“The old strategy had restricted us to say about 10% of the market,” Vishal Chandok, CEO at ICICI Securities, said. “Now we had access to 90% of the market.”
The pivot seems to be paying off. The broking firm added a record 3.5 lakh clients in the quarter ended March. Its profit jumped 111% on account of strong growth in revenue and improvement in margins. The cost to income ratio stood at 40%, against 57% in the same period last year.
Retail interest in Indian stock markets has risen considerably amid a pandemic that’s forced them to stay home. According to the Securities and Exchange Board of India data, new dematerialised or demat account additions rose to an all-time high of 10.7 million between April 2020 and January. This is an increase of more than double the new accounts opened in FY20 at 4.7 million. Around 4 million new accounts were added, each, in FY19 and FY18.
Whether or not that momentum will continue in the new year, Chandok said the broking firm wants to pursue the opportunity in an “efficient” way. “It’s important that we pursue it in a manner that the customer continues to remain happy because that is the key for us.”
Chandok said the company continues to add new products to its offering as a means to maintain revenue growth. “This year we saw a big leg-up on the fixed income side. A lot of the clients picked up sovereign gold and RBI bonds. We also saw a big pick-up in health insurance policies.”
He said the effort is to offset whatever product level yield decline or volume decline that may be seen in the natural course of the business cycle by another element of opportunity which is growing. It could be a loan or insurance or fixed income or PMS service, he said.