The pandemic-led lockdown seems to have encouraged people to focus on alternative investment proposals in the comfort of their homes. This has paved the way for a rise in retail trading accounts in the last two years, according to Padmaja Chunduru, Managing Director of National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL).

The early stigma around investing in stocks has disappeared and people are ready to take risks despite market fluctuations. The ease of doing business from home and ability to sell shares through digital initiatives has come as a boon for investors, including women, she told BusinessLine on the sidelines of a function organised by Geojit in Kochi.

The NSDL Managing Director pointed out that the investment culture in India is healthy and ramping up fast with the participation of new investors. The IPO frenzy, reduced interest rates offered by banks and start-ups and the rush to list are adding to the interest of investors in the capital markets. Investors prefer to invest directly in equities.

NSDL, the country’s first and largest securities depository, has played a key role in transforming the Indian securities market by facilitating holding and settlement of securities in dematerialised form. The market share of NSDL in value of demat assets is more than 89 per cent. The total number of investor accounts with NSDL and CDS as of November 2021 stood at 7.7 crore cumulatively, with a total investment of Rs 330 lakh crore.

NSDL demat accounts are located in more than 99 per cent of the pin codes in the country, reflecting the wide reach of NSDL depository. The trust in terms of FPI holdings is close to 100 per cent and corporate debt is 97.5 per cent. NSDL depository participants offer depository services from more than 36,000 service centres across 1,977 locations in the country, she said.

However, retail investors constitute only 47 per cent of the demat accounts and “we are working on expanding our outreach to retail customers by organising awareness programmes on the advantages in investing in stocks among millenials and college students. “Since the last two years, we have conducted investor awareness programmes almost every day. Till date, NSDL has conducted more than 4,800 investor awareness programmes in nine languages,” Chunduru said.

Asked about their plans for an IPO, she said “we are discussing it internally. Once the board approves it, we will come out with a roadmap”.