After industrial houses, the city's booming realty is luring stock brokers. With shrinking margins on the bourses, a number of them have formally forayed into the business. Some others are silent players, happily leading real estate firms as back-seat drivers.
Dhiren Vora of H Nyalchand Financial Services was a full-time stock broker before he joined Safal group promoter Rajesh Brahmbhatt in 2002. Until the start of 2010, Vora was a silent player while Brahmbhatt was the face of the group.
Recently, Vora and Brahmbhatt split Safal into two companies. While Brahmbhatt controls B Safal, Vora runs HN Safal. "Our entire concentration is on realty business. We found it more lucrative," said Vora, who plans to set up a number of realty projects, including a township.
Three months ago, Khandwala Integrated Financial Services (KIFS), a city-based broking firm, joined hands with Brahmbhatt, who controls B Safal. "We were looking at diversification. The spectacular returns drove us to have some stake in Ahmedabad's growing real estate market," said Jay Bhavsar, director of KIFS.
Another broking firm, Amrapali Capital and Finance Services Ltd, too has systematically diversified into real estate along with entertainment and hospitality businesses due to sinking margins in their core business.
"Brokerage was as high as one per cent in 1992, which has gone down to 0.1 per cent today due to growing competition," says Monal Thakker of Amrapali. According to him, real estate gives 10 times more return on investment compared to traditional stock broking business.
SN Group, on the other hand, has completely transformed from stock broking to real estate in past few years. The firm morphed into Shivalik Realty, which has executed over 50 projects. "Unlike stock broking, there is ample of space to create your own brand. Realty is a more profitable and a less volatile business," says Taral Shah of Shivalik group.