Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cross-selling,wherz it headed?

As calendar year 2012 is paving its way for newer dateline, brokerages and analysts are busy coming up with their top 3 recommendation of the year. ofcourse, noone really cares after six months what happend to those calls except for the analyst whose prediction might have earned some money to his clients, most of them are overlooked in the heap of stock calls.

But as I was checking out the entire list, I came across the fact that a few brokerages have a buy on those same banks. Now I wont take the names of those specific banks, because that means i have to approach them, send questions and i don't think they have the time to respond to personal blog queries…anyway, So getting to the banking part, these are private banks which are invariably the banking behemoth of the three or top five....with decent loan growth and an increasing non performing asset (NPA) blot on their books.

This certain bank, has been making waves with regards to its aggressive approach and branching out into various other things than its core banking operations.
Then there is another one, which undertook heavy downsizing during mid 2012 and had a fancy name to the entire process.. similar to the name of an animated movie where fish is trying to find his son....

These banks are now heavily dependent on the concept of "cross-selling".. cross selling is basically the front line person in the bank trying to convince you to buy various products like insurance/term plans/ they rarely try to sell mutual funds as it is not really a favored topic for banks/ new savings accounts/personal loans/car loans/deposits et al. Basically the person's job when hired was to look after only the counter or do something else which has now become an ancillary job.
According to banks cross-selling is all about reducing its expense per customer on cost of operations..basically why pay your employee for just serving the savings account of X…add loans/credit card/insurance/ every other product for consumption and help grow business.

But the problem that I see when I visit my bank is that the pressure of cross selling has hit the ceiling, I see most of my banking friends trying to stick some or other products to each of us.

Infact, the pressure is so high on these various levels of managers to meet their targets that I see them buying their own insurance or term plans because they have to meet targets. Now selling insurance or various other plans to some new customer is fine, but my concern is when these people are buying these products themselves or making their friends and family buy them. ofcourse the bank has no problem with it because they are more interested in how many policies were sold and how much margin they made on it, the problem begins when the person is unable to meet his earlier targets...ofcourse the person cannot sell the same thing every year to same people, customers are wary of buying any new product which they do not understand and how it works and there is not much you can do while doing your existing main work. Also the lure of capital markets for retail investors have gone up in last few years and larger chunk of insurance business stil lies with LIC. Even though some insurers tried giving out free pressure cooker or some other offering for buying their policies, people are still trying to stick with the old gun. And the old gun is busy spending the vault’s cash on government’s disinvestment program.
As the pressure mounts on either some fizzle out of action or your chances of promotion looks bleak…

Ofcourse it is not just one bank's story every other bank is upto the same gory story. But my concern is till when can this system sustain itself?
Of course India is a huge country and there is an untapped potential etc etc, but from where I see it the cracks are already there and it won’t take much time for it to rumble into ashes. Lets not forget 2008’s story so soon with the advent of credit card defaults everyone stopped giving out credit cards and personal loans. One hilarious example being banks don’t give credit cards to journalist..and I don’t know any journalist who does not have one credit card…

Home loans are not going up, car sales are down which easily indicates drop in car loans, personal loans are something i have no idea about but I am sure even they are in how are these banks which have lined up aggressive growth plans looking to grow? Has someone ever asked them what their new portfolio sales look like?if yes what are they? I don’t know how the future of people doing the cross selling looks like, but I really feel bad for them….

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mind it rascala!

I haven’t blogged in a very long time, nothing tempted me to sit and write on something but this thing just had to be typed down. Why now? maybe this incident is just the trigger. Ofcourse I am talking about the gang rape, eve teasing, manhandling and every other form where a woman is touched without her permission.

Last week while crossing the road, I saw a school girl being manhandled, by the time I screamed at that person, South Bombay being SoBo, cars started moving and I couldn’t do anything about it. I wondered why that kid didn’t stand up for herself, my blood boiled that she didn’t say a word and ran towards her school gate. I kept thinking why… and took me back to the worst memory of my school days.

It’s a taboo to come out openly and say yes, I was a victim, whereas the fact is every god darn women in this country has been one at some day. If you think I am wrong just go and ask your girl friend, ask your best friend, you will be startled to hear those stories. When I was a victim of eve teasing in school, I prayed every day that there will be a divine intervention and it will stop and I was not the only one there were more like me,and then ofcourse you fight back.... now eve teasing is a word which is commonly used in our Asia Pacific region –mostly in India and its neighbouring countries. I always thought why, I guess may be because we don’t have the guts to call a spade a spade. Let’s get it right – Its sexual harassment. Period. When a bunch of guys would touch you and you can’t do anything, they leave you with nothing but emotional scars. They leave you with memories which haunt you every time you walk alone and you see men staring at you.

They leave you with the fact that, hell you have to fend for yourself.

It happens to girls when they are in school, it happens as we walk on the street, in the general compartment of train, while crossing past the crowd, from anywhere to everywhere. There is some or other guy waiting to touch a woman. I don’t understand what pleasure can one derive from this behaviour, I don’t understand why cant you touch your own woman? Why come after strangers?? and the worst is when guys react after a woman screams back at them at public places.

What gives the right to a guy to touch any woman? It’s a punishable offence just that I rarely see anyone being punished from stories that I have heard from friends. Infact once a guy took the address from the police station and landed up at the girl’s house the next day when she was alone and asked her to pay off for the fine which he paid at the police station when she had lodged an FIR against him. Don’t believe that? Trust me, there are worse than this.

Why is it so okay for men to think they can touch woman and get away freely with that? More often than not I have seen woman either ignore or not react to what was just done to them. And when one goes silent, in most cases everyone prefers to shut their soul and walk ahead, my question is why?? if it hits your self-respect so badly, if it gets tears in your eyes, it boils your blood, and then why not stand up for yourself? What ails?

So when the pare-medic student was gangraped for giving it back to the men in the bus and no one has been caught yet, what point are we driving home? That we can’t hit back at men for our safety?
That the male ego just wouldn’t have it? Where are we headed? And to hell with the statement that Mumbai is safer. The mirage about Mumbai’ safety standards can be clearly stated with this year’s NCRB report. In a report released in June this year, Delhi registered 568 cases of rape, compared to 218 in Mumbai in 2011 according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) records. In the 2007-2011 period, Delhi topped the chart, followed by Mumbai, Bhopal, Pune and Jaipur.

But will something change?apart from the fact that crime rates are incessantly going up? I guess nothing will, the only thing that can change is how we react to the situation. So if you are reading this and you have wasted time to read this crap, then next time when someone purposely brushes off against you in that Dadar flyover or touches you in that busy train-stand up for yourself, don’t give in…. *Data note from ToI article via firstpost.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Enam Securities employees bid adieu to their alma mater

One look at Enam Securities’ office and one can see big cartons placed neatly next to every office desk with names pasted on them with new desk numbers written on it and everyone is busy scanning the desk and deciding which files and reports to put in the carton. After broking deals for a decade from this office (Enam had shifted to this office in 2001) this is the last day for employees of investment banking and securities division in the Dalamal Towers building, Nariman Point. From Monday they will be showing up at their new bosses’ Axis office at the Bombay Dyeing complex in Lower Parel. Enam has been the behemoth of the Indian investment banking industry and it has acted as lead manager for most of the big and successful IPO’s that the country has seen. On November 16, 2010, Vallabh Bhanshali, promoter of Enam had put a fullstop to this business by selling it off to Axis Bank which had then recently appointed Shikha Sharma as its MD and CEO. Bhanshali was advised by Anil Singhvi whereas Macquire Group had brokered the deal from Axis’s end which was signed in this south Mumbai office. Interestingly since its sell off to Axis, Enam has not brokered any big ticket transactions and insiders say it’s mostly the old deals that they have been working on before the merger took place. Its last IPO being the small sized central government’s realty company NBCC. There has been no news of any job cuts in the team. After sixteen months of hanging by the fence, reserve bank of India had finally approved the merger in April this year. Initially the deal was concluded at Rs 2070 crore, after coming under the central bank’s scanner the deal value was brought down by one-third the actual value. For Axis, which does not stand anywhere close to the league table this deal is supposed to change its future. Though the final approval from the share holders, high court and securities and exchange board of India is still awaited, the final integration will take place by the end of the year. The moving out of the employees from Dalamal Tower also means that the commercial office tower which the promoters of Enam had bought in the commercial business district Bandra Kurla Complex will need lesser office space. Earlier the promoters had thought that the team will operate out of the BKC office even after the sale. Sources say Enam is now either looking to sell off or lease the nearly 2 lakh sft space to possible tenants. Property consultants have been sounded off for the same, but for now its adieu time for employees in the investment banking, institutional and retail brokerage and other segments like financial distribution from South Mumbai office address.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book prices at one Website Review

Okay here it is 3.20 pm on my laptop screen and I haven’t written a single word since morning….what am I thinking I have no idea, just that nothing compelled me to write something.
And as I was going through our daily newslist I chanced upon a site called,, quite an Indie name, but then I thought lets go and check this site…no its not an adult site, it’s a book price comparing site.
Nothing can make a book lover happier than a site like this, but I had never heard about this site before.
So basically what’s this site about?
It’s a pretty simple website which limits itself to its core function of- differentiate between.
So one has to simply put the name of the book that they are looking for in the search box and it provides the pricing at which it is available on eight different book selling websites in one go.
The websites where it searches for books are-,, BuyBooksIndia, indiaplaza,,,, CROSSWORD.
For example, the book by Sir Mark Tully, (It is because of him I dreamed of becoming a journalist as a kid), called Non Stop India, is available at a price tag of Rs 291 at to Rs 499 at Crossword. The prices are in the increasing order.
So now a book buyer doesn’t have to go and open each and every url of all book selling websites but instead jump on to this site and look for the best and cheapest book deal. At present the site takes author/book name /ISBN for searching results. The web site is pretty simple and does not provide an unending list of books but has merely ten recommendations on its web page. But that does not mean you won’t get a book that you want. If you know the name of the book then you know you will be given the best deal options on the site.
It also gives clarity on whether, a site has a cash on delivery (COD) option or not, as much I searched through the site, and Crossword does not provide the option of COD, which is an Indian buyers most favoured route of purchasing online. Normally people can’t fathom whether the book will be delivered or not.
The website also suggests the delivery time the vendor will take to drop your book to your doorstep, as per my personal experience takes the least time to ensure your book reaches you fast like a next day delivery…whereas others take a minimum two-three days to dispose something which you are eagerly waiting to read.
ThisYaThat is a member of the Venture Initiation Program at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and is also supported by the Weiss Tech House. The website says that they are going to add more stuff on the site and I really hope they don’t get into comparing washing machines and personal items….. I really like it the way it is just that they can get more book titles on the site, trivia on authors and books which will make it too good an experience for a book buyer  Happy Reading!!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Third Eye-Kolkata and its new ruler

Sitting in one of the swanky offices of a private equity fund in the heart of the financial capital of the country, I was preparing my questions for the interview. The fund manager entered the room and even before I could begin to ask questions, he says 'forget Mumbai, lets talk about Kolkata, what is happening in that city? whats your sense?'
In last one month, every businessman or CFO or Fund manager that I have met asked me the same question but in this case I could sense, he wouldnt leave the topic unless I tell him the whole story.
I chuckled and said to my self, "My sense-its nonsense"
As he asked me the question- a picture flashed in front of my eyes- a business journalist from Mumbai who had recently reached Kolkata, wearing western formals reached her office, awaiting to witness one of the rare moments which would soon become an integral part of Bengal's history- End of the glorious era of Marxism in the country and welcoming change or the much touted word to the run up to the state legislative elections, 'Poriborton'.
Every street, every nook and corner of the state screamed {Poriborton}, Mamata Banerjee, the poster girl of West Bengal or more famously knows as 'Didi' had come up with a new slogan 'Amra badla chai na badal chai' or 'We don't want revenge but we want change'. This slogan made her the 'Matir manush', her publicity soared and everyone from the Mango Man to the Industrialist with Mangroves, all hailed Didi as the new face, someone who would make change happen.
Cut to the Win-From the alleys of Kalighat where Mamata Banerjee resides with her mother, she is the harbinger in the city's corridor of power.
As Banerjee thronged the streets , people screamed with joy expecting a sea change in their livelihoods. Indeed there has been a sea change but not how people live or think about the political party they sent to power, the question that has cropped up in every 'para adda' or 'Bengali's are famous for their daily chat sessions in the neighbourhoods known as rock adda or parar adda' is why did we send her?
To begin with, Mamata Banerjee came and declared that land be given back to all the unwilling farmers at Singur, the infamous small car project of Tatas which still awaits its jury. She came and declared that an ordinance has been passed for the same, just that the missing link being that the esteemed governor of the state had no idea what was happening.
Then she went on to resolve the Naxal problem in the state, she asked the centre to remove central forces and within weeks naxal attackers were back doing what they do best and Didi was back with a new thoery blaming the left for the same.
As she proclaimed that all matters have been resolved she took to Gorkhaland issue, and more or less let GTA know that they can have a separate state. What more, the bastion of ministers that she carries around, have nothing more to add or deduct from their statements, they know only one word, "Yes Minister or in this case Yes Didi"
When 130 infants died in a state run hospital in Malda, she said it is not her government's fault they were all conceived during left rule. When people died every day at SSKM hospital she again enforced her claim, it was CPM's fault.
Due to heavy showers when roads get clogged, that too is CPM's 'Chokranto' or fault. When more than 1oo people died in hooch case, it was again blamed by the state chief minister as "CPM is behind this and we will take strict action against this".
She can also qualify to be the only CM who takes roll calls of international consulates' representatives at industrial meets. When industrialists ask for land for setting up of projects, her answer is simple-"Find it yourself" but when they come from people close to her, projects are miraculously altered and land rates cheaper.
One of the most prominent cases of Mamata gone wrong was when she sent the Goenka's and Todi's to jail as AMRI lit on fire killing more than 90 patients, quite amusingly the acting chairman of AMRI, a government nominee is still out and there has been no case registered against him.
As I was leaving Kolkata and I went to meet a realtor to say good bye, his first reaction was, "You are going? you must go an d you should go fast, infact everyone should leave this city..."
The Mango man or the common man who sent her to power has only one question, What is DIdi doing? what exactly is she doing and what does she want?
The fund manager asks, we rarely ever paid to CPM for our investments in the state but now it has become difficult to make any transactions. We all believed that she will make business environment is not at all conducive for investors. Also her workers are rampantly asking for money. Does she want the money herself or who is taking that money? A question best answerable by the CM herself.
As Kolkata has slipped from the map of being a tier-I metro, investments are shying away from the city which boasts of the residences of biggest business conglomerates, what ails Kolkata is a question whose answer I couldn’t get answered.

Its an opinion, kindly check other sources for factual informations.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The heritage buildings and its unplastering sheen

You know you have boarded a flight to Bombay or Mumbai when its favourite junk food Dabeli and two samosas cost Rs 100.
The financial capital of the country or the city of dreams, the mesmerising sea or the twinkling sky, the windy breeze or people sweating on the streets, there is indeed a different smell to this city.
But there is one thing that remains unchanged, the grandeur of old heritage buildings in the city. From the Gateway of India to the skyline of Cuff Parade, the Nariman Point or the far flung Mumbai University campus. The effrontery of Victorian eclectism and Gothic architecture swarms across the city and one can't help but wonder and gasp at the fact that these structures won’t be built again.
I live in a 156 year old heritage building in the heart of the city, and I travel to Nariman Point for work every day, in those 30 minutes, I come across at least twenty old buildings which are now safe guarded with green cloth as if a beautiful woman is heralded in an abaya, with an albatross hung around its neck which says,'Under Reconstruction'...the charming balconies and the beautifully carved buildings facing the breezing sea and part of the world's most elite skyline is waiting for its turn to metamorphose into a mammoth of swanky steel and glass.

The live example is the Napean Sea Road stretch, the home of the effervescent and the crème de la crème of Mumbai, yet a sight at any of these homes looks more like an antithesis of its glorious past...
One doesn’t even need to look farther, as Nariman Point, once the business centre of the city and the address to be, has lost its sheen to its peers in the suburban districts. With various Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) laws, some of these buildings which are in dire need of rehabilitation will fall prey to some wealthy developers. And some of these contractors are more than eager to convert them into international standard buildings, which effectively means- glasses imported from China and of course India is over producing steel these days.

Off late, the city has become a replica of what Dubai was two years back, plethora of still cranes holding up in the sky awaiting its turn to churn more homes to add to the concrete jungle and a series of boards stamped on its face saying, ‘’To Let’”. Yet in all these madness a heritage walk down the street on a lazy sunday is always refreshing and rejuvenating, as its opens our eye to what there was and what there will be. In all this hullabaloo of recreation and stepping into new frontiers of building designing, iIt’s not just the building, it’s the heritage which will bid adieu someday, and once again some sixty years down the lane, this steel and glass shall be history.....

Songs of the Mystic

Music echoes across Mohar Kunj as Babu Fakir and his team play the ektara, khamak, dhol and duggi, and sing in trance. Babu is a Baul from Gorbhanga, a village 250 km from Kolkata, and this is Sufi Sutra, the second edition of an international Sufi festival in the city that ends on Saturday. The backdrop of the festival is the Victoria Memorial.

The Bauls are wandering minstrels of a syncretic sect and musical tradition which shares much with Sufism. Some of their songs have been passed on for generations. Babu Fakir’s group of 10 has both qawwals and Bauls.

Musicians from Azerbaijan, Denmark, Egypt, Morocco and Hungary perform alongside their peers from Delhi, Kashmir and West Bengal. Sufi Sutra is organised by, an organisation that works with Bengali artisans to help them earn a living through traditional art forms. The festival is supported by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Unesco, the state tourism department and corporates.

The Azerbaijan State Ensemble of Ancient Musical Instruments, the Orient West Choir from Denmark, Egypt’s Elkawmeya Folkloric Music Troupe, Morocco’s Marouane Hajji et L’Ensemble Akhwane, and Sondorgo from Hungary present folk and religious music.

The Indian groups include the Nizami Khusro Bandhu from Delhi, qawwals who specialise in the poetry of Sultan Quli Qutub Shah and Roshanara Begum, daughter of Shahjahan.

The Kashmir Music Society will perform Rouf, Sufiyana and folk. The festival concludes with the Bauls and fakirs from Nadia and Murshidabad districts.

Amitava Bhattacharya, director of Banglanatak, says, “Sufi music is all about love and brotherhood. It is prevalent in West Asian and Persian countries but this year we are bringing in variations with groups from Denmark and Hungary, as their songs are not restricted to Islam.”

Samrita Dutta, a 12-year-old from London here on holiday, has come with her grandparents. Her grandfather whispers explanations in his granddaughter’s ears. “She hardly understands Bengali but is clapping her hands to the rhythm,” says Samrita's grandmother. Samrita says she likes the songs, they sound nice to her ears.

The European music magazine Songlines has partnered with Banglanatak; its editor Simon Broughton will write about Sufi Sutra and has put up an exhibition to showcase his documentary, Sufi Soul: The Mystic Music of Islam.

Directed by Broughton and narrated by popular historian William Dalrymple, the film is about Sufism in Syria, Morocco, Pakistan and Turkey and its role in spirituality, culture and worship. It also documents performances by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen and Youssou D’Nour, among others.

Golam Fakir of Gorbhanga says of his fellow Bauls, "Our village is very poor. We all used to work as labourers in the fields. Sometimes we didn't have money to eat, but this music is our companion. We used to earn Rs 100-500 in a month by singing Baul songs, but now we earn Rs 4,000-5,000. Some singers earn Rs 10,000-30,000 a month."

The organisers say Sufi Sutra is appreciated by the government of Bihar, which wants to give folk musicians a platform for their talent and the chance to earn a better livelihood. A particular focus is on the Nirguns, who sing Bhojpuri songs written by Kabir and woven around the theme of the soul meeting with a formless God.

With inputs from Debaleena Sengupta