After a torrid phase that saw the 1-lakh-employee strong domestic broking industry lay off staff, cut costs and adjust to market conditions akin to a drought, the new found euphoria in stocks has helped the brokerages consider ramping up headcount as volumes doubled in a short time and indices vaulted to records, say top officials.
    
Ullhas Pagey, Head HR at Sharekhan said, "Our current head count is close to 3,200 and over a period of time we may add 10 percent of manpower strength in a phased manner."
    
As the capital markets are coming back on track, there is a significant increase in client activity. The number of account opening requests has also gone up. Broking companies are likely to expand their customer acquisition and dealing teams. The total number of brokers operating in cash segment is about 9,500.
    
Companies like Anand Rathi and Motilal Oswal appear bullish as investors have once again started to slowly make a beeline to markets.
     
"During the bad phase, we scaled up and prepared ourselves for the upturn. It's happening now. Institutions were trading but the retail segment is also coming back. This is a positive sign for the industry. Existing and new players will do well," said Anand Rathi, founder & chairman, Anand Rathi Financial Services.
    
The former BSE president, whose firm employs over 2,500 professionals serving HNIs and wealthy families among others, is "optimistic about the future" as trading volumes pick up pace.
    
Motilal Oswal Financial Services, which counts 701,845 retail broking and distribution clients among its 8 lakh clientele, hired about 200 people for its broking business in the past one year.
    
"The business cycle is hopefully turning better. Market volumes are seeing more delivery based transactions. Retail customers are gaining confidence," said Motilal Oswal, chairman and managing director of the 27-year old company.
     
Bank-backed Kotak Securities is witnessing a strong interest in securities market talent wanting to come back.      

"There has been re-hiring in the last two months. Typically senior level people. There is a lot of opportunity for junior level talent. We are about 3,600 staff. But bringing new business requires more people in sales and servicing functions," said Vivek Jain, Senior VP - HRD, Kotak Securities.

Retail focussed financial services firm Geojit BNP Paribas has seen 100 percent jump in volumes and one out of every two customers is doing internet trading.
 
"Business is growing. Brokers are making money. With technology integration, manpower needs have stabilized but you need the right people to sell products. It's a focus area for us. We are a 2,000-people company. As markets get stronger, we will expand," said Managing Director, C J George of Geojit BNP Paribas -- the firm where Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is a board member.

(Agencies)

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