So, I worked in Bangalore Stock Exchange (BGSE) under a broker as a trade executive for a couple of years.
Honestly speaking, I did not enjoy the job. I saw how people would lose money with senseless trading by copycatting some famous traders!
It is sad to say that BgSE is now dead. The iconic ‘Stock Exchange Tower’ in busy JC road served 1000’s investors for more than 50 years (from 1963 to 2014). It was the largest stock exchange in South India in terms of trade volumes.
BgSE is Gone Forever!
During the early 2000 the fortunes of BgSE started to decline due to raising stakes of BSE & NSE. Online trading platforms provided by HDFC, ICICI & Axis banks etc. also ruined business prospects of BgSE.
Then SEBI mandated that Stock exchanges with less than 1000 crore annual turnover should surrender their license. In 2013 BgSE general-body approved surrender & in 2014 SEBI approved it.
After surrendering its stock exchange license to SEBI it was renamed as BgSE Properties & Securities Ltd. Now BgSE is a real estate developer. I’m not sure if they are in any real business except renting office space in their large business tower.
TradeAnywhere was the software used by BgSE for live trading. Workhouse was the software used by brokers to manage their clients’ accounts in the back office. We had to save trade data into a floppy drive, take printouts of all the transactions and then manually enter it into back office software to generate contract notes!
My work experience in BgSE
I worked in the stock exchange from morning 9 to 2. Then I would carry the floppy disk to the broker’s back office located far away by hiring an auto rickshaw. After visiting my office I had to take printouts of all the transactions (made upto 2pm) then manually enter all of them into another software.
Next I had to rectify, reconcile everything before printing out contract notes. The next day I had to take signatures on a carbon copy of the contract note from all the clients who traded the previous day.
The exchange had 2 exclusive floors for live trading. All the brokers had small cabins. No mobile phones then, only landlines. Traders had the option of ‘call-N-trade’ and ‘sit-N-trade’ Coming to the Stock exchange used to be status symbol for many.
Some retired uncles were coming just for time-pass. They would rarely trade, instead speculate, spread rumors about upcoming bull-run or market crashes.
The atmosphere of the exchange was similar to any other market in India except AC cabins and hygiene. There were all sorts of people. You could see suit-worn professional traders, people wearing casual dress and even half naked illiterate farmers!
Stock exchange is like a vegetable market!
During active trading hours the space would be buzy, noisy & crazy. You could hear constant telephone rings from everywhere, people shouting, screaming and fighting (verbally) etc.
I saw both ups and downs of the market. The worst day I can still remember even today is the 9/11 USA episode. There was a bloodstorm in the stock market after that episode.
My brokerage firm had all types of clients. Big speculators who would manipulate stock prices by placing multiple orders with different brokers (sometimes BUY orders with one broker and SELL orders with another broker.
Some small traders would just copycat these BIG speculators. There were also Daily traders, short time traders, secret traders with insider knowledge and hardly few real investors.
Many traders would lose money & disappear for a few days. They would come back after a few days or weeks to check their luck again. One semi-illiterate copycat trader even pledged and sold his wife’s jewellery to deposit margin money.
Overall, the BgSE taught me good lessons on what not to do. I did not like my job , I was paid low salary and the job was highly stressful.
During buzy hours executing multiple orders from multiple clients was challenging in front of the trading machine. Mistakes could happen for many reasons. Managing physical share certificates, filling and submitting delivery instructions challan (DIS slip) was tricky & risky.
Writing a DIS slip needed to be extremely careful. The long, unique alphanumeric ISIN script number was a problem. “ I & 1” “O & 0” is always a problem in a hand written text. One small mistake would cause disaster if the challan was not executed by ‘securities intermediary agencies like IL&FS.
The only thing I enjoyed in BgSE was the large cafeteria on the terrace. I liked anna sambar, chapati, mangalore bajji etc.
Please note I made good fortune in stock market as an investor, not a a trader. You can read my story here.