Geojit:Growing with India
It was the year 1987. A time when winds of liberalisation were bringing fresh hope to an Indian economy hitherto shackled by red tape. There was hope and optimism for the future; change was beckoning. C J George, a young man working in a broking firm and pursuing his doctorate, decided to be a part of the change. He and his partner Ranajit Kanjilal set up Geojit Financial Services. With Kanjilal’s retirement in 1993, Geojit became a proprietary concern.
Setting New Benchmarks
Its genesis may have been as a small broking firm based in Kerala. But after going public in 1994, Geojit – now renamed Geojit Securities Limited – quickly transformed itself into one of India’s leading retail financial services companies with strategic partnerships across the Middle East. As India opened up and achieved a hectic pace of growth, Geojit easily kept pace. In addition, its philosophy of breaking the mould and pioneering new trends, set it on an accelerated growth path. The company’s innovative, consumer-friendly approach over the past 26 years has become the benchmark for the financial services sector.
It raised eyebrows in financial circles when it decided to do away with sub-brokers and set up franchises. Today, the company owns 350 out of its 526 offices. The rest are run by franchisees. In February 2000, Geojit introduced internet trading – a first in the country – and integrated the first bank payment gateway for internet trading. Its clients can now trade online in equities, IPOs, derivatives, mutual funds and currency futures. Strategic agreements with leading banks like South Indian Bank and Federal Bank allow bank clients to trade online with integrated 3-in-1 accounts.
Geojit was also the first Indian brokerage firm to establish a presence in the Middle East. Its network of joint ventures and partnerships give it a significant presence in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman, where there is a large Indian Diaspora. In 2009, the company launched a property services division followed by FLIP in 2010. FLIP is an online investment and mobile trading platform that enables clients to trade from anywhere.
Geojit, KSIDC & Other Strong Partnerships
Geojit has built strong partnerships over the years that have provided impetus to its growth. One of its oldest and strongest relationships is with the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC). In 1995, KSIDC acquired a 24 percent stake in the company and became a co-promoter. A government entity acquiring a stake in a stock broking firm was certainly a revolutionary move in the Indian financial market; the only such instance in India.
The partnership with KSIDC was a success and it strengthened Geojit. In 2003, the company changed its name to Geojit Financial Services Limited. The company was first listed in regional exchanges before being listed on the Bombay and National Stock exchanges in 2000 and 2005 respectively. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, well-known investor and partner of the asset management firm, Rare Enterprises, took a 14 percent stake in the company in 2005.
In 2007, BNP Paribas chose Geojit over several Mumbai-based brokerages and acquired a 33 percent stake in it. Renamed Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services Limited, the company accesses BNP Paribas’ vast international and online trading experience to provide an enviable platform of services to its customers.
There are now 657,000 Geojit customers in the country and a Geojit office in nearly every state including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and West Bengal. The value added products and services offered by the company range from equities, derivatives, mutual fund, life and general insurance, currency futures, custody accounts, IPOs, portfolio management services, margin funding and property services.
As on September 30, 2012, the company owned assets of Rs 13,521 crores. Geojit’s impeccable customer service provides clients customized financial solutions through multiple channels like dedicated customer centers, phone services and the internet.
The Geojit success story is Kerala’s success story. It proves that there is a vast reservoir of entrepreneurial talent in the state just waiting for the right opportunity to take wing and fly high.