If you ever googled for brokerage firms with online facilities in India, then you might find numerous forums and blogs denouncing and abusing ICICIDirect.com, the company I’ve chosen to trade my stocks through. Most of these accusations date back to 2006-2008 and primarily center around slow speeds and complete shut-downs by ICICIDirect at peak hours. One can even find negative comments posted as recently as May 2009. As regards myself, I opened an account with ICICIDirect in late 2007 and soon saw a 60% depreciation in the value of my purchased shares in 2008. This compelled me to stop trading for over 12 months, until I discovered the stocks rallying back to some respectability a few weeks ago.
I decided to disinvest at the very first opportunity after the UPA was elected back to power in May, and the Sensex had hit the upper circuit twice on the 18th. It became difficult to enter back the market thereafter, through cash segment, since the markets had seen a 25% rise in the weeks that followed. I decided to trade intraday on margins and further raise my knowledge about stock markets, as a result. ICICIDirect has been functioning pretty well since then, barring a day’s shut down that occurred roughly two weeks earlier, and yes they did screw me up on that occasion, since I eagerly awaited to enter the market before they went kaput. This highlighted the necessity of having more than one trading account for those wishing to trade more frequently.
Though, it is early to say anything about the alleged failures, I’d still rate ICICIDirect decently for having made the whole banking and stock trading experience a user-friendly and smooth one. For me the only worry that kept me busy during the last few weeks was to master the art of intraday trading, and not that of suspecting when ICICIDIrect might ditch me the next.
If you wish to have more information, check out this list of Products and Services they provide. And here is a table of their brokerage charges. Check this out for any confusions about ICICIDIrect functioning, and the stock market basics in general. More about them later in my subsequent posts.