In 1979 when I did my first trade I got a handwritten contract saying bought 50 shares of TVS Suzuki (Ind Suzuki the moped manufacturer whose business was taken over by TVS Suzuki) for Rs. 19 or thereabouts. I had to make a payment in 3-4 days and the delivery would come in 3 weeks time. Or sometimes in 9 months time. It was not sure that it would come. By the time it came the price could have been 320 or 4.2 – you still had to take delivery of the shares bought at the price at which it was bought.

When you went to the bank the manager said “S…your dad’s cheque for ….IPO was about to be sent back, but I noticed it and put Rs. 300 into your dad’s account and I passed the cheque of Rs. 19000.

The only person who did financial business was the broker and he earned 2.5% commission going and coming. My clients knew it because it was in the contract with them. When we said short term we meant 3 years and when we said long term we meant 5 years. We did deals in the ring or off the ring and then contracts could still be issued.

In a day the market would have a turnover of Rs. 200 crores. Today Reliance alone will have a turnover more than that.

THERE WERE NO MUTUAL FUNDS OF COURSE. The LiC agent sold policies with small premia but always said ‘you have to pay for 30 years’ and he offered to pay the first premium. Always.

Bankers did banking and Lic agents sold Lic policies. Lic agents also paid your PPF dues, updated the passbook, bought National savings certificaates for you – and paid back half the commission that they made from you.

Now things are different. You have just 4500 mutual funds to choose from. You can buy it online or offline. Direct or Regular. Dividend or Growth. Dividend reinvested or paid out….more choice more confusion.

Even just 15 years ago Financial services was just 9% of the Index. However, today it is 28%. This is growing. When insurance companies, mutual funds, brokerage firms get listed this will ONLY go up, not down. Wait for Hdfc Securities, Icici securities, Kotak…..to list!

Boys and girls of our times just got educated, got married and had babies. Now they are asking why marry?, why have kids, why, why,….and they get stressed! Hey but longevity is growing up!

We paid much higher costs for doing transactions. Wait a minute we did far, far lesser transactions!

Some things have worsened. The human mind has not changed. In the 1970s Graham said ‘man’s enemy is likely to be himself’. True today. Sms, wassup, groups,…have made things worse. Everybody and his aunt believes that the market is over priced. However SIPs are increasing. Total number, average amount, are all increasing. TER refusing to go down. Industry has a strong lobby. New investors today are much worse than the new investors we got in 1995. I used to have a client who said what ever you do for yourself do 50% for me’. Open mandate, never asked why, or what. Would come once in a while to get shares transferred in his name. When he sold he would courier the signed forms. Shares used to lie with us in a cupboard.

Today you can invest in a Swedish Krona with shorting the Yen ETF. Or in carbon credits. Or in VIX. Or in the index. Or Indian Index long and Chinese Index short ETF. Nobody understands why we have so many products. Obfuscation is the name of the game. Other than the manufacturer and the distributor I doubt if anybody makes money. The regulator does not understand the product for sure.

The number of new products is mind numbing. Just like telephones. We paid more charges but instrument was free. Now we pay 30000 for a phone and 2000 per month. We paid Rs.3000 per month phone bill and phone was free. Lol. Nothing has changed.

Technology has changed. The speed and way of doing transactions has changed. However human emotions of fear, greed, regret, jealousy, envy,…have not changed. Long term wealth creation principles have not changed.

 

 

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