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GAME-CHANGERS Of The Evolving Investment Ecosphere

| 1/24/2013 9:00 PM Thursday

The Indian markets have gone through a transformation over the past two decades. From a single bourse market largely controlled by a coterie of brokers, the Indian capital markets have evolved to keep pace with the changing times. With a change in leadership at the two premier bourses, the BSE and the NSE, and the entry of the MCX into the picture, the Indian capital markets are once again at the cusp of sweeping changes. Shailendra Lotlikar takes you through the current state of the markets and the likely shape of things to come.

How many of you know what a trading ring and an open outcry system is? Well, if that sounded like too smug a question, allow us to put it another way. How many of you have traded in a trading ring where the open outcry system used to be followed? We are sure, if we had taken a poll on this, the numbers of those saying “aye” would be abysmally low. However, the terms are markers of what you call evolution – a sea change happening in the way things are done over a period of time. The Indian capital markets too have gone through this phase in their process of evolution over the past 138 odd years. From the good old trading ring where the open outcry system was the way of price discovery to electronic trading terminals which have enhanced the overall efficiency and quality of trading in stocks, the Indian markets have come a long way. 

There is really no need to discuss the finer historical details of the capital markets in India. From their inception in 1875 when the Bombay Stock Exchange actually began operating, till today, the markets have gone through their own share of ups and downs, trying to fulfill their stated objectives all the way. 

Companies have been listed, delisted and relisted. Regulations have been framed, reframed and realigned to the emerging trends. Intermediaries have shaped up to keep in sync with the changing times. Settlement cycles have come down from around 15 days to At The Cusp of Change just about two days, not to mention  the elimination of the menace of bad deliveries. New products have come in, and the Futures & Options segment, in fact, is the main driver of market volumes today. All this had one stated objective – to improve the efficiency of the markets with the sole aim of ensuring better wealth creation via the most vibrant asset class, i.e. equity. The question is, have we collectively managed to achieve those objectives in the real sense of the term – inclusive wealth creation? If not, what has plagued us and where do we go from here? All these questions become even more important in the context of the developments that we are witnessing today. Let’s see how. 

 

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