It is the worst of times for the brokers of the Bombay Stock Exchange, hit as they are by the double whammy of inflation and a free-falling Sensex. They still go through the motions and check out every penny stock that moves up or down, but there is no sense of excitement or euphoria any longer in that monster of a building in Dalal Street.
Business is so dull that several brokers have been forced out of business. “Brokers now have few orders to execute as the clients are staying away. From being very busy people, brokers now have ample free time,” says Madhukar Sheth, a broker who now concentrates on consultancy to listed companies and his personal investments. “People are worried and nervous. Sub-brokerships and dealerships are getting cancelled,” adds Rahul Nangalia, 26, who joined his father’s brokerage firm about four years ago.
Naresh Bhalerao, a sub-broker, admits that the volume of his business is down by 70 per cent while Nangalia puts the slump in his company’s revenue at 40 per cent.
Sapan Patil, whose JNP Shares and Stock Brokers Private Limited was started by his grandfather sixty years ago, says many brokers have cut down on staff strength and are delaying capital expenses. “I am trying to see if I can get employees for cheaper salaries and thinking about not renewing certain software contracts,” says Patil. “At a personal level, too, we are always thinking of controlling expenses. I have sold two of my four cars that run on petrol and opted for diesel ones,” he says.