The year is 1992. I am in my first job and I don’t know it yet, but as a rookie business journalist, I’m watching India’s stock market balloon and then burst in a huge (for that time) ₹3,500 crore scam. As business journalists, we documented the setting up of India’s capital market regulator in 1992 and then its fight for teeth as the first chairman struggled to get powers to make the regulator effective. Setting up a new stock exchange to break the monopoly of the old one, moving to screen-based trading from the opaque open outcry system, getting brokers under some kind of regulation to demolish the closed club in which they operated and a whole universe of changes that really shook the way capital markets worked in India.
I remember having conversations with brokers and sub-brokers and arguing that corporatization was good and that transparency, rules of the game and investor interest would actually help the market grow. The insiders always resist change and the industry deeply believed that the business would end and everybody will lose. Investors will be orphaned in the new corporate system, went the argument. We resist in investor interest, they said.