Women Possess Innate Skill Sets Well-Suited to Finance Sector, Believes this Stock Market Expert
By: Vijay Laxmi A Ambala, Research Analyst, Stock Market Today
Women have had a complex relationship with finance over the years. Although women were traditionally the book-keepers within the household, yet that is where their financial reign ended. Only a handful of women made financial decisions such as savings and investment on their own. The number of women investors has always been a fraction of the total investing population in India.
But over the last few years, women have taken to investing and trading in a big way. A major catalyst has been the plethora of credible information that is today available at the tip of a click. The Women Entrepreneur India magazine team spoke to Vijay Laxmi A Ambala, a Research Analyst (SEBI Registered) speaks to understand the rise of women in stock trading.
Popularly known as V.L.A. Ambala has over a decade of experience in the stock market. Coming from a finance background with an MBA in Finance, Vijay Laxmi has worked with big corporations and brokerage firms, gaining valuable insights into the stock market. In 2018 she co-founded Stock Market Today (SMT) along with her husband, which offers research services and mentorship/consultancy to those interested in stock market trading.
Hear what she has to say about the basics of stock trading, the impact of technology on trading and the evolving role of women in stock trading.
Q. Traditionally, the field of finance, especially stock trading was thought to be a man’s field. However, women such as you are redefining women’s rise in finance. Can you tell us what motivated you to foray into the field initially?
Though women are not considered to be active in the field of finance, the concept is not alien to them. We might have overlooked it but all of us grew up seeing our mothers manage the finance and savings at home without any problem. A recent report shared by SEBI shed some light on this regard, stating that female traders are more profitable when compared to male traders. However, they are highly underrated and their participation is significant.
I think women have innate skill sets that are well-suited in the finance sector such as high tolerance, management and future predictions, and critical analytics skills. With a little more acceptance and support women can avail of better opportunities and become mainstream in the field. I was fortunate to have gained the support of my better half who is also my business partner.
While we have a successful business, we have always felt the desire to contribute more to our community. Instead of donating money, we wanted to create an ecosystem that empowers people to earn a living and live life with dignity. The peak of the pandemic emerged as a turning point for us, as we realized that we can use our knowledge in the field of Commerce and Finance and the stock market to help people make informed decisions. As a result, we ended up opening our YouTube channel and took it upon ourselves to empower our members with proper knowledge and training.
Q. What motivated you to start Stock Market Today? In your opinion what was missing in the existing trading coaching services that you wanted to rectify?
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Indra Nooyi, Gita Gopinath, and Rachana Ranade are my role models in women's empowerment. The stories of these women who broke through the glass ceiling in the male-dominated world of finance inspired me to my very core. Even the stories about Harshad Mehta and Sahara Group in the news fascinated me.
In the year 2012-13, I had the opportunity to work with a finance company for the very first time in my career. Such an experience helped me navigate through the areas of finance better.
During the peak pandemic situation in the country, my partner and I noted a burgeoning interest in the stock market along with more queries about how to trade. Simultaneously, more individuals were looking at the stock market as an attractive option to generate earrings. There were multiple users online who were keen on talking about stock market trading and some were even sharing their profits and losses on the Internet, which appealed to a lot of novice traders.
However, the problem was that they had forgotten to set realistic expectations for their audience, many of whom were new traders. The beginners failed to understand that the glorious results they were seeing online were not an output of a day or a month’s experience, but years of practice.
I realized that this could be a great opportunity for us to utilize our knowledge and skills and help individuals to learn about stock market trading. So, we decided to create our YouTube channel to teach viewers about the basics of the stock market, the right approach to reading charts, educate about trading, and discuss the dos and don'ts.
Investing and trading are two separate things, where the latter is a skillful business that involves high risk and reward. Trading is a practical subject, where one can improve over time through learning and practice. However, if one jumps into it without proper training or knowledge, he/she would not be able to achieve desirable results and end up incurring losses.
In Stock Market Today (SMT) Mentorship Channel, we focus on building trading skills rather than just giving trading recommendations. Through the mentorship, members are getting access to high-quality trade research, learn how to trade, manage trades, and deploy risk management in their trading lifestyle. Many of our members have already started trading independently because now they are trained to manage their emotions, risk, and expectations while trading.
Q. Technology has disrupted every industry and stock trading is no different. In your opinion, how have new-age technology trends influenced the adoption of stock trading in India lately?
In the earlier days, the access to stock market trading was accessible only to a small group of individuals in major cities. Those small groups were also heavily dependent on professionals and financial advisors to make profitable trading decisions. However, things have changed drastically as the internet and online trading platforms have made it easier for anybody with an internet-enabled device to trade stocks. As a result, today the number of Demat accounts in India has crossed 7 crores are expected to reach 25 crores by 2030.
Even the vast resource of stock market information available online has helped traders gain access to trade information and stay abreast with stock market news and trends.
Q. In your opinion what are the characteristics of a successful trader? What are some things traders must keep in mind to improve their trading outcomes?
Being a successful trader requires a combination of quality traits such as calmness, discipline, adaptability, patience, analytical skills, risk awareness, and vigor to learn more. Keeping emotions in check and being a calculative risk-taker, and setting realistic goals are equally important. Similarly, traits like being strategy-driven, decisive, market-savvy, and possessing good mathematical skills are other characteristics required for successful trading.
We should always keep in mind that trading is a business and we cannot do business if we can’t protect our capital. So, avoid too much risk, and work on sustainability. Remember trading is a practical and thorough process. The best one can do is not to compare one’s outcome or approach with other traders, but learn from them.
Q. A 2022 survey found that in India out of every five investors, only one is female. In your opinion what deters women from foraying into investment and trading?
Women tend to face multiple barriers to investment and trading due to a rampant lack of trust in women’s skills, perceived risk, lack of financial education, and gender bias in education. Besides these, I feel limited representation, social pressures, and unequal opportunities are major reasons keeping women away from foraying into the field.
Q. What would your advice be for women looking to begin their stock trading journey? What are some practical dos and don’ts they must keep in mind?
Perseverance pays off, so be patient and focus on improving your trading knowledge to reap the benefits later. Make an effort to stay informed about the stock market and set clear trading goals for yourself. In case you need support, ask for it without hesitation and understand how their advice is relevant to you. Last but not least, do not take risks that you can’t afford.