Concern and nonchalance about the plight of some retail

Off late, I am watching stock market videos in my native language from YouTube channels. While the intention of the channel’s owners could be of education, the emphasis on risk does not get reflected every time in the videos. The videos encompass general market updates, occasional analyses of stocks, and concepts pertaining to personal finance etc. wherein in, they cover a lot of basic and complex things. And they have got huge subscriber count, or I could even say cult-like fans.

While they do express conservative views, and makes statements about risk, they are not doing this in an explicit manner, evident from the fact that majority of the users’ comments don’t reflect that.

While some viewers seem genuinely interested in learning, most of them are young, some of them perhaps do small jobs, don’t even know spellings, but are interested in the market, because they are excited. They are enticed about the presentation in the videos. They are entertained by the content. The presentations makes a newbie believe that investing is so simple and easy, as if Buffett is wrong.

I have been posting in VP for a few years now and I have learned a few things, and I know in my mind that I haven’t scratched the surface, but these people who are watching a mere reading of a few documents, or a few lines of explanation of general information in the video, think of the market as a place where if they invest, they will be rewarded handsomely. They don’t understand the depth of the market, and the channels are not doing anything in this regard, clearly mentioning this in every video, and on the opposite they add fuel to the fire in the form of eye-grabbing thumbnails for their videos.

Some ask genuine questions, they appear to be informed but their information is incomplete, while most of the others seem pretty uninformed, ignorant to the point of carelessness. I get a bit concerned when such innocent wannabe investors mention names of stocks which I have not heard of, or from sectors which are cyclical or non secular or complex, and ask questions if they can invest. Some say that they have conviction, a strong word, and ask if they should hold or sell. I know you all get the whole picture.

And obviously, I cannot reply to them all individually, the questions are countless, although the thought of educating them did cross my mind, but I don’t think I have the necessary knowledge to educate them.

On the other hand, call me cynical if you want to, as I look at their naivety from another perspective too. I am fairly certain that a part of these people may be getting some easy money, the money that they spend elsewhere may or may not enter the system, but now it is entering directly into the market, I should be happy for this, and I shouldn’t be bothered about their ignorance or innocence. I make this accusation because the thought of losing capital beyond a point is much worse than the appreciation of the capital, I am wary of my capital loss. I cannot commit even some capital unless I have some basic understanding. So it seems some of these people may not bother about losing it all, as they got it easy. I also know that, their excitement will fizzle out sooner than later, once they buy something and are in loss. They will leave and will never comeback.

While innocent and gullible people always existed since the days of Tulip Mania, the scale at which this is happening due to the availability of the content is unprecedented, and network effect is on full throttle here. I don’t know when this would end or this is part of evolution which I am failing to understand. Product misselling without full disclosure always happens, but this does not look like that, this feels like a belief without any basis for logic or knowledge. And I am assuming what I see in my state must be happening all over the country, and this could be one of the reasons why our market is relatively in a better position currently, retail acting as a cushion both through MFs and demat.

A good part of my understanding and knowledge came from this forum, I cannot pinpoint I have learnt this particular aspect in the forum, but I wouldn’t have been confident or participating like this in the market, if it were not for the collective contribution of all you folks. The kind of depths that some members go to is phenomenal.

It is said that, Aristotle along with Alexander and other disciples were about to cross a river, Aristotle wants to go first and check the depth of the river, but Alexander goes into the river, returns and says that the river can be crossed. Aristotle asks Alexander why he disobeyed him, Alexander replies if he dies in the river, it will only be his loss, and Aristotle can create many Alexanders. I am no Alexander, but VP is Aristotle. And I wish I could direct all of those users to VP, but those who are serious about learning will eventually come here, they don’t need my direction. All roads lead to Rome.

So on one hand I am concerned of their innocence, their casual way of looking at an asset class that is governed by many factors, local and global. While on the other hand, I am kind of happy that market is expanding with the inclusion of people like these too, their investments without any idea of what is going to happen is widening the market, so perhaps we need them. And I also know that if the tide turns, all of these innocent direct equity people will disappear without a trace.

So I kind of have both the feelings, concern and nonchalance.

As we have topics in VP about psychological aspects too, I guess this fits the description, and if you have any views, do share them.

I did post a topic few years ago, about diversification and concentration, but it got merged, or even deleted, and I did not introduce any business to the forum ever, so this will be my first topic. Hope it remains so.

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Your observation is right. There are too many people who are making YouTube or Instragram videos who are themselves clueless. They are not investors but “content creators”.

Most have no experience or knowledge of deep prolonged bear markets or euphoric bull markets. And watching them are a lot of people with best intentions. It has become a case of the blind leading the blind.

Social media has made reaching out and distributing easy. The one good part is probably most of these smaller content creators give up after a year or so because no one watches and they can’t make money out of it. For the viewers, over time some will learn from Mr Market and others who don’t fall off the investment journey. This has been happening probably forever and will continue to happen. Human nature rarely changes.

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How do you look at such investors’ participation? Do they help in expanding the market, more such attractive content, more retail participation, more IPOs, stable market not entirely dependent on FIIs, or despite the growing interest, the contribution is not large enough to make the needle move?

As I have come to know that these small investors are buying anything and everything, and since you are both experienced and follow a lot of trends, how could one look at the current state, fad or structured?

All investors add something to the market. The more investors that come to the market, the better it is for India’s resilient and deep capital market culture. There is no need to read too much into this. As long as markets have been there, new investors have come, some stayed after making money and some left after losing and blaming the market for it. That’s how it will also be this time.

Look at how the crypto market is unravelling globally. So many people have lost so much money in this. Maybe one or two of the crypto will remain (bitcoin, eth etc) but the vast majority of coins will simply disappear and it will take small amounts of money from millions of retail guys across the world.

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One of the biggest issue I have with these content creators is how they themselves don’t have more knowledge of things. They look at basic ratios like P/E and say “this stock is undervalued as it has single digit P/E ratio… blah blah” without taking into account if that company is operating into cyclical industry, how is the receivables situation or if the P/E is low due to some super normal margins due to one off event. Also, I have seen how they recommend tech stocks as if everything is going to become next FAANG without looking at tons of duds in US market. No focus on equity dilution, no cashflow analysis, no mention of industry structure or in case of financials, no mention of book value, provisions or NPAs…No mention of dividend yield and its impact in total returns. All these key elements are always missing but titles are always provocative like “Is this the next Multibagger?”

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https://twitter.com/ETNOWlive/status/1593154767509155840?s=20&t=ptU7yQEmwYxFK9wb_H7-hQ

Better late than never. So many pump and dump stories will be over. Fund managers retweeting popular twitter handles, one fund manager retweeting any and every news on war and SGX levels. Another fund manager mocking Indians and govt for not allowing access to crypto.

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