3 Margin Types that every derivative trader must understand

If you are a derivative trader in Indian stock Markets specially an Option writer (Call and put sellers) or futures trader, you must understand various types of margin imposed by your broker. Failing to maintain adequate margin can lead to very high penalty beside ad hoc squaring-off existing positions to trim the size of your overall positions.

SPAN margin

The initial margin required for the positions is computed online and on an intraday basis, using a software called SPAN (Standard Portfolio Analysis of Risk). Sellers of options (both call and put) and holders of futures (both long and short), where the potential losses could be high, are required to have sufficient margin in their accounts. The SPAN system uses strike prices, risk-free interest rates, changes in prices of the underlying securities, changes in volatility and time-value to calculate the worst possible move in the security. For the exchanges, SPAN margin covers almost the entire risk for the day, minimizing the systemic risk due to margin pressures.

Kotak Free Intraday Trading – What you should know?

In this age of disruptions companies are differentiating themselves by offering products and service to creates sticky customers. Across customer facing industries there are companies which are taking on competition by offering more value for the buck. As a consumer, online retail & telecom comes at the top of the mind where disruption has brought bonanza for customers.

There are disruptions happening across financial services industry as well. Brokerage industry, for instance, is facing disruptions from discount brokers and off course full service brokers are responding with innovative offerings. One such recent offering is FreeIntraday Trading (FIT) from Kotak Securities which has waived off brokerage on non-delivery based trades for retail clients.

So how significant is this?
Considering the fact that an average intraday self-trader spends 220 rupees on brokerage per day and approx. 5000 per month only on cash segment, the savings are significant if you add-up the total intraday brokerage paid in all segments put together (cash, futures, options).

6 Important Things to Know About Fixed Deposits

Fixed deposits at banks are one of most convenient, safe and hassle-free investment instruments that also provide reasonable returns. With the advent of online banking these days, you can open FD online within few seconds and clicks.  The tenures in fixed deposits are fixed and usually provide higher return on higher duration. For example, a one-year deposit might fetch 6% per annum return while a 5-year deposit might fetch 7% per annum return depending upon the financial institution. Following are some of the key things to know about fixed deposits:

1.  The rate of return on fixed deposits is fixed. Unlike other high-risk investments like stocks, mutual funds, and debt funds, FD Interest rates aren’t dependent on fluctuating market rates.

2.   All banks provide flexible tenures to choose from. You can open an FD account for as low as 6 months to a maximum of 5 years.

3.   You can avail loan against your Fixed Deposits. Some banks provide up to 90% of the total FD value as personal loan. Unlike other unsecured personal loans, you get lower interest rates when you secure your loan with your FD as collateral.

4.   You can choose between cumulative and non-cumulative options. In cumulative fixed deposit option, interest is accumulated over the tenure of the FD and is paid only at the time of maturity. This helps you in getting a lump-sum amount on maturity. You can use a simple FD Calculator to know the amount you will receive on maturity. A non-cumulative FD works on the opposite principle. In these fixed deposits, the interest payments are made to the investor in a periodical, steady, and timely fashion. This makes it the most sought-after investment option by retired investors, or those who seek frequent cash flow.

Debit vs Credit cards – Which one is better for you?

While shopping you have the option of paying either through your credit card or your debit card. Though the difference might not appear, but there is a huge difference the way payment is processed behind the scene.

Debit vs Credit CardsPaying through Debit card is almost like paying cash and is usually without transaction charges. Payment though debit cards is also instant. On the other hand credit card transaction requires a signature, and is processed by the credit card company. The funds may or may not be immediately deducted from your bank account, depending on how the retailer handles their transactions. Some stores "batch" their credit transactions and send them at the end of the day. Unlike debit cards, to the merchant, processing a transaction as credit usually involves a credit card transaction fee to the major issuers, like Visa and Mastercard. 

Credit cards are mostly a better option while shopping online because of host of offers provided by issuer banks such as interest free EMI, zero transaction charges and higher reward points. It is also relatively safe as you are never liable for unauthorized charges, unlike debit transactions, which are the same as cash. It is advised to use your credit card while purchasing a flight ticket as many companies offer air miles for purchasing the tickets through credit card.

6 Benefits of Buying Term Insurance Online

People are increasingly getting aware of advantages & disadvantages of various life insurance products available in the market and carefully assess their personal needs before buying one. This is primarily happening in urban India because of variety of factors coming together such as easy access to internet, loads of educational content on blogs & forums and variety of products offered by many insurance companies.

One such theme which is widely getting popular these days is term insurance plan which, unlike conventional insurance schemes (endowment, money back etc. ), provides pure protection  and is solely taken with the intention of protecting the dependents in the family. There are many benefits of taking a good term insurance policy but the main benefit that comes with it is large coverage at affordable cost. Since term insurance is a pure protection product, companies are able to provide very competitive rates.

While the amount of suitable coverage varies from person to person based on their need, in general I recommend a sum assured of 10 to 12 times of one’s annual income. So if one is earning INR 5 lacs per year, the ideal term insurance he / she should take is INR 50 to 60 lacs. Off course the more the better but the premium also increases with the increase in sum assured and might not be suitable for the earning profile. You can use a term insurance calculator to check the premiums of various sum assured levels and decide what is best for you.  Here are the 6 benefits of buying a term insurance online:

1. High coverage at affordable premium: Term insurance plans provide a very high life insurance coverage vis-à-vis conventional insurance plans. For example for 30 year old person a typical endowment insurance policy with coverage of INR 50 lacs for 25 years would roughly cost INR 2 lacs in premium per annum while a typical term policy of same sum assured and tenure would cost less than INR 10000 per annum. Off course endowment policy provide some return on premiums invested but if the objective is pure protection and your investments are planned elsewhere, term insurance is the best option.

Model Portfolio Update

Updating Portfolio after 5 long months. As expected lot of stocks have become attractive for investment / trading and hence a sizable portion of cash got utilized in buying some undervalued names. 

Top 5 Largest One Day Drop in Dow Jones

Dow Jones witnessed largest single day fall of around 1200 points on Feb 2015 in its history which have wiped out many un-hedged short volatility traders who were making money easily since 2015. Sharp fall leads to sharp hike in volatility which feed on itself and leads to further decline in stock prices. After prolonged bull market of nearly 10 years, markets are finally showing signs of correction. Here are some of the biggest one day correction in dow jones in terms of absolute points. Off Course the biggest correction in terms of percentage was in 1987.

NSC or Tax Saver FD – Where should you Invest?

When it comes to tax planning there are variety of investment instruments yielding different returns, depending on the risk you are willing to take and the flexibility you desire from the instrument. As you know ELSS is a great investment avenue from tax planning perspective as it yields market based return.  which could be sometimes very high but is also subjected to volatility. This particular instrument is good for young professionals who have time by their side. Young investors are also able to withstand volatility better than elderly professionals as markets beat all other asset classes on a 10-year time period by a wide margin.

But if you are risk averse then Tax Saver Fixed Deposits, National Saving Certificates & Public Provident Fund are the popular choices in India. FD Interest Rates are generally lowest among these three but FDs offer quarterly compounding which results in somewhat similar yields. PPFs are similar to EPFs, with relatively lesser benefits, but available to all citizens of India irrespective of their profession. Since EPF or Employee Provident Fund is available to most salaried individuals, they can choose between Tax Saver FDs & NSCs for further investments from tax-saving point of view. In this article we will explore the similarities and differences between these two instruments.

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