Women Investing In Equity Markets - LADIES OF THE TICKER
Forbes India|April 9, 2021
Despite challenges of culture and access to capital, female participation in trading and investing is increasing, though cautiously
DIVYA J SHEKHAR

Mahek Shah, 23

Started trading/investing in: 2016

Initial Corpus: ₹20,000

Best trade/investment: Tanla Platforms— invested ₹240,000 in November 2020, which appreciated 116% in 25 days; sold

Advice to women investors: “Young women should consider financial markets as a career option. There are great resources available, you can start small, and the sky is the limit.”

Do you even know what volumes mean in the stock market?” Mahek Shah was asked this question in 2017. She had just started trading a year earlier, as a 19-year-old, and was asked this question by a man who found it difficult to take her, or women in general, seriously when it came to trading on Dalal Street. But Shah let her work speak for itself.

Intrigued by the stock market, Shah first tried her hand at intraday trading in 2016 while she was still in college, armed with savings of ₹20,000. She was fascinated by the thrill of it all: The dynamic price movements right in front of her eyes, the constant tracking and monitoring of stocks, the determination to understand technical terms, and the rush of earning good profits when she made the right decisions. Shah gradually started trading with ₹1 lakh or ₹2 lakh, and the highest profit she has made in a day’s trade went as high as ₹77,000. She started day trading full-time after graduating in 2018, her eyes glued to her laptop screen between 9 am and 4 pm, five days a week.

There were losses too: Three months into her trading in 2016, Mumbai-based Shah lost ₹10,000, while trading with a capital of ₹40,000. Later, she lost ₹40,000 while taking up multiple trades to cover up for the loss made in one trade on a single day. “That disheartened me, but I decided to learn from my mistakes. That way, no day will be wasted and eventually, my money will grow,” she says. Shah learnt how to be more cautious, how to implement stop-loss limits to trades every day, how to be calm and focussed even when the markets are volatile, and how to tirelessly keep learning.

Shah is now pursuing a postgraduate degree in finance and investment banking in the UK. Even after a 25 percent scholarship, the tuition fee came to ₹12 lakh, half of which she paid from the profits she made as a day trader. The rest was sponsored by her family, which she intends to repay soon. She has just moved to the UK for her yearlong course, but has no intention of quitting intraday trading. “Once a stock trader, always a stock trader. I want to trade in the foreign market here by putting into practice what I’ve learnt in India,” says Shah, 23. “I have seen the power of trading and value investing now, and I know that if done correctly, it can give you high profits and quick financial independence in a couple of years.”

PANDEMIC PUSH?

The stock market, with all its number-crunching, technicalities, risk and volatility, has traditionally been a male domain. It continues to be largely so, but more women in the country are gradually participating in trading and investing, particularly in equity, with the upsides being money, financial independence and a flexible career.

The widening reach of the internet, the freedom to work remotely, low initial investments, access to training resources and inspiration from other successful women are encouraging them to take this up.

The number of women on brokerage firm Zerodha’s online trading platform, for instance, has increased to 7.2 lakh, up from 3.5 lakh last year, and they form 16 percent of the total traders on the platform. The average age is 30, says co-founder Nikhil Kamath, and the average ticket size women invest is about ₹80,000. “A lot of them have bought into the corrections that the pandemic got with it. Hopefully, this is a precursor of increased participation and more women coming on board,” he says.

A survey conducted by online investment platform Groww among 28,000 women investors in March indicated that more of them are emerging as primary decision-makers for their wealth, as opposed to turning to the men in their family. In the 18 to 25 age group, almost 60 percent women say they take their own financial decisions.

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