ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW Volume: (2)
Everyone today appreciates the need to save whether for a house, for children’s education, a wedding, or for use after retirement. All these goals can be realized through excellent financial planning. An intelligent plan entails investing your money in an appropriate combination of assets with potential to generate the income needed to achieve your goals. If you invest wisely, you can maximize the earning on your investments.
There are many investment avenues available, but a wise investor does not invest on impulse, a hot tip or follow the herd. An investor should discriminate between information, casting away irrelevant and illogical pieces of information, and checking for opportunities and facts before making an intelligent choice of investments.
2. IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT EQUITIES
If you can afford to take some risk and have the ability to endure the market’s ups and downs, equity investments may grant you good returns.
Do not invest any money with the stockbroker as a deposit at fixed rate of return. Such a deposit has no legal standing and the investor is exposed to risk of losing his money.
You must know the rates of fees and commissions charged by the broker/stock exchange as these affect your costs, and hence your returns.
The aim of investing in stocks and shares is to buy at low and sell at high. Knowing when is however, the problem. Many investors attempt to time the market: they try to figure out when the market is going up and buy before it does and then anticipate when it is going to crash and sell before that. Usually you try to buy when the upswing has begun and sell as the downswing starts. However, such accuracy is extremely difficult to achieve.
The stock market is driven by two emotions: greed and fear. People are caught up in the boom fever and pay beyond the worth of shares this is the greed that drives bull markets. In bear markets, people get carried away with the ruling pessimism and are eager to sell their investments believing in the worst rumors this is the fear that dominates bear markets.
Be careful in selecting your broker. Ensure that he/she is licensed by the SEC to trade and the stock broking firm has a good track record. Give clear instructions to avoid ambiguity, check trade confirmations received and keep a proper record of all your transactions. All the registered brokers are listed at the web site of SEC www.secp.gov.pk
3. HOW TO TRADE?
Your first step is to contact a stockbroker or an investment adviser.
3.1 Introducing Stockbrokers:
Stockbrokers are your link to the stock market. Their job is to help you get the best price available when you want to buy or sell your shares. Be careful in selecting your broker.
3.2 The Mechanics of Share Dealing:
There are various ways of investing in the stock market: you can deal directly in shares; invest through a unit trust or investment trust or let your investment be handled by an advisor.
3.3 Opening of Account:
Once you have decided the broker with whom you intend to deal, you should ensure that an account is opened in your name by filling the account opening form. It is imperative that the terms and conditions prescribed in the account opening form are read very carefully and well understood. It will be in your interest if you give clear instructions as to who can operate the account. It is preferred if the investor gives instructions that business can only be transacted in the account on his instructions.
3.4 Buying/ Selling Directly:
When you have decided to buy/sell shares in a particular company, contact your stockbroker. You can ask to buy/sell a fixed number of shares or shares up to a certain value. Get the contract note confirming your order immediately and check for the following information.
Name and number of securities;
Date on which the order is executed;
Nature of transaction (spot, ready or forward and also whether bought or sold);
Price at which the transaction is executed; and
Commission charged by the broker;
There are two types of orders:
Limit Orders: In a limit order, the client specifies the price at which the order is to be executed.
Market Order: Also known as at best order, the order is executed at the prevailing market rate.
4. VARIOUS WAYS OF BECOMING A SHAREHOLDER:
4.1 Initial Public Offering (IPO):
When companies offer shares to the general public for the first time it is known as a flotation or an Initial Public Offering (IPO). These shares can be bought directly from the company without paying stockbroker’s commission. You might see an advertisement in a newspaper from a company issuing shares or your stockbroker might tell you about a company making an IPO. Simply fill in the share subscription form and deposit the form along with subscription cheque in a branch of the designated bank(s).
4.2 Right Issues:
Right shares are issued when companies need to raise additional capital to finance their new expansion projects or to meet working capital needs, etc. In case of rights issues, the existing investors have the right to subscribe to these new shares in proportion to their respective shareholdings.
4.3 Trading Market:
The most common way of buying/selling in stock market is through trading in the secondary market. Through a stockbroker you can buy shares from existing investors who wish to sell them and vice versa.
5.IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR INVESTORS
Before you invest in shares, you must consider a number of factors
5.1 How Much Money Can You Afford to Invest?
Investment in shares does not result in instant yields. Do not invest any money which you may need immediately, since the price of shares can go up and down, It is advisable to keep some money in a deposit account to meet your financial obligations in the near future. In this way, you will not be forced to sell shares even at low price, if cash is needed urgently.
5.2 How Do You Want to Invest?
There are various ways of participating in the stock market:
You can invest directly by purchasing shares through a broker. You may buy shares in one company or you may spread your risk by investing in a number of different companies to give you a ‘portfolio’ or collection of shares.
You can invest indirectly and through collective investment schemes such as open-ended unit trusts and closed-ended mutual funds. This would reduce your risk further.
5.3 Do You Need Advice or Do You Want to Make Your Own Decisions?
Investors can choose to make their own share dealing decisions or take advice from a professional. Buying and selling shares and tracking their performance can be time consuming but it is rewarding for those who have the time to manage their own investments. Some investors deal with stockbrokers directly while others prefer to use the services of professional managers who have discretionary powers to manage the investment portfolio.
Electronic book-entry transfer of securities i.e. CDS has been set up to eliminate physical transfer of securities. This new book-entry system is in line with the international practice and has replaced the manual system of physical handling and settlement of shares at stock exchanges. With in the CDS, transfer of shares from one client account to another takes place electronically. The CDS is managed by the Central Depository Company of Pakistan Limited, which has been sponsored by the stock exchanges and leading local and financial institutions. Presently, 97 percent of settlements are routed through CDS. Investor Account Services have been introduced in order to facilitate individual investors to maintain their account directly with the CDC. With the implementation of CDS and automated trading system, trading and settlement of securities have become transparent and efficient.
Stock brokerage costs vary according to the extent of services you avail. You should select the service that meets your needs and requirements. Before you start dealing in shares, determine how much you to pay stockbrokers for their services. You need to shop around for the right service at the right price. Charges will differ depending on whether you wish to invest directly or indirectly. Ask if there are any ongoing costs of stockbrokers, other than the dealing commission each time you buy or sell.
8.WHAT HAPPENS ONCE YOU ARE A SHAREHOLDER
There are several types of shareholders: some are long term investors who simply tuck away their investments for years while others trade frequently and keep a close eye on how their shares are performing. You can check your shares’ performance in various ways. A daily indicator of share price movements is available in many newspapers and also on website of the relevant stock exchange. You may access this information directly or through your stock broker/advisor.Informative articles about many companies are regularly published in newspapers and investment magazines. Your stockbroker may also provide valuable information. Some publish newsletters for their clients, reflecting their views on the performance of selected companies. Annual reports of companies also contain useful information. Some companies have shareholder relations departments, which can help with factual information.
You should always ensure that the stockbroker you choose is licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SEC) to trade. Prefer stock brokerage firms with good track record. As a shrewd investor, you should know your rights and responsibilities and should beware of the rules that govern your investments as well as the legal recourse available, in case things go wrong. You can report abuse to the SEC, whose mission is to ensure the development of a fair, efficient, and transparent securities and futures market. Although its main function is regulatory in nature, the SEC has the ultimate responsibility to protect the investor through market supervision and ensuring that its laws and regulations are complied with stock exchanges are the frontline regulators; they must play a proactive role. Send all your complaints in writing to the respective stock exchanges with full details, including the complainant’s name, address and telephone number etc. In case you do not get a response to your complaint, please contact the “Complaint Cell” in the SEC.
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN
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