Saturday, October 27, 2012

Will FDI in retail be good for consumers?

This article was first published in Moneylife Magazine and on October 25th, 2012

Wal-mart or Tesco may fail in India but consumers must get a choice
At 6am on a Tuesday, the wholesale market for vegetables—Bowenpally Monda (Hyderabad)—is already humming with activity. When talking to a commission agent about their cornering a share of the farmers’ profits, the agent asks, “While statistics are available and the media quotes the number of farmers who have committed suicide or number of farmers who have become impoverished or their condition has worsened, does any government institution or any institution have statistics on how many intermediaries have gone bankrupt? How many people have entered the trading business and lost money and, hence, quit? How much bad debt is there in intermediation? If this statistic is compiled, one would realise that intermediation is not an easy job.” In this, and possibly other markets, the intermediaries or commission agents perform a very important function—that of taking financial risk.

Others from his trade join in to ask: “Why should a farmer worry about what the others are getting? If a farmer gets Rs2 and he has invested only Re1, it’s good business. He makes 100%-200% return on his investment. Any project should be measured on the basis of return on capital. Intermediaries do not make money on each transaction. They make money once in a while. That’s part of the game. Sometimes, they make a killing; on other days, they barely break even or make losses. Volumes bring them money. Their average margins are wafer-thin.

Across the country, debate is raging over foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail and the entry of larger players like Wal-Mart and Tesco. The traders do not seem to be concerned about this. One of the agents asks me, “How is a Reliance or an ITC less smart than Wal-Mart?”

Reliance has the deepest pockets in the country and did hire the best talent in the world for its retail operations. But Reliance Retail has been a fiasco. While one can argue that Reliance has always operated in the industrial arena and does not have a mindset for retail, what about ITC? ITC is a thoroughly farm-consumer market company with deep pockets and deep understanding of the entire value chain. They have worked with farmers at the grassroots level for over 100 years in India. Yet, their fresh retailing business has not been successful.

What is the problem? And can Wal-Mart and others handle it? The CEO of a company, who does not want to be named, which is into large-scale commercial farming, says, “Either the market is more efficient than is believed or the market has not evolved to a point where models of large retail chains can be absorbed in the system.”

It is often said that in India 30%-40% of the fresh produce gets wasted. I once heard Damodar Mall, director of strategy-food at the Future group, which pioneered organised retail business in India, say that in a country like India where people make serious living out of rag-picking, nothing is thrown away. Nothing is wasted. “Yes, the value of the produce can be better preserved. But the cost of retaining that value through refrigeration or pre-cooling, etc, versus the value saved is not financially viable.”

The natural chain is far more efficient. Apples are a classic example where cold chain can be applied. They are produced only in one part of the country and consumed across the country. Concentrated production and distributed consumption. Companies like Adani and Concor, have invested heavily in the cold chain. Yet, cold chain has not become entirely successful.

The marketing and distribution channels have designed themselves in such a way that it is very close to ‘Just-in-Time’. In the US, food habits are more or less uniform throughout the country. In India, every 300km, eating habits are completely different, determined by production in the local catchment which, in turn, depends on the soil, agro-climatic conditions, etc. So the production and consumption is more localised. While there are products like paddy and wheat which are produced in one part of the country and consumed across the country, fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables, are localised. Except for onions and potatoes, few products move further than 300-400km in the country.

When asked about the impact of FDI on the mom-and-pop kirana stores, the CEO, who prefers to be called a farmer, says “Mom-and-pop stores will flourish. They will not go anywhere. In fact, in places where the retail chains set up shop, the mom-and-pop stores will become even more efficient. The Indian trader is very smart. There are several instances where when organised retailers like Reliance run a promotion on tomatoes, for, say, Rs5 per kg, the corner shop vendor comes and buys 10kg and stocks it in his shop. These promotions result in losses for organised retailers and gains for the small shops.”

The guidelines for FDI in retail impose limitations too. Outlets can be opened only in cities with a population of one million and above; 50% of the investment should be for backward linkages. These are tough conditions to meet.

Also, the regulatory and procedural hurdles are not going to be easy for foreign investors to manoeuvre around. Even a simple food-processing unit needs anywhere between 15-20 licences/permissions from agencies/authorities such as electricity, pollution control, labour, fire safety, panchayat, taluka, weights and measures, etc. They are needed and should be there. But the way they are monitored and the way the system operates, it is very difficult to start and operate a project.

The retail pie is obviously very big and everyone can benefit from it. But it’s only fair to give the consumers a choice. If a Wal-Mart or a Tesco is more efficient and offers cheaper products, then why should the customer suffer? Whether they will be able to do so is a big question; but it is worth giving them a chance for the sake of the consumer.

Make best of deft NEFT

This article was originally published in Postnoon on October 26th, 2012, Co-Author: Anuj Hetamsaria

A few days back, I had counseled Mr. Mukherjee about mobile banking, in the context of transferring funds from one account to the other. Today he came to me with further questions with regards to funds transfer.

Mukherjee: Professor, the relationship manager at the bank told me that funds could be transferred via NEFT. What is this NEFT?

Nicky: NEFT stands for National Electronic Funds Transfer and it facilitates the transfer of funds across different branches of the same bank or different banks. It is easy, cheap, safe and fast.

Mukherjee: I am sure it comes with its own set of requirements!

Nicky (smiling at the cynicism): Oh yeah! You will need to provide to your bank, the Account Number and name of the beneficiary, the name, address and IFSC (Indian Financial System Code) of the beneficiary's branch.

Mukherjee: Where do I get all these details from?

Nicky: The person to whom you want to transfer the money to, that is, the beneficiary, should be able to help you with this. All these details will be found on the cheque book of the beneficiary. IFSC code can also be found out on RBI website and from the bank branch. Care must be taken to ensure that these details are provided to your bank correctly, to avoid transaction errors.

Mukherjee: What is this IFSC? I have never heard of it before?

Nicky: According to, IFSC is an alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies a bank branch for participating in NEFT system. It is an 11-character code with the first 4 alphabetic characters representing the bank and the last 6 characters (usually numeric, but can be alphabetic) representing the branch. The 5th character is 0 (zero). IFSC is used by the NEFT system to route the messages to the destination banks / branches.

Mukherjee: So I can transfer funds using NEFT at any time of the day or night and any day of the week?

Nicky: Not really. You cannot transfer funds on bank holidays, like public holidays and Sundays. From Monday to Friday, the facility is available between 9 AM and 7 PM and on Saturdays, between 9 AM and 1 PM. There are eleven hourly settlements between 9 AM and 7 PM on all weekdays and five hourly settlements between 9 AM and 1 PM on Saturdays.

The money will be credited to the beneficiary’s account on the same day or at the most next day in case the message is sent during the last batch of settlement. If the amount is not credited within the specified time then the same must be reported to the banking authorities and proper follow up of the same to be done.

Mukherjee: You did tell me that it is cheap. But can you offer some specifics on charges?

Nicky: Well...My bank changes Rs5/- per transaction if the amount is less that Rs 1 lakh and Rs 25/- if the transaction amount is more than Rs. 1 lakh.

Mukherjee: Hmmm, that's really not much. Thank you Prof.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Simple Solution for Tail Risk

FFTW’s Thomas Philips on an enhancement to mean-variance optimization

The interview was first published by the Global Association for Risk Professionals on October 16th 2012

In scenarios that are simply not accounted for in classical theories of finance, how will most investment portfolios perform? "Poorly!" asserts Thomas Philips of asset manager Fischer Francis Trees and Watts. "Classical risk budgeting solutions are based on Harry Markowitz's mean-variance optimization paradigm," he says, "and are ill-suited to assets and strategies with significant amounts of tail risk."

Philips is not alone in having to face this conundrum, but he has been original and innovative in doing so in his role as global head of investment risk and performance at FFTW, a New York-based, fixed-income-focused firm that manages $56 billion on behalf of clients around the world.

"While algorithms to optimize tail risk are known," he notes, "they tend to be complex and are not easily implemented. In addition, they tend to rely on historical data for their inputs, as they are not readily adapted to include forecasts of risks."

In the interview that follows with Nupur Pavan Bang (, senior researcher at the Centre for Investment at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, Philips discusses a simple enhancement to the mean-variance paradigm that allows for the inclusion of tail risk.

According to Philips, this approach is easily implemented and has proven itself in the management of a wide range of fixed-income portfolios. It can be solved in closed form and typically results in a 15% to 20% reduction in tail risk relative to a classical mean-variance solution, with no change in volatility.

Philips, who has a PhD in electronic and computer engineering from the University of Massachusetts, is also BNP Paribas Investment Partners' regional head of investment risk and performance for North America. (Fischer Francis Trees and Watts has been an affiliate of BNP Paribas since 1999 and wholly owned by the Paris-based bank since 2006.) Philips has also worked at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, the IBM Retirement Fund, Rogers Casey and Associates, Paradigm Asset Management and OTA Asset Management. He has published more than 30 research papers and is credited with two patents. He won the first Bernstein/Fabozzi/Jacobs-Levy prize for his paper "Why do Valuation Ratios Forecast Long Run Equity Returns?" and the Graham and Dodd award for "Saving Social Security: A Better Approach."

Philips elaborated on his methods, their academic grounding and practical implementation during an August visit to the Indian School of Business.

NUPUR BANG: Markowitz's mean-variance optimization model is one of the most widely used models in the investment industry. How does your model differ from his?

THOMAS PHILIPS: To understand that, you have to understand what mean-variance optimization addresses and what it does not. Mean-variance optimization allows us to build portfolios which appeal to us in two dimensions. In particular, it gives us a simple and computationally tractable way to relate the expected return and the risk of a portfolio to the risk and returns of its underlying assets, and a reasonable way in which to think about a trade-off between the two.

The last step involves utility theory, but even without the use of utility theory, mean-variance optimization is very useful. Before Harry Markowitz developed it, there wasn't such a clear-cut focus on risk and return. A great deal of work, particularly on risk, had been done by gamblers and insurers, but their work was disjointed from the investment literature. The notion of a common person trading off risk and return came to the forefront because of Markowitz. And he made it accessible to a wide range of people because he used simple, computable measures of return and risk.

If you look at assets whose returns are largely a function of their mean and their variance, such as stocks, mean-variance optimization is a pretty good way to think about the problem of portfolio construction. But for assets such as bonds and options, it is a poorer approximation. Our model addresses the issue of how one ought to trade off risk and return when the distribution of asset returns is more complex.

Can you explain this further? Why is it a poor approximation for bonds and options?

Largely because their returns tend to be very skewed.

Let's think about how corporate bonds are created. Risky corporate cash flows are split between two classes of investors: bondholders and stockholders. Bondholders are offered a relatively low, but correspondingly safe, rate of return. Equity holders are residual claimants to corporate cash flows -- they get paid a higher (but risky) return. In particular, they get paid only if there is money left over after bondholders have been paid.

As a consequence, stockholders pick up almost all the variability in the company's earnings, while bondholders experience little variability in their cash flows. But if a company gets deeply distressed (think of Enron) and then is unable to pay its bondholders, they take a huge hit. So, most of the time, bonds have a steady return, but once in a while they suffer huge losses. In other words, the distribution of bond returns cannot be normal.

It is worth pointing out that bonds typically come with protective covenants which give bondholders possession of the machines in the factory or the desks in the office in the event that the corporation cannot pay them what they were promised. In principle, at least, the bondholder can take those machines and desks and sell them at an auction to recover some, but likely not all, of their investment. It is commonly assumed that the recovery rate is about 40%.

How do you deal with this in practice?

One approach is to simulate the behavior of bonds and options, or to sample their historical returns and then build a complex optimization around these samples. Unfortunately, if the simulation model is not good, or if the historical returns don't cover bad times as well as good times, one can get silly results. Another approach is to model the distribution of returns more accurately using a mixture of stable distributions.

Regardless of which approach one chooses, the level of mathematical sophistication rapidly escalates, and one has to be careful not to get trapped in a mathematical quagmire. Typically, when thinking about investments, simple math works best.

We address this problem by modeling risk in a simple, sensible way that is intuitive for fixed-income investors. We are happy to settle for a model that isn't exact but points us in the right direction and is analytically tractable. In the special case when all returns are Gaussian, our model returns the same results as a classic mean-variance optimization. In other words, it is a good approximation in difficult cases, and exact in easy cases.;;

How is it different from some of the other efforts by, say, Black and Litterman?

There actually is a point of connection between our model and the Black-Litterman model. The key insight that underlies Black-Litterman is that one can use results from general equilibrium to get a basic solution in closed form, and can then modify this basic solution in accordance with some further insights on the relative expected returns of a few assets.

Our model is similar in spirit. We start by solving a simple mean-variance optimization problem in closed form, and then gently modify this solution in accordance with some insights that we have about the tail risk of each asset or strategy. Basically, if an asset or a strategy has a lot of tail risk, we decrease its allocation, and if an asset has very little tail risk, we increase its allocation. But after all the adjustments we make, the variance of the portfolio remains the same. So both solutions start with a simple solution and then modify it a bit in accordance with some auxiliary insights.

You discuss coherent measures of risk. Can you shed some light on this?

The theory of coherent risk measures was developed by Artzner, Delbaen, Eber and Heath in the mid to late 1990s. It turns out that many popular measures of risk, such as VaR, have some undesirable properties. In particular, they don't satisfy something called the diversification axiom. If you combine two risky portfolios, you expect that the overall risk of the combined portfolio will not exceed the sum of the risks of its constituents. But Artzner et al. showed that under some widely used risk measures, you could have two portfolios with zero risk in isolation, but positive risk when combined. In essence, diversification was creating risk!

Any reasonable risk measure should not have this flaw. They went on to define a set of axioms that any reasonable measure of risk should satisfy, and call a risk measure that satisfies these axioms a coherent measure of risk. Markowitz used variance as his preferred measure of risk because it was both intuitive and tractable. Unfortunately, it is not coherent. We use expected shortfall as our risk measure because it is coherent and easily computed.

You are an example of how academic research blends with practice. How do you actually use your model?

FFTW is a fixed-income house, and we manage portfolios against a variety of benchmarks. We start by replicating the benchmark, and then layer on a set of active alpha strategies to build a complete portfolio. The alpha strategies come from several alpha teams. There is a structured securities team that analyzes mortgages, a rates team that analyzes the shape and level of yield curves, a money market team that focuses on the short end of the yield curve, a sector rotation team that rotates allocations between sectors, an FX team that focuses on currencies, a quant team that builds quantitative strategies, and an EM team that focuses on emerging markets. We compute the risk profile of each team's model portfolio and use our model to allocate risk among the various alpha teams.

Have you found this to be much better than the traditional portfolio?

Yes, but in a very specific way. It reduces tail risk by 10% to 20% while leaving portfolio variance unchanged.

Could your model be extended to stocks, real estate and options?

It is easily applied to any asset class. However, as a general rule, I'd suggest using the simplest model that captures the key aspects of the problem you working on. Most optimization models work well when returns are approximately normal. If there is non-normality involved, tail risks get amplified, and you ought to use something like our model.

It is widely believed that asset allocation is 70% to 80% of the job and accounts for 70% to 80% of the returns that any investor gets. Stock selection, or selection of bonds/options or any other assets, accounts for just about 20%. Your model is a big step in deciding what an asset allocation should be in a portfolio. What are your general views on asset allocation?

This is an interesting question, and it is often misunderstood. There is a very nice paper by Roger Ibbotson and Paul Kaplan that appeared in the Financial Analysts Journal a few years ago and answers the most common variants of this question. If you are asking what fraction of the variability of your portfolio over time is explained by its asset allocation, the answer is about 90%. If, on the other hand, you ask what fraction of the cross sectional variation in return across funds is explained by asset allocation, the answer is about 40%. If you ask what fraction of your total return is explained by asset allocation, the answer is 100%.

I don't think asset allocation has to be hugely subjective. But I do think that a few simple rules of thumb are very useful. You absolutely ought to diversify globally. And you ought to hold a wide range of assets. You won't go too far wrong by having half your money in stocks and the other half in bonds, half domestically and half internationally. Is this perfect? No. Is it a reasonable starting point? Yes. It is even better if the bonds are indexed for inflation.

If you know your utility function, or if you can build good estimators of expected return, you could do better. But most investors don't know what their utility function is. The only utility function that makes intuitive sense to me is the log utility function, because it corresponds to maximizing target wealth. Jarrod Wilcox had a paper in the Journal of Portfolio Management some years ago on an approach to maximizing return while preserving capital. In essence, he invested his discretionary wealth log-optimally and kept the remainder in cash equivalents. It's a very clever idea.

What is your view on risks pertaining to countries? In the past two to three years, we have seen economies default which we never thought could go down. What are your thoughts generally on deleveraging and defaults by such economies.

Any country can get into trouble. A number of things went wrong in Europe and the U.S. in 2008, but they could well have happened anywhere. The deleveraging process is not easy, and it takes time. But I believe Europe will recover from the mess it is in. Policy makers are finally getting their act together, and pro-growth policies will soon start to take root.

What about India? Last year, the rupee depreciated by almost 25%, and "India shining" seems to have become a thing of the past, with uncertainties in policies and politics coming in the way of performance. What is your take?

I think you are being overly pessimistic. India is not a complete disaster that is falling apart, and it never was a perfect country that was headed straight up. It has always been something in between. There are (and were) pockets of innovation and pockets of stagnation. No one expected the IT industry to spring up in India. And I can see that happening again with pharmaceuticals. So, both good and bad things are happening, but I believe that India's problems (like most problems) are fixable.

What is your view on the state of research in the field of finance and how disconnected it may be from the real world.

I always tell young people who are starting out on a career in research that the world offers them incredibly interesting problems to solve. Take a look at the world -- don't just read journals. The other thing that I stress is the need to be interdisciplinary. I am always shocked by the number of solutions to problems I face that come from other fields. For example, at FFTW we monitor portfolios using ideas from statistical process control, and we estimate volatilities using ideas from digital signal processing. It is also a good idea to study history. As the old saying goes, all that's new under the sun is what you didn't learn in your history class.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mobile Banking

This article was originally published in Postnoon on October 19th, 2012, Co-Author: Anuj Hetamsaria

Mukherjee was pacing furiously at the lounge of our building when I arrived after a long day. He generally waited for me there when he wanted to ask me something. He was an impatient man and I knew from experience that I did not have a choice. I will have to answer his questions before I was allowed to proceed to the elevator. Reluctantly, I asked him the reason for his anger.

Mukherjee: I had to transfer money to my daughter studying in Delhi for her college fees. It was urgent. I went to the bank so that I could take out cash from my account and deposit it in her account.

There was a long queue at the teller’s counter. At 1pm the teller got up and went for his lunch. I waited for half an hour for him to return. After he came back and when my turn came, he refused to let me withdraw cash with my PAN card as the amount was more than Rs50,000. I was not carrying my PAN card. By the time I came back home, took my PAN card and reached the bank again, the bank had closed. My daughter is furious with me. I am furious at the teller. Overall, I am very upset.

Nicky: Why do you need to go to the bank to transfer the money? Aren’t you registered for mobile banking?

Well you must get registered for it then. This time, you don’t have a choice. You will have to go to the bank again tomorrow morning and deposit the amount in your daughter’s account. But you must immediately apply for the username and password for mobile banking. In future, you can transfer the money to her through your mobile.

Mukherjee: Really? Is it simple? What are the things that I can do using mobile banking?

Nicky: Ofcourse. Mobile banking is becoming popular by the day. You need not wait in the queue. You need not confront any rude tellers. You can transact sitting anywhere and at anytime. You can check your account balance, see transaction history, transfer money, pay bills, etc.

Nicky: Mobile banking is very safe, if not 100 per cent. But then, nothing is 100 per cent safe! Once you register, you will get a Mobile Money Identifier (MMID). It is a unique user ID which the bank gives you. You also have a Mobile PIN, that is, a password. This MPIN needs to be changed at regular intervals for safety purposes. There are always issues like viruses attacking your mobile. But they are rare occurrences.

Mukherjee: Will this work on my mobile?

Nicky: I don’t know that. You must have a phone that is compatible with the software/application that your bank uses. The customer care of the bank will help you download the necessary software and will also be able to guide you on compatibility issues. Your phone number will be linked to your bank account number.

Mukherjee: Is it free? Or is mobile banking free?

Nicky: Well… mostly its free. Only a few may charge a small fee. But even if there is a small fee, its worth it because it saves time and effort or physically going to the bank.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Discipline and Dispute in Credit Cards

This article was originally published in Postnoon on October 5th, 2012, Co-Author: Anuj Hetamsaria

Two days after our conversation on credit cards, once again there was a message from Sethu, blinking on my desktop. I put my coffee down with one hand and clicked on the Gtalk tab with the other. Even though taking a credit card is mostly harmless if one is disciplined in its use, Sethu is so suspicious about anything even remotely modern, that he is difficult to convince. He has more doubts before he applies for a credit card.

Sethu: I have heard that some of the shopkeepers charge an additional percent if the payment for purchases is made by credit card. Is it true?

Nicky: While most shop keepers or service providers do not charge anything extra, a few do charge about 2.5% extra if you pay by credit card. Also, some of them may not accept payment through credit card if the bill amount is very small, typically below Rs250 or Rs200. So, the ideal thing is to pay by cash if the shop keeper or the service provider charges an extra fee for payment through credit card.

Sethu: Hmmm...what about payments to online stores? Do they charge anything extra? Are they secure?

Nicky: Most of them don't charge anything extra. Site like, or have very secure payment gateways and credit cards are immensely helpful in making online payments. However, you have to be very careful with your credit card details like card number, cvv code, expiry date etc. Because, anyone who has these details, can make a payment online. It is a good practice to take benefit of services like mobile alerts. This will help you identify any payment that you did not make, immediately. You can then report misuse of the card to the bank and block your card to prevent further misuse.

Sethu: All this is fine. But don't you think that credit card encourages people to buy things they don't need?

Nicky: No. I don't think so. You cannot blame credit cards for lack of planning and discipline.

Sethu: You are right. But what if there is a dispute regarding either the credit card bill or charges or benefits?

Nicky: All banks have a well established grievance redress mechanism. Small issues can be settled at the customer care officers level. For the others, you may approach the bank branches, or write to the appellate or banking ombudsman. However, you too have to be careful about not signing any blank application forms or documents, provide correct details to the bank officials, take everything from the bankers in writing about the charges and the benefits, keep copies of all documents that you submit to the card issuer for your future reference, don't share your card pin or password.

Sethu: Thank you Nicky. I feel more comfortable now regarding applying for a credit card.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Smart users stand to gain

This article was originally published in Postnoon on October 5th, 2012, Co-Author: Anuj Hetamsaria

I have known Sethu since at least a decade. A manager at a Multi National Company, Sethu always had strong opinions against the growth of internet, internet banking, credit cards etc. He is the kind of person who feels that these developments compromise on security and lack personal touch. I was surprised when he recently pinged me on Google talk to discuss credit cards! He was contemplating taking up a credit card finally.

Sethu: Nicky, I know you are going to say that I have finally converted. Well you can say so. Credit cards have become so popular now a days that I am forced to rethink my beliefs. And honestly, I have also started to feel that it is safer to carry a credit card than cash. Since you carry many credit cards, I thought you would be the best person to tell me a bit more about them.

Nicky: You are right. Credit cards are not only safer, but they also provide credit facility for as much as 50 days if you time your purchases well. A number of banks also offer cash back, discount, bonus and reward benefits on the purchases using their card.

Sethu: The banks offer either VISA or MATER CARD mostly. Isn't there an Indian gateway?

Nicky: Ah...the swadesi! You are in luck. The National Payments Corporation of India launched the indigenous RuPay in March 2012. You can take up a RuPay card through banks like SBI, BoB, BOI, Axis Bank, etc. RuPay is all set to give tough competition to VISA and MASTERCARD in India and abroad.

Sethu: Oh that's nice. But how do I decide the bank?

Nicky: Compare factors like joining costs (if any), annual maintenance cost, interest rate on rollover, cash withdrawal limits and charges, reward points, special benefits etc. Credit limit being offered by the bank may also be a deciding factor. Different banks adopt different policies in calculating limits extended to the customers. Steady income, income range, good credit history, etc. are some the factors the banks look at.

Depending on these, they will offer to you an appropriate card. It could be gold, platinum, titanium, classic, world, etc

Sethu: I have heard that the rollover facility come with very steep interest rates?

Nicky: That's right. But you should not use your credit card as a means for longer term loans. You must have the discipline to pay on time. Also, you should not use your credit card for cash withdrawals. As the free credit period is not available on cash withdrawals and interest is charged on them from the day of withdrawal, till it is paid back in full. These facilities are available, but they should be used only in the event of an emergency requirement, not regularly.

Sethu: Thanks Nicky. I think I am now ready to apply for a credit card, albeit, after some research!