Activists approach RBI against HSBC on black money, hawala allegations

Two activists from Lucknow have urged the RBI governor to enquire into the allegations and cancel the licence of HSBC, if found true


Lucknow-based activists Amitabh Thakur and Dr Nutan Thakur have approached the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with regard to allegations of facilitating deposit of black money in Switzerland and hawala transactions by Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC).


The activists said that they wrote to RBI governor D Subbarao after HSBC denied all the allegations in reply to their earlier complaint to the central bank.


“... HSBC takes compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously. With a new senior global leadership team and a new strategy in place since last year, HSBC continues to take concrete steps to strengthen compliance, risk management and culture," the activists quoted HSBC India having said in its reply to their complaint to RBI. (See reply from HSBC below)


They said that HSBC India’s reply came after the RBI asked it to look into the complaint, but they have again written to RBI as the core issues raised by them have remained unanswered.


In the letter, the activists said that “...the allegation that HSBC, Dubai and Geneva do not have a license from the RBI to conduct banking operations in India and their operations in India are completely illegal has not been given any consideration, nor has it been explained by HSBC in its response on 20 December 2012.”


The complaint referred to allegations by Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan, wherein HSBC was accused of facilitating deposit of black money in Swiss banks.


Earlier, the RBI asked Amitabh Thakur, an officer from the Indian Police Service (IPS) and social activist Dr Nutan Thakur to approach the Banking Ombudsman (BO) in Kanpur, if they were not satisfied with the response from HSBC.


However, both the activists said they found it inappropriate to approach the BO since the issue was related with black money and hawala transactions and their complaint did not fall under the jurisdiction of the BO. “...the complaints are not related to 'the deficiencies in banking or other services’ not do they come among any of the grounds mentioned in Clause 8 of the Ombudsman Scheme 2006,” both the Thakurs mentioned in their letter.


The two activists had urged the RBI governor to enquire into the allegations and cancel the licence of HSBC, if found true.


Here is the reply from HSBC to the Thakurs...



Would the new scheme from PPFAS be able to attract investors?

One of the newest fund houses in the industry—Parag Parikh Financial Advisory Services—plans to launch its first equity scheme. Parag Parikh is a well-known value investor. But the scheme may find it difficult to garner investors given the current mood of retail investors

At a time when investors are constantly withdrawing their equity investments and fund houses are finding it hard to sustain their business, Parag Parikh Financial Advisory Services (PPFAS) has taken a brave step to enter the industry. Recently the fund house filed an offer document with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to launch an open ended equity scheme—PPFAS Long Term Value Fund. The scheme would invest over 65% of its portfolio in equities an the remaining part of the portfolio would be invested in debt securities, foreign securities, money market instruments and cash.

Apart from this, the scheme information document does not specify what category of stocks it would be investing. Whether the portfolio will be heavy weighted to large-cap stocks or small-and mid-cap stocks is not clear. Hence, the fund house has selected three different indices to benchmark its performance. The performance of the scheme would be benchmarked the S&P CNX 500, Nifty and Sensex. As the scheme does not have a fixed strategy, it is difficult to judge the risk of the portfolio. Therefore, the fund house mentions that the scheme is suitable for investors with a long investment horizon of above five years.

The scheme would be managed by two fund managers. Rajeev Thakkar, chief executive officer and fund manager, who has been with the company for over 10 years. He was managing the PMS Service of PPFAS earlier, handling a portfolio of around Rs350 crore. The other fund manger Raunak Onkar, will be managing the overseas investment. He has just three years of experience in the capital market.

The scheme would invest more like a multi-cap scheme. There are nearly 92 such schemes which invest in a diverse portfolio of stocks. Many of these schemes have performed well in the past. Investors have a wide choice of schemes, that too with an existing track record. Therefore, it would be interesting to see how the new scheme from PPFAS would be positioned to attract investors. The company may be looking to transfer some of its existing PMS investors to mutual funds. However, getting other investors put their money in the scheme would be an uphill task.

Should one invest? Firstly, there is no fixed strategy and being a dynamic portfolio it would be difficult to judge the risk and returns of the scheme at this stage. Secondly, there is no publicly verifiable record of fund management skills of the team. Thirdly, as far as costs go, even though there maybe no entry load or exit load, the expense ratio of the scheme can go up to a maximum of 2.70%. There are many other schemes available which have a consistent track record and a lower expense ratio. Unfortunately, retail investors are not even buying those.




3 years ago

Surely the author is pointing towards quantum funds .They have least expense ratios.


4 years ago

Can you please mention about the funds you referred to in the last line?


4 years ago

<> Kindly name them for everyone's benefit. Also, I would be their investor. Such a fund is a dream come true for many who follows value investing principles. What is important for me is the strategy but not the past results data. No proofs are needed for Ben Graham's Value Investing Principles. I have complete faith not on the fund managers but the man behind them i.e. Parag Parikh!

Maharashtra says drink but don’t dance throughout the night on 31st December!

Maharashtra government would not allow loudspeakers beyond the stipulated deadline of 10pm, but had  allowed to serve alcohol till the break of the dawn

Mumbai: As Maharashtra police tried to play spoilsport, the state government has given a go ahead to allow serving of alcohol through the night on 31st December and 1st January, reports PTI.


"Though the police recommended to the government that liquor should not be served till 5am the government decided to give the permission. But we have all the right to stop the party if we anticipate trouble", Mumbai Police Commissioner Satya Pal Singh said.


The police chief said loudspeakers will not be allowed beyond the stipulated deadline of 10pm, but it will allow to serve alcohol till the break of the dawn.


"I appeal to the members of the public that they enjoy the New Year within limit of law and respect the dignity of women", he said.


Singh said security would be stepped up on roads on the New Year's eve to prevent any untoward incident.


"The number of police force working this year would be more than that of last year", Singh added.


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