When people like Sucheta Dalal and Debashis Basu keep talking of falling investor population, it is scary. Frankly not only in India, but all over the world there seems to be a shrinking interest in equities.

Look at the world picture – the older people in Europe and US who have their money in Pension funds are withdrawing. So big investors in equities like CALPERS are not likely to be very big ‘net’ investors – and will actually be sellers.

In my mind however the worry is one of corporate governance. I do not see any company where the distinction between ‘company’s property’ and ‘top management’s property’ is very clear. This is not something which one can like. Too many small businessmen look at the shiny offices and cars of the big brands and keep wondering how long is this sustainable. We all keep looking at the ROCE, RONW, Gross and Net margins of BFSI, Pharma companies, Fmcg, …..and keep wondering is there really a difference between profiting and profiteering? Or between selling and gross mis-selling…

My bank now charges lesser mortals for even electronically debiting their accounts. Client exploitation has to end.

How, when, who, why, where………………I frankly have no answers….(the following story assumes reasonable knowledge of Mahabharata)

Let us take an example from the Puranas. In the Mahabharata War, the Commander of the Kaurava army, Dronacharya, creates the chakravyuha (a military formation), to TRAP the Pandavas and take them prisoner.

However when the chakravyuha is formed it is Abhimanyu who enters the formation.

Soon the tired kid is

a) attacked from the rear     b) attacked by many people and killed.

Now Drona (Teacher, Trainer and the Commander of the Forces) has taken part (actively) in the MURDER of this kid.

If the C-in-C breaks 3 rules of the war, where is corporate governance?

If the C-in-C takes approval for trapping a warrior, but takes part in the murder dance, where is corporate governance?

Let us for a minute concede that Abhimanyu was at least aware of the dangers of war.

A much worse situation arose in the Darbar of Dhirdhirashtra….

The disrobing of Draupadi.

The Queen of the Pandavas was lost in a wager (there is nowhere mention of a husband’s right to gamble away his wife, but that is another topic!).

She is brought to the main assembly and in the midst of  ‘000s of prying male eyes, she is sought to be disrobed.

Look at corporate governance – the King, Teachers and Trainers (Drona, Kripacharya), Bheeshma (all powerful patriarch) – ALL OF THEM KEEP SILENT.

So to even think that Bheeshma would have made a difference while Abhimanyu was being killed if futile.

Moral of the story: Draupadi was saved by Lord Krishna.

So for the real small INVESTOR (if he is not dead) can be saved by…..Lord Krishna…lol…

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  1. Corporate governance is one angle to the story ,but why discount the massive,unprecedented intervention by central banks which clearly and shamelessly is in favor of the big players and is definitely anti ordinary investor?
    corporate greed and malpractices are not new -they have existed forever and will continue to exist as long as investors are not diligent and prudent and courts are not efficient enough to punish criminals.However govt policies and especially central bank policies are ,imo,the biggest factor which drives out ‘small’ investors and even some institutional investors with limited mandates from the extremely volatile stock markets

  2. Great points to thing again Subra.

    However, what should we do Subra.. Jobs are not rewarding/stimulating at all..
    Equity market has become a playground for FII’s now..
    Aggressive reading and deliberating also doesnt help!!

    What should we consider doing now for next 25 years?

    Regards
    Aditya

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