Mumbai — After a decade working as a trader and a broker in India, Nithin Kamath was burnt out and frustrated with a securities industry that seemed stuck in the past. So in 2009, Kamath did something radical. With markets still reeling from the global financial crisis, he struck out on his own to start an online brokerage from a 200m² office in Bengaluru. At the time, people called him crazy. Not anymore. Thanks to a slick, mobile-friendly platform and rock-bottom commissions (some equity trades are free), his brokerage, Zerodha, has become a hit in a country with the world’s largest millennial and Generation Z populations. The firm’s rapid rise has not only made Kamath rich, it’s spurring the industry’s old guard to rethink its approach and turning Zerodha into a case study for how financial companies can lure young customers in fast-growing emerging markets. Kamath, 39, attributes Zerodha’s success to the Google-like simplicity of its platform and the firm’s ability to undercut c...

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