Once upon a time, the Calcutta Stock Exchange (CSE) was the foremost center after BSE in the country to trade in stocks and shares. Brokers and investors doing it in BSE would invariably have close contact with their fraternity in CSE. On some days the total turnover at CSE would be very close to or on a few occasion even more than the principal bourse.
However, for the last decade and a half, CSE is seeing a gradual downward spiraling of its influence, so much so that today it’s become difficult to find takers of its controlling stake.
The fortune started reversing for CSE after it was found that many of its member brokers were deeply involved in the alleged stock scams said to be perpetrated by Harshad Mehta in early 90s and later by Ketan Parikh. The coming of Sebi (Securities & Exchange Board of India) and National Stock Exchange bringing about much needed transparency was more than a nail in the coffin of CSE.
Now, after many hemming and hawing, it appears that who else but BSE is interested to pick up a 25% stake in CSE. BSE in fact is leading a consortium of leading Kolkata-based banks as well as state-run financial institutes.
Nothing though has firmed up yet. One hears BSE plans to float shares and have them listed in SEs. Therefore, it won’t like to have something on its hands that may in its opinion create an adverse impact.
Does taking over of moribund CSE matter to ordinary investors any longer? Not really, because for most small investors it is fairly easy to trade in stocks online. Entities like Kotak Securities, ICICI Bank and others offer excellent facilities to get started.
Which is perhaps why CSE’s future evokes very little interest in investing public. There are speculations that CSE may be transformed into a commodity exchange hub. But that is a different story.
Related reading: BSE-led group wants stake in CSE