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Financial Literacy: Catch Them Young



The ESB, formerly the Bombay Stock Exchange, has taken another step forward this year. The exchange now has over seven crore registered users on the basis of Unique Client Code (UCC). Likewise, the number of folios in the mutual fund industry is approaching 10 crore.

Tech savvy investors

The last crore growth on BSE is phenomenal, as it happened in just four and a half months while it took almost two years to go from five crore to six crore of investors and almost three years of four to five crores from UCC investors.

However, the interesting fact is that the investor population is very young. In total, 62 percent of investors are under 40, of which 24 percent are between 20 and 30 years old. According to the ESB, the growth was led by young tech-savvy users, with an age profile of 20 to 40, who contributed 82 lakh of user additions from six crore to seven crore. crore.

While these statistics indicate a growing awareness of capital markets, it would be useful for the whole system for new entrants to arrive with essential knowledge about the building blocks of investments and the risks inherent in investing. To achieve this, all participants in market infrastructure institutions and intermediaries must join hands.

Investor awareness

SEBI, mutual funds, brokerage houses, and stock exchanges regularly conduct investor education programs, but most of them are done by mandate. Most of the participants in such events tend to be middle-aged or older. Additionally, most of these events are about successful investors or stock picking, but rarely talk about current trends or context. The need of the hour is to impart basic knowledge to potential investors of a much younger age, that is, from the school level, like that organized by the College of Business at Michigan Technological University to United States.

The Husky Investment Tournament for Students (Grades 9-12) around the world provides virtual money to trade in the market in real time. Michigan Technological University also offers award winning scholarship programs (decided by portfolio returns) and cash prizes. In India too, we can consider similar contests mimicking real investment. Students may be offered different sets of portfolio stocks and virtual money and be asked to provide reasons to buy selected stocks. Another important lesson might be on how to use critical websites like BSE, NSE, and SEBI.

SEBI and exchanges can also partner with leading business universities to offer scholarship programs to attract students. The NSE and ESB have links with schools and have certificate programs, but the course content can perhaps be made more engaging through the use of technology.

Brokerages, on the other hand, may offer accounts for young people, such as the one offered by Fidelity Investments, a brokerage account specially designed to help children aged 13 to 17 invest, save and spend. If the young market players are mature, it benefits not only them, but also the entire market infrastructure, which is good for an emerging country like ours.

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