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D-Street invites tech innovators to help growth-hacking

“We have to see where the growth opportunity is using financial technologies.”|
Dec 03, 2018, 01.34 PM IST
Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO, BSE, said anyone in the financial markets has to adopt new technologies if he wants to stay in the race.
Top honchoes of India’s financial markets have extended an open invitation to fintech innovators to help them expand reach, innovate products and make customer services more efficient.

Participating in a panel discussion at the ETMarkets Global Summit 2018, Raamdeo Agrawal, Co-founder, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said the market has often been averse to embracing new technology, but this is what have transformed the Indian market landscape over the years, making it more efficient and transparent.

As a Dalal Street veteran who has seen these transformations take place in front of his eyes, Agrawal said the advent of NSE was one of the biggest technology innovations in Indian markets.

“When I saw a stock ticker screen for the first time, I couldn’t believe the whole market could be reduced to one screen. Technology has changed the landscape, it has brought in transparency and created a huge opportunity for growth,” he said

“We have to see where the growth opportunity is using financial technologies,” Agrawal said.

NSE CEO Vikram Limaye said the opportunity for use of technology is large in market-related products, as the penetration level in financial services is very low in India.

“The penetration level in equities is just 5 per cent in India, which is significantly lower than 13-15 per cent for other emerging markets and around 25-40 per cent in developed markets. We have to find better ways to move saving into markets,” Limaye said.

Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO, BSE, said anyone in the financial markets has to adopt new technologies if he wants to stay in the race.

Chauhan, credited with bringing equity derivative trade to India, highlighted that ETFs, and even things like net asset value (NAV) calculation and real-time order placements for stocks are significant achievements in terms of technology innovation.

"If you don't adopt newer technologies, you may stay behind and slowly become irrelevant over time. This happens faster in the financial market than any physical industry," he said.

“When a life insurance company settles claims on a real-time basis, that is quite extraordinary for me in terms of fintech setup,” Chauhan said.

Nimesh Shah, MD & CEO of ICICI Prudential AMC and newly-elected Chairman of Amfi, said the mutual fund industry needs to embrace technology in a big way to strengthen distribution.

“The industry can expand 10 times by using things like automation. Intermediaries are doing only around 5 per cent of the business that they can do,” he said.

"We are only in the phase of expanding the market. We can expand 10 times if we have reach. People are operating at only 5 per cent of business that they can do. We have to see how we can expand the distribution network,” Shah said

Shilpa Kumar, MD of ICICI Securities, said India’s broking industry was one of the firsts to embrace technology in a big way. “Reach is the biggest challenge in the Indian financial market. With the adoption of technology in 2000, things have just gone better and better,” she said.

With technology, a company can do multiple simulations to find which kind of portfolio is best suited for a client, she said. "Personalisation is the other level to understand a customer who wants to put an order. Through analytics, you can give more personalised offerings," she said.

Mukesh Agrawal, CEO of NSE Indices, said he is on the lookout for startups that can add value to businesses. He said his firm is already working on blockchain technology, which is at an early stage.

Calling common KYC as a new initiative, Agrawal said: Once you have done a KYC, it can go with banks, MFs, insurance companies, pension funds and the like.

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