IAS and Algo Trading: How Parrag made both possible!

8 min read

Can you take out time to learn Algorithmic Trading besides your professional and personal life?
What if you are an IAS Officer? Would it be possible then?
Parrag has made this possible!

An IAS Officer with the Civil Services of the Govt. of India, Parrag Jaiin Nainutia has over 25+ years of experience across 11 different roles handling Textiles, Tourism, Maritime, Marine, Transport industries and so much more!

Parrag has led over 15,000+ employees over his career, handled funds of USD 600 million for a high-profile company, and even turned a loss-making entity highly profitable.

Pursuing his passion for the markets, he pursued the Executive Programme in Algorithmic Trading (EPAT), achieved his Certificate of Excellence and is now a proud EPAT alumnus, joining a global network of quant professionals. But, it wasn’t always this easy.

What follows is his journey over the years, the challenges, his thoughts and his experiences over the years. Keep reading to learn more! This is the journey of Parrag Jaiin Nainutia.

You can check out the complete recording here:

Hi Parrag, tell us about yourself!

I am Parrag Jaiin Nainutia, from Uttar Pradesh, India. I am an Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer, batch 1996. At present, I am the Principal Secretary of Transport, Ports & Information Technology in Maharashtra.

I am an Electrical Engineer from IIT Delhi; got my Diploma in Export Management from the Indian Institute of Export Management (IIEIM), Bangalore and an LLB in Finance from ICFAI. I have completed the EPAT certification in Algorithmic Trading and am also pursuing CFA.

I enjoy sports such as tennis, badminton, table tennis and swimming. I practice yoga every day without missing, following the footsteps of the Honourable Prime Minister of India.

Since I am an early riser, I make sure to take some time out to read magazines that talk about investments and financial markets every day.

IAS is extremely competitive. What inspired you?

The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the premier Central Civil Service of India. It is the administrative arm of the All India Services of the Government of India along with the Indian Police Service and the Indian Forest Service.

And I am an Electrical Engineer from IIT, Delhi. But, I think destiny had different plans for me. My family’s motivation and support helped me pursue this path. They have been my biggest inspiration.

I started my preparation for all the examinations. First, I got selected for the Indian Navy service, Income Tax, and then Indian Administrative Service IAS. I started my career as SDM (Subdivisional District Magistrate), in Aurangabad, where IAS officers start their journey.

What is the day of an IAS officer like?

A day as an IAS officer is filled with opportunities, challenges, and exposure to another level. The kind of exposure and experience you get at a very tender age is amazing. You need to have a sense of responsibility to take decisions in hard times that can affect a lot of people.

I was about 23 when I joined the service. The best part of this service is that you get to learn throughout the journey and the exposure is remarkable.

My day ends with reading a couple of books. I do this without fail every night. I sleep late, make sure that I get adequate sleep, and wake up early, and that’s how it all goes.

Engineering, IAS, and now CFA - could you share your journey?

After completing Electrical Engineering from the IIT, Delhi in 1993, I was selected by two of the most reputed companies in India in the campus interview - Schlumberger, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Pune.

Pursuing that I also followed my interest in investments and learning about the markets, since 2007. A few of my friends were into active trading and investments and that was also inspiring. Subsequently, with that thought process, I began researching where to learn all these.

LLB with a specialization in Finance from ICFAI was suggested to me. So I enrolled myself there. However, since ICFAI is India-specific, later I enrolled myself in Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

After becoming the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of MAHATRANSCO, by using my prior knowledge of Electrical Engineering, I was also able to contribute greatly by increasing the output of the organization by about 60%.

Apart from that, I've been looking at law & order as District Magistrate, I’ve been the CEO of Zilla Parishad, and MD of various corporations. I've been to, the Maritime sector, Tourism sector, Social Welfare, and Rural Development. I was Municipal Commissioner. And now I’m into Transport, Ports & Information Technology.

I have handled funds to the extent of $600m. I have led a team of 15000+ people. I have turned a loss into a $ 1.2 m profit for a $ 40 m Corporation. I can streamline processes, reduce costs, and right-size organizations.

I'm also the chairman of the IIT Bombay Alumni Association (IITBAA). Over all these years, it has been an amazing journey overall, for me.

Did the world of Finance and Trading always interest you?

My interest in finance developed back in 2004 when I started trading and investing with some of my friends. After gaining some knowledge, I started learning about investment, trading techniques, and studying market patterns.

I majorly trade equities and mutual funds, but I have been trying my hand at commodities as well. Since I have done EPAT, I am also thinking of trading other asset classes.

I'm also on the Committee of the ‘Innovative Society’ of the Government of Maharashtra, which conducts competitions among start-ups, who are dealing in education, health, agriculture, and finance. And during that period, my colleague from IITD introduced me to the concept of high-frequency trading and algorithmic trading.

During my days, we used to code in Pascal and C++. I found it to be very amusing how a machine can learn and perform intelligent tasks through some codes and commands. So when I learned that, algorithmic trading includes coding python, it was intriguing.

Some time passed and one of my colleagues shared an email about an algorithmic trading programme. And that's how I came across EPAT by QuantInsti. I did my research about it.

I found that the syllabus covered by EPAT was absolutely fantastic. It covered everything right from the beginning. And it tells you how to scale yourself with all this. And I just went for it.

What has your experience learning Algo Trading been like?

I must congratulate you, QuantInsti. EPAT has one of the best concise and comprehensive courses I have ever found. I think to my expectations, you have delivered more than 100%.

Your handholding is fantastic, also my support manager named Mr Niraj has guided me thoroughly and pushed me if I’m falling behind schedule. He was always available whenever required.

Another fantastic feature is that even after completing EPAT, there is so much material available. It's just that I requested to see your trading platforms, so Niraj came forward again to impart that knowledge. I think this course is commendable and I hope that you will continue the same trend.

In pursuing Algorithmic Trading, one must have a very basic understanding of this, a bit of knowledge, of coding and statistics, and a sense of programming languages. My educational background in Engineering, Statistics, and recently, CFA, came in pretty handy.

Initially, Python was a bit challenging, because I left coding long back. So, I was a little afraid. But in fact, there was a special session conducted for me, for learning Python. Many of the codes are already provided to students. This helped me to overcome my fear of programming.

The backtesting platform 'Blueshift' is fantastic. The whole faculty, website, portal, progress chart to check your status, the extra material - it is all really good. Somebody's always available on the phone, always ready to help.

To my surprise, whenever I log in to the portal, there is updated information, lectures and study material on ALL of those modules! The information on the modules and features will keep on updating and I would be able to access the course content for a lifetime, which is amazing.

I had a fantastic journey while doing the EPAT course.

What are your thoughts on the growth of Finance and Trading in India?

Our economy is blooming very rapidly. From a 3 trillion economy we are going to become a 5 trillion economy, within 5 years. Compared to other countries, specially developed and developing countries, our GDP is fantastic.

Indians are fantastic at numbers. We are multi-tasking people, and we are not far away from claiming the world's top spot. It's high time we had more Warren Buffets from India.

Furthermore, we have a GIFT city in Gujarat, then there are courses like EPAT and nowadays, people are actively participating in financial markets, contributing to the economy and the tech industry. The reason being these sources can be easily accessed online.

Over the past 4-5 years, we have enrolled more than 10 crore people willing to participate in equity and mutual fund investments through different websites.

After working for 15 to 20 years in some of the most reputed International Banks like JP Morgan, Standard Chartered, Citibank, etc., many of my IIT Batchmates are now starting their startups.

I believe India will very soon be joining the 5 Trillion Club. We are living in amazing times, and it is a pleasure to see how quickly our economy is growing.

What comes next for you?

To learn more about the markets, I plan to curate the knowledge I've gained through EPAT and other platforms. I see myself doing a lot of active investment trading in 10-12 years. Hedge funds also have a strong influence on me. I desire to one day establish and operate my hedge fund.

I am writing some of the courses myself - it’s in the testing phase now. I have started going on Tradingview and implementing and practising what I have learnt through EPAT. I would like to do backtesting myself and I think that it would be very interesting to use the Blueshift platform.

What is the secret to your success?

Focus, clarity, dedication and hard work is the mantra I follow. There is no other substitute for achieve long-term success.

You must have clarity in your actions because you cannot cover everything under the sun. As far as a personal trait is concerned, transparency and honesty are the two important things in the long run. So if you possess or develop these traits, your journey will be more successful and fun.

What is your message to those who wish to grow in their profession and Algorithmic Trading?

There are numerous sources and materials to choose from. However, I would strongly suggest joining EPAT. It is one of the most fantastic courses I’ve come across for algorithmic trading.

With algorithmic trading, I have become a more innovative thinker, leading to the development of business ventures that have become profitable. Keep at it, never give up, and believe in yourself and you will achieve what you desire!

Thank you so much for taking out your valuable time and sharing your personal story with us, which we’re sure would be incredibly helpful to all our readers. You are truly an INSPIRATION and a living testament to the unimaginable goals one can achieve.

It was a pleasure talking with you about so many things, and we appreciate your honesty and candidness so much. We wish you all the very best for your future and hope to keep assisting you in your learning objectives in this domain.

Like Parrag, you too can equip yourself with lifelong skills which will always enable you in upgrading your trading strategies, this algo trading course is just what you need. With topics such as Statistics & Econometrics, Financial Computing & Technology, and Machine Learning, it ensures that you are proficient in every skill required to excel in the field of trading. Check out EPAT now!

Disclaimer: In order to assist individuals who are considering pursuing a career in algorithmic and quantitative trading, this success story has been collated based on the personal experiences of a student or alumni from QuantInsti’s EPAT programme. Success stories are for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to be used for investment purposes. The results achieved post completion of the EPAT programme may not be uniform for all individuals.

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