My Easel

July 6, 2007

Taking stock of my Markets Course

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 11:00 pm

So I finally wrapped up the stock market course I’ve been going to. It was a four day stint at the BSE that began on the 2nd of this month and ended yesterday.

It was quite an intensive course, albeit at the beginners’ level. It was rather extensive as well, and was not limited to the stock markets. They taught us about the bond market and derivatives market as well.

The course consisted of a set of four 1½ to 2 hour lectures each day. Most lectures included PowerPoint presentations, with very few speakers choosing to go extempore or use the board. All lectures were delivered by professionals, each an expert in his field. This part I found rather impressive, each could answer every question thrown at him. Despite the fact that there were more than 80 students in the class, it was pretty interactive, not the monologues we’re used to elsewhere.

Day 1:

The first day started with a lecture on secondary markets by Amrut Coutinho. This was more or less an introductory lecture. He talked about the various types of markets, market players, their objectives, various terms used in the markets and behavioural economics.

The next lecture was about the BSE’s OnLine Trading system, BOLT for short. He spent a few minutes on the process of book building and trading cycles, the rest of the time on the BOLT. This is the computer network that connects brokers using a screen based trading system, unlike the open outcry system that the folks at the NYMEX and CME still use.

During the next lecture, Coutinho came back to talk about processes like trading, clearing, settlement and surveillance.

The last lecture of the day was on Dematerialization and Depositories, and the various technicalities associated.

Day 2:

The first lecture started with a lecture on Indices, the numbers, so to speak, that we read about in the financial papers. The index of choice was the Sensex, but they gave us a sufficient amount of information about various other market and sectoral indices as well.

Then we had a great lecture on Debt markets by T Ramji. This one was more or less an extempore act, with bits of humour thrown in for good measure. The speaker used various (mis)management stories to explain what one should and should not invest in.

The last lecture was on Technical analysis, which is basically the use of charts to forecast trends in the market and to make decisions based on these observations. The speaker was Hemen Kapadia, who I hear is a famous day trader and analyst. I Googled him and found a respectable number of hits. This guy is apparently a regular on a number of news channels, I could see that quite a few students had heard of him before. A lot of students were rather bored by the end of the lecture however, they could not grasp the concepts. It was obvious that without a strong background in math, calculus particularly, the subject would be incomprehensible. I found this subject particularly fascinating.

Day 3:

Day 3 did not begin too nicely for me. The train I took in the morning got stuck behind one that had broken down. I was a bit late when I got to the exchange, but thankfully, I didn’t miss much.

The first lecture was about Primary markets and book building…. IPOs in simpler terms. We went through all the key players, the processes involved, the red herring prospectus and the types of investors. The second lecture was an extension of the first, and was about the whole listing process.

The third lecture was on Fundamental analysis… this was probably the best we had. The lecture was taken by Vijay Paradkar who is, amongst other things, a venture capitalist. At the beginning he said that he would clarify the subject by confusing us. And confuse us he did. He used a bunch of great examples to explain the paradox between perception and reality in the market. He did not really clarify anything then, he had a lecture with us the next day. A cliffhanger, employed to perfection if you ask me.

The last one was on Grievances and Arbitration. Always a good thing to know.

Day 4:

The last day didn’t begin all that great either, the first speaker turned up about a half hour late. The lecture was about Mutual Funds and the speaker was this guy from ICICI. He explained the subject fairly well, but rushed through the end.

The second and fourth lectures were on derivatives… futures and options basically. Somewhat complex, but the guy did a pretty good job.

The third lecture was the second part of the Fundamental analysis series. He clarified everything during this lecture and explained all the factors to look at before investing. As before the lecture was brilliant.


Overall view:

Right off the bat, I can say that the course was great. I thank all the people who recommended the course to me. The course provided an Indian perspective of the market. The course venue was comfortable and the faculty and administration were complete professionals. The food was great (Oh yeah… I forgot to mention, they provided brunch, lunch and tea).

The flipside… I feel that the course was a bit short. They did not cover either the commodities markets or the currency markets. Both these topics were mentioned in passing, but the speakers did not elaborate. I wish that the course organizers had extended the course by a day and had included, in addition to the commodities and currency markets, topics like insurance, entrepreneurship, foreign markets, personal finance and financial planning.

On the whole… I would recommend this course to anyone who invests at present, or plans on investing anytime soon. Get in touch with the folks at the stock exchange. They are helpful, responsive and honest. Yup, they are quite honest. A couple of people did ask the course administrator whether or not they should take up any of the advanced level courses. The guy said that it wasn’t really a good idea without some work experience or some experience of having invested in the stock market.


1 Comment »

  1. hey, welcome to blogging..nice post, concise and easy to read.

    keep posting

    Comment by raghav — July 7, 2007 @ 11:28 am | Reply

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