Monday, December 31, 2007

Kotak Securities site review

I have been using Kotak Trade - - for about 3 years now. Overall, I would rate their service and website as UNSATISFACTORY.

1. The site is quite clunky. You can't buy/sell shares of more than one company at a time. You can submit the buy/sell request for each company and then put in the trading password and then navigate your way around to Market Watch to do it all over again.

2. They had a good password recovery option - where they would email your trading password. Until recently. Now they still mail you - just through a snail. And the first time it happened, they didn't send me my trading password. And since I didn't have it, I couldn't reset it. And till I reset it, I can't submit a new one. Pathetic.

3. Did I say the site is clunky - in Firefox, the top frame, goes all awry and gets obscured under the main frame.

4. Pretty decent market research reports and a good Equity Portfolio Tracker. However, even here, there is a screw up. Some of the shares show buying price as 0. Whether they were split or bought in an IPO, the share price can never be 0, can it? And, for shares were transferred into the account ( I think it does the same for shares bought in an IPO), it shows the price when the share got into the account. Now, that's just wrong.

I bought Satyam for Rs. 600 before Kotak account was active, but when I transferred it into my account, the market price was Rs. 800. Kotak reflects the buying cost as Rs. 800 (instead of Rs. 600). This way the unrealized gain calculation gives you completely wrong numbers.

5. Another silly mathematical blunder explained
April 2004 - Infosys 100 shares - Rs 2200 each approx (this was 4:1 split given in )
July 2006 - Infosys 100 shares added - Rs. 0 each (1:1 bonus)

So now - Infosys 200 shares average buying price should be - Rs. 1100. Portfolio does reflect this accurately. But wait. How is a sale transaction reflected on Kotak?

Sep 2007 - Infosys 50 shares sold - Rs. 1960.
Actual gain/loss - 50 (Rs. 1960 - Rs. 1100) = Rs. 43000 (profit)
Kotak's gain/loss - 50 (Rs. 1960 - Rs. 2200) = Rs. -12000 (loss).

If I was making a loss, I won't sell Infosys, would I? Cmon, are you recruiting your portfolio managers straight from KG?

6. When you have to make quick buy/sell decisions, the stats are not easily accessible anywhere on Kotak's site, especially the technical charts. I have to use moneycontrol (which has a great portfolio tracker by the way) on the side.

7. The most atrocious thing is the amount of time the trading option is down after trading hours. The importance of this flaw is only felt immensely by those who can't log in during trading hours viz normal people who work during those hours and don't punt on fickle sensex movements. Not to forgot, people not in India. If you are sensible investor who does his research and then want to buy or sell based on prudent long term financial assessment, you will probably do it after your office hours or weekends, when you can concentrate on this activity. But here's what Kotak tells you

This is plain unacceptable, especially since you find this happening for long periods repeatedly. The solution from those with half a brain would be to allow the After Market Orders to be queued till the system came up and send a accept/reject response later, based on whether the request satisfies all the eligibility parameters. Is it all that difficult to do?

I hope you agree - If you are a sensible trader, you won't trade on Kotak.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas in the UK

It must be so tough for the people here in the UK, or for that matter, anywhere in the western world to be cooped up in their homes for 2 days - Christmas and Boxing Day - in a row. No public transport available. No shops open. No nothing. Home is where the hurt is.

Having to tolerate those pesky relatives, whom you avoided all year around. Having to bear the tantrums of your kid who was pestering for a laptop rather than a rucksack. Having to make food, an art mostly lost to another wonderful cultural thing called the takeaway.

I like Diwali better - spread over languidly over a number of days. Outside, streets are overflowing with people buying flowers, household utensils, sweets, new clothes. In our family, we still make Diwali sweets, unlike here, where it is mostly chocolates.

Even better - we still don't have a culture of giving gifts to all and sundry. And exchanging cards with your close ones - in India, we only send cards to friends and colleagues, don't we?

Why the formality of wishing your mom Merry Diwali with a card?

I am sure the trend will catch up in India - just like card flinging during Valentine's day, Relative(insert Mom/Dad/Brother/Step-sister/Dog) day is picking up. I see the reason behind birthday cards - it's special as the person born on that day is celebrating it. There is no reason for celebrating Mom/Dad/Brother/.../Step-sister/Dog day - it was just invented for 'commercialization of the calendar'.

Spend your money on a silly mass printed card with toxic ink calligraphy to prove that you are a good Mom/Dad/Brother/.../Step-sister/Dog, er.., I mean dog owner. It's just ludricrous!!

Back to Diwali. If everyone would do away with the tradition of bursting crackers, I would like Diwali much more.

Monday, December 03, 2007

No justice in this world?

A chucker is now the highest wicket taker in Test cricket.