty were taken out and shot one by one”. From their 1972–1973 highs to their 1974 lows, Xerox fell 71%, Avon 86%, and Polaroid 91%. In the 694 days between 11 January 1973 and 6 December 1974, the New York Stock Exchange’s Dow Jones Industrial Average (no one paid much attention to the S&P500 back then) benchmark suffered the seventh-worst bear market in its history, losing over 45% of its value.

Source: Bloomberg

After the collapse of the Nifty 50 during the bear market of 1973-1974, several asset classes emerged as better performers, capitalising on the economic and market conditions of the time:
Gold is traditionally seen as a safe-haven asset in times of economic uncertainty and inflation. During the mid-1970s, as inflation soared and confidence in traditional financial institutions and mechanisms waned, gold prices increased significantly. Though the 1970s movement might be explained by the effective end of the Bretton Woods system, we see an eerily similar pattern emerging today.

Source: Bloomberg

International equities in Japan and the United Kingdom outperformed. In the UK, the crash ended after the rent freeze was lifted on 19 December 1974, allowing a readjustment of property prices; over the following year, stock prices rose by 150%, practically doubling in 3-months.
In conclusion, this piece does not advocate for a complete pivot back to traditional value investing principles (to be clear, we think the definition has substantially changed since the 70’s). Instead, it urges caution against performance chasing and the risks associated with high investor concentration in a few high-flying stocks or sectors. Diversification and patience remain a cornerstone of a prudent investment strategy. 

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Islandbridge Capital Limited (‘’Islandbridge’’, ‘’Firm’’, “we”, “our” or “us”) recognises the importance of protecting the privacy and security of your personal information. We are committed to conducting business in accordance with all applicable Data Protection laws and regulations and in line with the highest standards of ethical conduct. This policy sets forth the expected behaviours of Islandbridge’s employees in relation to the collection, use, retention, transfer, disclosure and destruction of any Personal Data belonging to an Islandbridge Contact (i.e. the Data Subject). 

Personal Data is any information (including opinions and intentions) which relates to an identified or Identifiable Natural Person. Personal Data is subject to certain legal safeguards and other regulations, which impose restrictions on how organisations may process Personal Data. 

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Islandbridge store and processes Personal Data for one, all, or a combination of the below reasons.

  1. Promotion of Islandbridge’s products and services, for example, investment services, family office and other advisory services.
  2. Communication with Data Subject on their accounts and investment strategies.
  3. Distribution of Firm’s news / updates / charitable projects / events and general announcements made in the course of doing business.
  4. Support interaction with Data Subject, including to provide information on products which they have requested or to respond to communications with us.
  5. Delivery of services to Data Subject / or the institution they work or act for; and
  6. Compliance with legal and regulatory obligations. For instance, we may be required to use and retain personal information for legal and compliance reasons, such as the prevention, detection, or investigation of a crime; loss prevention; or fraud.

A database is held by the Data Controller to identify which purpose the Data Subject’s Personal Data is being stored. We will use and hold your personal information only: 

  •   If you have consented to us doing so.
  •   If we need it to perform a contract which we have entered into with you.
  •   If we need it to comply with a legal obligation; or
  •   If we have a legitimate interest which is not overridden by your interests or fundamental rights and freedoms. Such legitimate interests will be the providing of investment services by us or administrative or operational processes within our Firm.

We will only use Personal Data for the purposes that it was collected for, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another reason which is compatible with the original purpose. If we need to use Personal Data for an unrelated purpose, we will notify Data Subject and we will explain the legal basis which allows us to do so. 

In some circumstances we may anonymise your personal information so that it can no longer be associated with you, in which case it is no longer personal information. 

We will not share your Personal Data unless we have consent to do so from the Data Subject. Islandbridge do not sell on Personal Data. 


In the normal course of business, Islandbridge may store Personal Data on Data Subjects that will contain at least one of the following types of personal information:

  1. First name, middle name, surname.
  2. Date of birth.
  3. Country of residence.
  4. Job title.
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  6. Email address.
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  10. Support in relation to regulatory professional client categorization requirement.
  11. Notes on any correspondence we may have had with the Data Subject.
  12. Financial information such as income, assets and investments.
  13. Other information related to Data Subject’s investment goals, risk tolerance, and investment history.

Islandbridge maintains a number of database files which individually maintain records of the above. In some instances a Data Subject may appear on one or more internal database files.


The security of your personal information is very important to us and we take this matter very seriously. We attempt to safeguard any non-public personal information we hold about you and maintain established internal policies and procedures as well as physical and electronic controls that comply with applicable standards to safeguard access to personal information in our possession from accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorized use or disclosure. We use cloud based storage media, including Microsoft 365. You recognize that these systems, while undoubtedly secure, are not foolproof from hackers and that the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Therefore, although we have implemented security controls, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our site and any transmission is at your own risk.

We restrict access to personal information which we hold to those employees and agents who need to know that information in order to provide products and services to you. Agents may include auditors, administrators and compliance consultants.

In providing information to agents, we may have to transfer your personal information outside of the European Economic Area (“EEA”). We will always ensure that there is a legal basis and a relevant safeguard method for such data transfer so that your personal information is treated in a manner that is consistent with, and respects the EU laws and other applicable laws and regulations on data protection.

How long we hold your personal information for will vary and will depend principally on:

  • the purpose for which we are using your personal information – we will need to keep the information for as long as is necessary for the relevant purpose, and
  • legal obligations – laws or regulation may set a minimum period for which we have to keep your personal information.


We will only collect and use your Personal Data where we have legitimate business reasons to do so. We may obtain Personal Data from you to provide you a service or when we provide a service, or when you contact us or visit our offices, including when you call us, get in touch with us, or when you or your organisation corresponds with us using any means of communication. This includes Personal Data provided to us:

  1. In regard to services we provide.
  2. When you contact us with a question or enquiry electronically or by calling our office (recording of telephone calls is required by MiFID II).
  3. When you contact us about potential employment opportunities with Islandbridge.
  4. When you provide our staff, directors, client and investors with business cards or contact details.
  5. If you deal with us when we are providing services to one of our clients.
  6. When we receive referrals from other employees, clients or suppliers.
  7. When you make a complaint;
  8. When you deal with us in order to provide us with services.
  9. When staff give us your details as an emergency contact.
  10. When you visit this website and the resources that you access; or
  11. When candidates give us your details as a referee.

We may also collect your Personal Data when we search websites where you have posted your data to be found in relation to legitimate business opportunities (as defined in Article 6 of the GDPR).


Islandbridge recognises the importance of protecting your personal data when you visit our website.

We may collect and process the following information:

  • personally identifiable information such as names and addresses from people who have voluntarily input such information either when registering to use certain sections of the website and/or in order to contact us;
  • if you contact us, we may keep a record of that correspondence as well as your e-mail address;
  • our computers automatically collect certain non-personally identifiable information when you visit our website, such as the type of browser you are using or the domain name of your Internet service provider. We may also collect aggregate information on the site pages our users visit and how long you visited for.


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How We Use Your Information That We Collect

The Personal Data we hold is only accessed by authorised personnel. To the extent permitted by law, we will not sell, share, or otherwise disclose any of the information we collect online. We may use your information to improve our website and the information that we provide or to respond to your requests or questions.


You have several legal rights in relation to the Personal Data that we hold about you. These include:

  1. The right to obtain information regarding the processing of your Personal Data and access to the Personal Data we hold about you.
  2. The right to withdraw your consent to our processing of your Personal Data at any time. Please note, however, that we may still be entitled to process your Personal Data if we have a legitimate reason for doing so.
  3. In some circumstances, the right to receive some Personal Data in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format and/or request that we transmit that Personal Data to
    a Third Party where this is technically feasible. Please note that this right only applies to Personal Data which you have provided to us;
  4. The right to request that we rectify your Personal Data if it is inaccurate or incomplete.
  5. The right to request that we erase your Personal Data in certain circumstances. Please note that there may be circumstances where you ask us to erase your Personal Data but we are legally entitled to retain it.
  6. The right to object to and the right to request that we restrict our processing of your Personal Data in certain circumstances. Again, there may be circumstances where you object to or ask us to restrict our processing of your Personal data but we are legally entitled to continue processing your Personal Data and / or to refuse that request; and
  7. The right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office if you think that any of your rights have been infringed by us.
You can exercise your rights by contacting us directly – see the “Contact Us” section below. You can find out more information about your rights by contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office or by visiting their website at


Data Subjects are able to request that Islandbridge remove their Personal Data by emailing [email protected]. This inbox is monitored by the Data Controller.
If you have concerns about the way we handle your personal data, you can also contact the Information Commissioner’s Officer to raise a complaint.
Data Subjects are also able to request that Islandbridge provide them with details of the Personal Data held on file in addition to how Islandbridge uses that data.
Please note that there may be circumstances where we cannot delete information that we hold about you because of our legal obligations. Additionally, we may charge a reasonable fee in order to meet our costs if your request is manifestly unfounded or excessive.
You may withdraw your consent to the receipt of marketing materials via electronic means at any time, free of charge, by sending an email to us or by following any alternative procedure specified in any future electronic communication.


You agree to all terms of the Privacy Policy as set out above.



This Privacy Policy was last updated on the 1 April 2023. We may update this Privacy Policy from time to time and you should review it whenever you visit our website or before providing us with any Personal Data about yourself. The most current version of our Privacy Policy will be available on our website or by contacting us directly.