Saturday, November 22, 2008

A book, verily a book

India's Financial Markets: An Insider's Guide by Ajay Shah, Susan Thomas, Michael Gorham, Elsevier, 2008. I updated my `Indian economics/finance bookshelf' page. Also see:

1. Congratulations!

Soham

2. Would be very very interested to have a read of that Dr. Shah. Consider a small addition to your royalty cheque

3. Picked up couple of them last week - one for our library and another for myself. It covers the entire landscape of domestic financial markets and I think its a great addition as you hardly find good and updated books on the subject. CONGRATS.

4. Ajay, Many congratulations and thanks a lot.

The book is simply superb. No other book on Indian capital market comes anywhere near it. The only other book of some substance which I ever chanced upon is one by Tadashi Endo. Your book is systematic, objective and analytic. After having raised the expectation of the readers, you will fail them if you do not revise this periodically. We need few more Ajay shahs whose writings are equally incisive.

5. Ajay,

First I cursorily glanced through the content. I am now reading the book or shall I say chewing the book at my pace. Let me admit it meets my expectation 100%.

A little observation from me. I have always found you discussing ideas and institutions and never personalities. In this book, you have taken a departure and have given the list of architects of modern Indian financial system. By and large, I find it valid but I feel there are two notable omissions.

1. G V Ramakrishna for forcing acceptance of SEBI in the market. In the initial stages, "forcing" was the only course to create acceptability in the prevailing wayward market chaos.

2. D R Mehta for bringing market perspective into SEBI thinking. I can tell you this with conviction for I was an insider then. SEBI was and continues to be a cocktail of ignorance and arrogance. D R Mehta through committe approach and through informal line of communication with the market brought a sense of professionalim in SEBI policy making procedures. I also give D R mehta credit for hastening the introduction of derivatives. In his misplaced zeal for "Badla", he reversed G V Ramakrishna's decision and tried to give respectability to Badla system by commissioning a committee to document the features of badla system and policy prescriptions to safeguard its potential abuse. He wanted to give the badla system a semblence of respectability. The malfunctioning of this redesigned system made every one quickly realise that it was like putting a coat and hat on the top of a man who was wearing a tattered and dirty "dhoti". This definitely hastened the search for bonafide alternatives.

I rate their contributions superior to many in the list given in your book.

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