SMC Global to have 5,000 branches in 2-3 yrs

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New Delhi, Sept 29 (UNI) SMC Global, a financial service provider, will increase the number of branches to 5,000 during the next two to three years from the current 925, with an investment of Rs 50 crore.

''Our aim remains to offer e-Trading centre at each mandi.

For expansion of retail network and offices, we have earmarked an investment of Rs 50 crore,'' SMC Global Director D K Aggarwal told UNI here.

The company also plans to enter the business of mutual funds, banking, insurance and asset management but that will have to wait for at least five to seven years, he said.

''We are looking for partners to enter into a joint venture for these services. Some people have approached us but this will take time and we will get into it after strengthening the company,'' Mr Aggarwal said.

Currently, SMC Global provides insurance broking services through their subsidiary, SMC Insurance Brokers Private Ltd (SMCIBPL), as a direct broker for both life and general insurance.

Talking about the increasing number of IPOs being brought out each day, Mr Aggarwal was of the view that this move will only help the Indian markets. ''The companies are today more confident and are making strong strides and are open to the idea of funding their projects through IPOs,'' he said.

He also advocated a further relaxation of FDI norms, especially in the stock market and the infrastructure segment, and felt it would help in progress of the country.

The country's economy is burgeoning but there is still a lot of scope for improvement in the financial sector. ''Today, despite the growth in the income of the average Indian, still just three per cent of the population invests in the stock market,'' Mr Aggarwal said.

There is still a 97 per cent market that can be tapped, he added.

Mr Aggarwal highlighted an interesting point that India currently uses five per cent of its savings to invest in the stock market, whereas the figure was as high as 27 per cent in countries like the US.

SMCIBPL's clientele includes names like Kotak Life, Max New York Life, Bharati Axa, ICICI Prudential, Bajaj Allianz, LIC, Aviva, Iffco-Tokio, Tata AIG, Reliance General Insurance, Chola Mandalam etc.

The company is also involved in commodity trading, online internet trading, online IPO, online mutual fund, depository services.

It also provides investment and arbitrage advisory services and has regional offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, Siliguri, Chennai, Cochin, Ahemdabad, Jaipur and Hyderabad.

The company caters to over three lakh investors with over 1.75 lakh trades per day at 3,500 trading terminals of the various exchanges.

UNI

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