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Technology has totally shaken up the Indian broking ecosystem: Sandeep Bhardwaj, COO and CDO, HDFC Securities Ltd

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Sandeep Bhardwaj, COO and CDO of HDFC Securities Ltd., is driving the digital revolution in the broking industry, adapting to the tech-savvy aspirations of the youth. HDFC Securities’ transition to a direct-to-customer model through cutting-edge technology has fueled industry growth, offering an immersive omni-channel experience. With a focus on simplifying decision-making and appealing to the digital-native generation, HDFC Securities is leading the charge in reshaping the future of finance
Some edited excerpts:
Can you tell us about the digital transformation of the broking industry and how HDFC Securities has been leading this change? 
Technology has totally shaken up the Indian broking ecosystem, bridging the divide between service providers and clients. The digital revolution was bound to happen, thanks to the skyrocketing interest of Indian youth in investing and trading to secure a prosperous future. These young patrons aren’t just tech-savvy, they practically grew up with digital devices as a natural extension of their daily life. To keep up with their sky-high expectations, the broking industry had to undergo a total makeover.
The digital revolution has paved the way for us to revolutionize the way our customers experience broking solutions. We’ve invested heavily in cutting-edge technology ecosystem to cater to our customer’s needs, all while breaking free from the old-school broking setup towards a direct-to-customer approach. Thanks to this digital transformation, we’re now able to offer an immersive omni-channel experience that truly resonates with our customers. In fact, we owe a huge shout-out to digitization for propelling the industry’s mind-blowing growth in recent years. I’d say this digital cloud has all the silver linings.
We at HDFC Securities, with over two decades of rock-solid experience, have our finger on the pulse of the end-user’s aspirations. We live and breathe innovation, and that’s why we’re the trailblazers shaking up the trading and investment ecosystem in India.
We wasted no time in riding the wave of young investors flocking to the Indian equity markets after the Covid pandemic hit. Over the past three years, we’ve launched epic platforms and features that make the investment journey a breeze for everyone, regardless of their experience or skills. Now, our customers can tap into the slickest tech tools to make smart moves, from Excel-based trading to scoring IPOs with a swipe through UPI. It’s all about giving you an experience that is deceptively simple for how sophisticated it actually is.
How has HDFC Securities been leveraging technology in trading to improve the customer experience and increase efficiency?
We’re using technology to take trading and investing experience to the next level. We’re also dropping some serious value bombs like expert market research, mind-blowing financial education, top-notch advisory and planning, wealth management, and AMC services. It’s all about levelling up your game.
Our tech-driven approach has been the driving force behind the boosted customer engagement. We’re stoked to have spread our influence all across India, even reaching tier 2 and 3 cities.
We welcome our customers to dive into the ultimate trading app, InvestRight packed with features that is sure to pleasantly surprise our clients. One can expect real-time charting action with our cutting-edge tool Chart IQ, including superstar portfolio, hyper personalization, peer comparison analysis and advance smart search.
With our experienced in-house research team, get access to a treasure trove of valuable resources like articles, expert podcasts, bite-sized tips, video tutorials, and explainers that’ll have you feeling like a financial expert. Plug in to our live social media feed for the latest buzz on the Indian financial markets and other snackable financial content.
We’re in the process of launching our fintech platform bringing the best of pricing, experience, journeys and value proposition for our customers.
Can you share some examples of the digital platforms that HDFC Securities has developed for customers and how they have benefited from them?
As discussed earlier, we have launched multiple innovative platforms to help our customers derive greater value from their trading journey. We have also launched 13 digital centres across India to help greater adoption of our digital platforms.
Our innovative mobile app, InvestRight, facilitates faster decision-making, giving access to single-view technical and fundamental analysis, real-time market updates, order execution with a single swipe, direct trading from corporate actions and customisable order entry. It also eases the creation and management of multi-asset portfolios. Users can even choose UPI payments to fund their accounts and start trading in seconds.
We’re in the final stages of introducing our fintech offering built on the key principals of Discovery, Decision Making, Execution, and Tracking of Investment framework.
How has the adoption of technologies such as cloud and AI helped in ensuring seamless internal functioning at HDFC Securities?
We have embraced the power of Cloud and AI to give our clients an edge in a highly competitive market. This allowed us to streamline our operations, cut costs, and scale effortlessly. Safeguarding sensitive data with top-notch security measures was one of our priorities. The focus was on making sure our client’s information is in safe hands against cyber threats and unauthorized access.
Another critical benefit is the actionable, data-driven insights we can garner through AI. This helps us ensure personalisation and excellence in customer service. It also helps us make informed strategic decisions regarding our products and services, based on what our customers need and desire. In fact, AI-powered data analysis gives us insight to predict customer preferences, so that we remain a step ahead of the competition.
What are your views on the future of digital investment solutions and how is HDFC Securities planning to offer them to investors across segments?
The revenue in Indian digital asset segment is expected to touch ₹29,720 million in 2023. The segment is expected to see a CAGR of 11.34% during 2023-2027, leading to the revenue reaching ₹45,680 million by 2027. So, the future of digital investment solutions is certainly bright. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the largest investor population today is aged 18 to 34 years, or millennials and Gen Zers – the digital-native generations.
We are always on the cutting edge, innovating our web and mobile platforms for quick decision making. All our innovations are focused on two things, minimum click interface and drastically reducing the learning curve for customers. The core of our features, like Excel-based, Zapp orders, advanced smart search, superstar portfolio trading, order slicing, screeners, etc., are based on the two principals above.
Our digital centers are also fully equipped to support older investors every step of the way. With personalized hand-holding in understanding the ins and outs of our platforms, the older generation can maximize their gains and take charge of their finances with confidence. We’ve made it easy and comfortable for seniors to embrace the digital world.
How has the pandemic affected the digital transformation of the broking industry and what role has HDFC Securities played in addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the digital transformation of the broking industry in India. As lockdowns and social distancing measures were enforced, the traditional brick-and-mortar model threw new challenges in providing seamless services to clients. This situation accelerated the adoption of digital technologies and online platforms to meet customer demands and maintain business continuity.
The pandemic-induced shift towards digitalization led to a surge in online trading and investments. Investors increasingly turned to digital platforms to manage their portfolios, execute trades, and access real-time market data. Brokerage firms had to swiftly adapt to this change, enhancing their online trading platforms, mobile apps, and customer support services to meet the growing digital demands.
In this context, we, being a bank based broking house, had access to existing digital infrastructure and customer bases. We capitalized on this advantage by providing personalized investment recommendations and advice through our digital channels. We leveraged data analytics to better understand customer preferences, risk appetite, and investment goals, tailoring their services accordingly.
By embracing digitization, we were able to reach a broader audience, including tech-savvy millennials and retail investors, who sought convenience, transparency, and accessibility in their financial dealings. This shift towards digital platforms not only improved customer engagement but also streamlined internal processes, leading to cost efficiencies.
Can you share some success stories or milestones that HDFC Securities has achieved in its digital transformation journey so far?
HDFC Securities was among the pioneers in India to launch a mobile trading app for equity trading in February 2011. We haven’t looked back since then. Each year, we launch new investment/trading products, solutions and services to help our customers make the most of the financial markets. In fact, we are one of the first broking house to have multilingual trading app.
At the beginning of this financial year, we added a new product to our arsenal, InvestRight. It has a wide array of offerings that have made it a highly robust and scalable app built for traders and investors. We are now poised to launch our state-of-the-art fintech platform that will elevate the investing experience to a whole new level of convenience, transparency, and value offering.

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