Startups

Former BSE chairman S Ravi

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Sethurathnam Ravi, (S Ravi), was the chairman of Bombay Stock Exchange Limited (BSE) from November 2017 to February 2019. Now, he’s the Founder and Managing Partner of Ravi Rajan & Co., an advisory and accountancy firm, headquartered in New Delhi, India. 

A post-graduate in commerce, S Ravi also holds a Diploma in Information System Audit (DISA). He is an Associate Member of Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE), USA, and also a registered Insolvency Resolution Professional. 

In his tenure spanning more than three decades, he has garnered extensive experience in the field of banking and finance, financial and management consulting, including mergers and acquisitions, valuations, rehabilitation and restructuring of companies and turnaround strategies, auditing of companies and banks among others.

In a conversation with YourStory, S Ravi talks about the pandemic and its impact on the market, and offers his view on crypto markets and upcoming IPOs.

YourStory (YS): How has the pandemic impacted overall financial sectors? What was the difference between Wave I and II? 

S Ravi (SR): The pandemic has certainly impacted the financial sector. Banks are witnessing request for restructuring, especially in the SME/ MSME sector. Sectors badly infected are aviation, tourism, manufacturing, hospitality, malls etc. Banks are doing long and deep restructuring. Insurance companies are flooded with claims. Fintech companies have done well during this pandemic.

The sector was better prepared in the second wave, learning from their experiences.

YS: What systems and changes have been seen because of the pandemic?

SR: Work from home was the order of the day. Many companies down sized their establishment costs. Office space were surrendered or reduced. Secure data protocols were introduced. A mixed approach, wherein continuity of operations was the objective, was taken, keeping in mind COVID protocols. 

YS: What has the impact of the pandemic been on the markets and economy? What shifts have you seen and how has it impacted the workings of the stock markets itself?

SR: The economy has been impacted and there has been a resultant fall in GDP. The cost of petrol has also impacted the economy. Certain sectors were badly impacted which is a cause of concern for Indian economy. Manufacturing suffered by 30 percent during the second wave. Job losses or salary cuts were witnessed across the industry. Stock markets were not impacted; retail investors flocked the stock market and showed unprecedented interest.

YS: What is your view on crypto markets? They seem volatile. How do you see them evolving and growing? 

SR: Cryptocurrency has a good future, but it is risky due to lack of regulations. The present environment is not conducive to crypto trade as there are no regulations and investor awareness.

YS: What is your view on regulations and privacy for the crypto market? 

SR: Regulations are important to develop the crypto market so that there is no misspelling and there is protection of small investors. At present, we are slow on framing regulations.

YS: The number of neo banking startups is growing. What is your view on how that segment will evolve and aid the overall financial landscape?

SR: Neo banking is a great concept as it brings in technology, efficiency, and reach. Neo banks can collaborate with large bank so that they can enable faster customer acquisition. Standalone neo banks will find it difficult to survive on their own.

YS: What is your view on how technology has aided the financial sector in these times? 

SR: Technology has actually enabled business to continue without much disruption. It has enabled work from home and has reflected its importance.

YS: What is your advice to startups that will be launching their IPO this year?

SR: A lot of companies are planning their IPO. Startups will have to prove their mettle and catch the fancy of the market to be successful. Tech and companies with innovation will perform well in the proposed IPOs.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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