CareerChoice:Stock brokers and Investment Analyst
Stock exchanges to some extent play an important role as indicators, reflecting the performance of the country's economic state of health. Stock market is a place where securities are bought and sold. It is exposed to a high degree of volatility, prices fluctuate within minutes and are determined by the demand and supply of stocks at a given time. Stock brokers are the ones who buys and sells securities on behalf of individuals and institutions for some commission.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the authorised body which regulates the operations of stock exchanges, banks and other financial institutions. The past performances in the capital markets specially the securities scam by Harshad Mehta has led to tightening of the operations by SEBI. In addition the international trading and investment exposure has made it imperative to better operational efficiancy. With the view to improve, discipline and bring greater transparency in this sector, constant efforts are being made and to a certain extent improvements have been made.
As the condition of capital markets are constantly improving, it has started drawing attention of lot more people than before. On the career related aspects, professionals have opportunities to choose from for a wide range of jobs available in a number of organisations in this sector and one can expect to have good times ahead of him.
Nature of Work
In India capital markets are experiencing radical reformation. The stricter regulatory framework alongwith introduction of information and technology has added more professionalism to the industry. The most common areas of work in the capital markets, one can look forward to include the following:
- STOCK BROKERS: Given the present complex situation of our capital markets, stock brokers have to face challenging tasks. The specialized knowledge and professional acumen required has made the job of brokers highly skillful. The work of stock brokers depends upon the kind operations they engage themselves into. Some of the brokers like to practice with individual clients while others work for institutions. Brokers who work for institutional investors are often called securities traders. Many prefer to work as dealers, advisors and securities analysts. Security analysts are those who advise companies on floatations of shares as they are expected to have sound knowledge of capital markets. Brokers also work in the financial sector with banks, mutual funds, consultancies, insurance companies, pension funds and financial institutions etc.
- INVESTMENT ANALYSTS: Investments in todays capital markets is not something which can always fructify, based on mere guesses. It requires thorough scientific research and analysis to make something out of it. Investment analysts are those who carry out the very same job and help fund managers manage their investments. They can work as stock broking analysts or as institutional analysts. The expertise and experience, though it varies from individual to individual, in the subject of capital markets makes them suitable to handle high value investment decisions of merchant banks, insurance and pension funds and other financial institutions. With diversification of financial sector into vast and complex fields, investment analysts usually specialize in a particular field so that they can give their best.
The work of investment analysts include studying the companies financial reports, assess various statistical information, estimate demand and supply factors, profitability projections, compare financial results, visit the organisaton, meet the management, survey the industry as a whole and on the basis of the available information, finally conclude to a decision.
- EQUITY ANALYSTS: Investment markets all over the world are witnessing major changes. Indian markets are no exception. The amount of professionalism and complexity of financial markets has led to the adoption of most advanced techniques and approach while dealing in securities. Increasing presence of both domestic and foreign players in the indian markets have further added to the demand for having a more systematic approach. Therefore arose the need for professionals who can specialize in the fields of capital markets. Equity analyst is one such specialist who does research and helps in systematic and better financial investments. Given the prevailing market conditions, equity analysts are in for favourable times ahead. There work is quite similar to that of investment analysts. The job mainly involves research activities apart from analysing financial performance, making profit projections, conducting interviews with the executives of c! ompanies, making field visits and market research, etc.
To deal and attend to different kinds of people is something which everybody cannot handle with ease and tact. As brokers' job includes handling similar situations, they need to have a well groomed personality and a knack to convince people. Patience is something, they cannot afford to lose as it can adversely affect their clientele. Good communication skills also count when dealing with a variety of people.
Technical aspects of the job of brokers, investment and equity analysts are almost similar and asks for sharp memory, analytical mind, foresight and logical approach to make projections, ability to withstand mental stress and handle complex situations as capital markets are highly susceptible to ups and downs.
A graduate in commerce can pursue the profession of a broker. To attain membership of the stock exchange, one has to go through a training under a broking firm for a period of minimum 6 months. The training aims to impart knowledge of subjects like accountancy, law related subjects, capital markets, securities and portfolio analysis, etc.
Apart from having knowledge of subjects like accountancy, economics and statistics, investment analysts having additional knowledge in specific subjects like engineering, biotechnology, pharmacy etc. adds to their advantage. Since they have better understanding in those fields, it can be beneficial in making investment decisions in those sectors.
Those thinking of a career as equity analyst can pursue the postgraduate diploma course in Equity Rearch and Analysis offered by The Institute of Chartered Financial Analysis of India situated at Hyderabad, India.
Colleges, Institutions and Universities
Capital markets in India are going through major reform phase. Initiatives taken by SEBI in the direction to discipline, reform and bring greater transparency in the markets has had positive effect on the performance. Foreign institutional investors, mutual funds and even individuals have once again started posing confidence in the capital markets. This has enhanced prospects for brokers, investment and equity analysts. Even otherwise also, economic growth and liberalisation taking place in the country has opened number of opportunities in various organisations like mutual funds, investment consultantancy, broker firms, insurance companies, merchant banks, pension funds and other financial institutions. They can also start their own consultancies. The present scenario definitely speaks positive of the future of this industry.