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Home > Business > Special

A new breed of investors hit the Street

Krishnamoorthy B | November 07, 2005

Common wisdom has it that it is the men who go around scouting for stock picks. Well, things are fast changing. The current rally, which has seen markets climbing new peaks have lured many to take the plunge into equities.

While market analysts have been harping about the rising retail participation in the markets, what is interesting is that the gender bias in equity investing, heavily skewed towards men historically, is witnessing a subtle shift. Yes, there is a new breed of women investors who have taken to equities like ducks to water. Going by their experiences, they have been successful too, bull market notwithstanding.

Finding a new passion

By the looks of it, home makers have found a new passion to while away their time. The good part is they are making money out of it too. Mrs Vasanthi Vishwanath, a 33 year old home maker, who stays with her husband and daughter, is among a rising breed of home makers who prefer the excitement of equities to TV soaps.

She chooses to watch business news on the telly to get a feel of the action packed markets. After taking her VRS (voluntary retirement scheme) from a leading multinational bank last year in the month of August, Mrs Vishwanath was exposed to the idea of venturing into the stock market by her father.

Considering that the stock market has always been dominated by men, Vishwanath still made an audacious attempt to step into the market with an initial capital of Rs 20,000.

However, she feels that men are more serious about this business as compared to women.

"It's just a matter of extra income for many women as compared to some men whose livelihood is solely dependent on the markets. Moreover, women don't get much time to balance it with their domestic chores," says Mrs Vishwanath.

"At any given point of time my investment in the market has never been above Rs 50,000 and I prefer to go for frontline stocks which are more safe and secure," she adds. Mrs Vishwanath holds shares of companies like TCS, Infosys, Tisco, NTPC and MTNL.

Mrs Hiranandani can be considered as one among the veteran women participants in this market. "My inclination towards the stock market has been there from the last ten years, since the time I took the responsibility of handling my father-in-law's portfolio which was unattended for a long time", says Mrs Hiranandani, who is now 62 years old.

She spends around 10-12 hours a day watching the leading news channels and also updates herself about the market developments by reading magazines and newspapers.

Hiranandani's problem initially was to find a broker since all the scrips in her father-in-law's portfolio were listed at the Calcutta Stock Exchange. Though she faced problems to liquidate her father-in-law's portfolio, Mrs Hiranandani slowly graduated to learn the tricks of the trade.

Currently, she has a healthy portfolio of Rs 15 lakh (Rs 1.5 million) on which she has earned a profit of around Rs 270,000 in the last six months as compared to her last year's profit of Rs 400,000.

Mrs Hiranandani believes in the policy of staying invested in the market rather than just trading in it. She sticks to the traditional style of trading offline through her brokers and updates her diary with the latest market developments. She also offers advice to her friends and even some brokers, who sometimes find it difficult to maintain the facts and figures of company AGMs and dividend issues as meticulously as she does.

Experience in the market has helped Mrs Hiranandani understand the trends in the movement of scrips at various phases of the market. Some of her observations across various sectors reveal that the shipping stocks go on an upward spiral after the month of August, pharma scrips display healthy figures after the month of May, and the scrips in the textile sector usually perform well after July.

Mrs Hiranandani, who loves travelling across the globe, alters her portfolio according to her strategy when she goes on a holiday. Her advice to fellow investors - "try and clean up your portfolio by the month of January and make fresh purchases by the month of March again".

Professionals in the fray

It is not just the home makers who are glued to the markets throughout the day. Professional women are also making their mark. Ms Daisy T Boga, business associate at Motilal Oswal Securities is one example. She started trading at the ring in BSE at the age of 28.

Now 44 years old, Ms Boga is still very fascinated about the market and feels that the surge in women participation is due to the technological development, which has made trading more convenient apart from the rising awareness levels. Today, she has 30 clients and manages 5 portfolios on her own.

"Out of the total investor base, only around 30-35 per cent of them are women out of which only 5 per cent of them are professionals who understand the market. Women are generally short term investors, more organised and take calculative risk," she says.

Ms Boga strongly feels that brokers or broking houses need to capture this audience through proper marketing strategies or advertisements. She herself is an investor who prefers long term investments rather short term trades.

Mrs Kalyani Krishnamurthy, 55, an ex-State Bank of India employee spends majority of her time during the day tracking the Sensex movements. After taking her VRS two years back felt the urge to do something constructive sitting at home.

"After working with SBI in their advances department for 31 years, my interest for companies, shares and markets grew which made me get into this rally two years back," she says.

Mrs Kirshnamurthy is more of a day trader but loves to retain scrips like Infosys, TCS, NTPC and TISCO for a longer time frame. Krishnamurthy who trades online has managed to make some fast bucks on scrips like Sesa Goa, HMT, BHEL and many more.

However, scrips like Cinevista, Himachal Futuristic and FACT showed her the other face of the market where she lost some money too. But that hasn't stopped her from making fresh investments in the markets, which she feels is an enjoyable place to be in.

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