CIO: In which other areas are you making changes?
Ashish Chauhan:There were three areas that needed transformation: The network, products, and distribution. Our network was largely Bombay-centric, the products were old-style, and the distribution network was limited. In three years, we have a significantly large number of members trading from outside Mumbai.
On the product front, we were only an equities market. Today, we have a significant market share in equity derivatives. We are trying to shore up our product range. In the currencies market, which we launched three years ago, we have over 25 percent market share. In the SME exchange, we have over 95 percent market share. We are now a full-service exchange with a breadth of products including interest rate futures, debt trading, currency futures, SMEs, E-IPO, debt distribution, mutual fund distribution, and interest rate derivatives. In new product categories, we are able to grab more market share because of our technological superiority. And, in categories where there are entrenched players, we are able to conquer the market fast because of our technology. Our distribution network was weak. Today, we are present in 2,000 cities.
CIO: A challenge for Indian bourses is getting more people to invest in stocks. How are you tackling that?
Ashish Chauhan:Reach or distribution was indeed a challenge. But today, we are present in 2,000 cities. The second challenge was the cost of investment, which used to be large. But now that's been optimized because of automation, mobile, and real-time information through TV and the Internet. That's another issue resolved.
The third challenge are competing products in insurance, banks deposits and chitfunds. Some bad products like chitfunds are better marketed in mofussil areas where we don't have a reach. Even banks are not doing very well in those areas. In the last few years, we've learnt that we need to be proactive about showing people the benefits of investing in financial markets. Each asset class like gold, silver, or real estate has a cycle. First the prices go up, then they plateau or they go down. In the last 5-6 years, gold, silver and real estate have given good returns but the stock market hasn't. So people are not investing in the stock markets. But even if gold went up five times in the last few years, it won't always be the case. As stock markets pick up, they will woo more investors.
CIO: What is your ask of Kersi Tavadia, the CIO at BSE?
Ashish Chauhan:Our business is IT enabled. Technology helps us manage a hugely complex business framework. We do not have any physical product. We don't produce anything except trust and we do that through IT. We have to ensure that our technology frameworks keep the entire trade going. I want Kersi to ensure that the markets never stop. That is the most critical part of our business because we offer a time-critical service to our users. Second, is to continue to innovate in a way that BSE is considered a leader in the industry.
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