“Can you imagine a headload worker in Kerala who buys 100 shares of Videocon Limited, that too decades ago? When I was with the Cochin Stock Exchange (CSE) in the early eighties the buyers and sellers included autorickshaw drivers and headload workers. The CSE indeed nurtured a rich investment culture in the state,” says P R Aravindakshan Nair, director of Acumen Capital Market (India) Ltd, who was an early member of CSE.
Cochin Stock Exchange, which played a pivotal role in moulding the share investment culture in the state, is going to be history soon.
The board of CSE had already taken a formal decision last November to exit and informed its decision to the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). This is following the SEBI decision in May last year that only those exchanges with Rs 100-crore net worth and `1,000 crore annual turnover would be allowed to operate.
“Share trading those days had a festive mood. As many as 500 brokers and their associates were there on the trading floor which was 10,000 sqft wide. At a time around 5000 people were there on the floor. The trading was in Open Outcry system (Open Outcry is a system of trading on an exchange in which members stand on the trading floor and make orders to each other by crying aloud). “People from Kunnamkulam, Kanjirappally, Muvattupuzha and Pala were the usual investors. They came in vehicles in huge numbers. On a trading day there would be at least 10,000 people in and around CSE. The trading time was from 12 pm-2 pm,” Aravindakshan Nair said.
The CSE was established in 1978. The office was initially on TD Road. In 1979 it was shifted to ST Reddiar Building on Veekshanam Road. Later in 1997 the office was shifted to Kaloor. But in 2001, after the existence of National Stock Exchange (NSE), trading in CSE stopped. The exchange's wholly-owned subsidiary Cochin Stock Brokers Ltd started in the same year. This functions as a broker of the NSE and the Bombay Stock Exchange.
“The voice from the trading floor at Veekshanam Road had even reached Kaloor. As against the settlement in three days prevailing now, the settlement period was 15 days in the 90s,” said M M Peter, one of the early traders in CSE.
AVT, Aspinwall, Apollo Tyres, Harrisons Malayalam, Premier Tyres, Tata Tea, FACT, Kochi Refinery were the favourite stocks among Malayalis in those days, he remembers. Francis Lewis K, Officiating Executive Director, Cochin Stock Exchange Limited said that though the CSE will stop operations, Cochin Stock Brokers Ltd will continue its business.