The capital markets have intrigued the general Indian populace for long, which perhaps explains the low participation when compared to other developed and/or developing nations. However with time, the enigma over the capital markets is slowly fading away and they are shedding the tags like lucky and risky associated with them. With more and more public participation in the Indian growth story, the Non-Banking Financial Sector is bound to grow even faster than it is already growing. With the rapid growth it is seeing and will see in the foreseeable future, there will be a large demand for professionals in this sector. However one has to remember, that capital markets are much more than picking stocks and making big money, it is a diverse, multifaceted field and people willing to enter it must brace themselves for a highly charged, challenging and gratifying career! In this section I would like to talk about what it takes to be successful in the capital markets
Passion: It goes without saying that you have to be passionate about the markets. Without passion you are inevitably going to fizzle out as the markets can be relentless in demanding you to continuously learn and improve.
High Levels of integrity: You will be managing money and quite a lot of it if you work in a large and successful capital markets oriented company and eventually it is your moral and ethical responsibility to be responsible towards that money. The markets are highly regulated by SEBI and regular audits happen at the company level to ensure compliance, only someone with very high levels of integrity can work here.
Know where you want to go: The Capital markets are not just about picking stocks, they are much more. Within capital markets you can choose to work in Broking and Distribution, Asset Management, Wealth Management and the ECM side of Investment banking. Having a clear idea of which field interests you the most will help you make smarter career decisions.
Decide what you want to do: Once you know which part of the capital markets you want to be associated with, it is important for you to understand that for a particular business to work, besides the core research team there has to be an efficient support team too. For example the broking and distribution business cannot function without a strong operational backbone or IT support. There are a plethora of opportunities in the capital markets; you need to first and foremost decide where you want to go.
Become a subject matter expert: Now that you know where you want to go and which field you want to work in, a relevant degree and/or relevant educational qualifications will set you apart from the competition. It’s important to choose where you study from for deciding how you will be perceived in the market. As George Orwell said it in Animal Farm , ‘ All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than the others’.
Read and read more: It is common knowledge that stalwarts in the capital markets whether it is Warren Buffet, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala or our own Ramdeo Agarwal have one thing in common; their habit to read. They are all vociferous readers and seek to continuously grow by adding on to their knowledge base. You have to read continuously and learn from what you read whether it be the newspaper or some book like ‘The Intelligent Investor’.
Certify yourself: A couple of NCFM and NISM certifications besides being mandatory like the research analyst certification for the research analyst profile, depict your seriousness towards your vocation. If you can add a CFA or a CA certification to your profile, then you do wonders to your credibility as a serious candidate.
Choose your workplace wisely: Getting the correct exposure at an entry level in your career is vital to your growth prospects in the future. Candidates often pay more importance to the CTC tag than the learning which they can accumulate from their first job in the capital markets which often leads to stagnation at later stages in their career.
Choose your mentor properly: In the capital markets, not even the best of the best like Warren Buffet have made completely accurate predictions! It’s a career where the business is often cyclical in nature and the same will affect your performance, whether you like it or not. Having a mentor who can help you rise above such situations and help you cope with different situations will be an added advantage.
All in all working in the capital markets is like reading a thick beautifully written novel, you know that if you keep on reading, you will enjoy yourself immensely but the urge to give up during difficult passages is also there. Only the ones with the right attitude can enjoy and cherish the time spent reading it and look back with content.
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