Investor Issues
How to protect yourself from becoming a victim of mis-selling

Mis-selling is rampant in the financial services industry. While legislation may act as a shield in protecting the interests of investors, an investor can take care of the following aspects to minimize instances of mis-selling

I have come across many cases of mis-selling in the financial services industry but the Mangelal Sharma case came a shocker for me (Will this 79-year old’s protest move the government and the RBI to stop mis-selling by banks?, Mangelal Sharma gets his Rs7 lakh back—another Moneylife victory). This was a case in which even an old man was not spared. Banks and financial institutions claim that customers are king for them but in practice they rarely follow this. Why do we have so many cases of mis-selling of financial products?  Is mis-selling happening because there is dearth of legislations?  The answer to this question is both yes and no. Though there are legislations in place to prevent mis-selling, these legislations hardly help investors. Also investors in many cases are not aware about how to take benefit of existing laws when they have become victim of wrong financial products sold to them.
 

Whatever is the reason, there are instances of mis-selling in which people lose their hard-earned money and repent thereafter. While legislation may act as a shield in protecting interest of investors, is there any alternate way in which an investor can prevent himself/herself from becoming victim of mis-selling? Though there is no magic wand to help an investor, s/he can take care of following aspects to minimize instances of mis-selling:
 

Never buy a product aggressively pitched by agents: It is very obvious that an agent or a representative of financial service provider pitches a product based on the commission or fee that he earns. So it is better not to get carried away by what he suggests. You need to understand your investment requirements and select product based on that. One more important point, even if the agent happens to be a family friend, ask him questions. You cannot leave your investments in other’s hand. Products like life insurance are often mis-sold by agents as investment products. Please remember insurance is a product having potential to cover risks.
 

Never buy a product you do not understand: The golden rule to prevent mis-selling is not to buy a product unless you have understood the product fully. New products keep on hitting the market from time to time. The most recent example was the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS). Many investors bought this product because of the fact that this is a good tax saving option, without realizing the risk factors. In past, there have been many instances when Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) were sold to investors. The main reason of this mis-selling was lack of understanding of products by investors.
 

If you are financially illiterate, there are two options. Acquire necessary skills to understand a product or approach a financial advisor. To me the first option looks better. In India, most of the financial products are plain vanilla products which an ordinary investor can understand. The problem with financial advisors is that most of them offer generic suggestions.
 

Have a check list ready: In order to understand the product, you need to look at facts such as the risk and return aspects of the product. In order to understand product, you can check out some of the details which are as follows:
 

  • Is the return fixed or subject to market risks? Most of time variable return products are mis-sold as a fixed return product. Variable return products suit people who are ready to take risk. Also, remember higher the risk, higher the return is an erroneous statement, higher the risk, higher the expected return is practical.
  • If a particular return is promised, ask for it in writing. It can also be in the draft document. You can also ask for reference of assured return in the draft document. The seller will admit if the financial institution is not offering the same.
  • Is there a lock-in period in the product and what are the exit options? Some exit options are simply impractical like mutual funds available for trading on the stock exchange.
  • Carry out special check for hybrid products which has carry high prospects for mis-selling.
  • Is the product approved by a regulator?
  • Is the capital protected in the investment made by you?
  • What are the charges? Ask for all details.
  • If there is any fancy return in the product, ask for its working. Get it verified.
  • Do not trust projections. If somebody tells you that a mutual fund will provide 20% return in future, you need to investigate. Projection is not a child’s play and experts are proven wrong on this front every other day.
     

Keep greed aside:  Mis-selling is easy if greed overshadows rational thinking. Many people invest their money in unknown financial products without understanding the product at all, as the greed of handsome return simply overwhelms them. So it is important that you never invest in products which give unbelievable returns.
 

Never buy financial products when the deadline approaches:  If you are in hurry, you will have many worries later on. Never buy a financial product when the deadline approaches, especially the tax saving deadline. Think and plan in advance. Even if you have to buy any such product, buy conventional time-tested product such as PPF, NSC, etc.
 

Please note that you can mitigate the instances of mis-selling by becoming more vigilant and careful. Take care to ensure that you never buy what you don’t need. Preventive measures against mis-selling need to be inculcated over a period of time.
 

(Vivek Sharma has worked for 17 years in the stock market, debt market and banking. He is a post graduate in Economics and MBA in Finance. He writes on personal finance and economics and is invited as an expert on personal finance shows.)

User

COMMENTS

Suiketu Shah

4 years ago

In "hot to protect yrself from being a victim of mis-selling",I would add 2 suggestions to all readers of ml:-

1)Desist from ever contacting HDFC Bank for any investment related activities(and drive them off if tehy contact you unsolicited).Their head of equities-western region Parimal Shah(based in head office lower parel)is one of the most corrupt,cheat and frauds you wl find.He makes his staff sell shares to clients totally against what his company recommends(he wl not even give you monthyl recommendation of his bank) at very high prices where he earns illegal commission in cash.His cronies include people from HDFC securities like Naresh Rever and Chetan G Patel in their Kanjur marg office who donot even know how to draft 2 lines of english properly and who are only fit to be courier delivery boys,nothing more.

2)Only read moneylife for sound knowledge on equities and how to grow yr money stres-fre.Ask me I have been doign so for 16 months and am such a happy investor now.

Suiketu Shah

4 years ago

Main job of "wealth management companies" is to convert black into white.If you are one of those who has all white,best is to rely only on moneylife for sound advise,noone else.

Fact of the matetr is the RM's of wealth management companies are also totally black with fake designations liek directors etc where they are not even manager level.Stay far far away from wealth management companies.

Sachin

4 years ago

When agents can sell insurance as Fixed Deposit, anything can happen in India? Moneylife is doing a good job in educating public.

REPLY

Suiketu Shah

In Reply to Sachin 4 years ago

Agree totally.For instance Diwali 2012,I was heavily pressurised by Chetan G Patel of HDFC Sec(who doesnot even know how to talk proper english) to buying Gold mutual funds.I read moneylife's entire report on gold and declined.He kept pressurising me under his boss Parimal Shah's instructions saying it wl give a return of 30% in 1 yr.We are 7 months port-Diwali,gold has dropped more than 15% since then.

Goes to prove that when HDFC Bank can indulge in such heavy duty pressure tactics to attempt to fool clients,one cannot trust anyone except moneylife for correct sound advise.Moneylife's latest article on gold 1 week ago is a masterpiece for any investor/reader/potential investor.

Nilesh KAMERKAR

In Reply to Suiketu Shah 4 years ago

Dear Mr. Suiketu Shah,

Please check this link out. Specially request you also to read the only comment below the article.

http://www.moneylife.in/article/rbi-fina...

Not all advice is bad . . .

Suiketu Shah

In Reply to Nilesh KAMERKAR 4 years ago

Dear Mr Kamerkar

Thanks yr article.Kindly note what I am highlighting is how fraudulent wealth management companies of the reupte of HDFC are almost forcing peoiple to buy at sky high prices.No wonder HDFC Insurance leads the pack (far far ahead) for insurance misselling at 330000 odd complaints last financial yr.The next company was at 21,000-hdfc bank is so so far ahead in fooling clients.

I stick by my statement that paid advise (like hdfc bank parimal shah) doesnot mean its good,its worst that free advice.

Moneylife is the only authentic source for reliable info.

Suiketu Shah

4 years ago

Another tactic of fraud wealth management companies(WMC) is to make customers buy 1 out fo 5 "broker driven shares" which retail investors donot buy and for which they get hugh illegal cashcommission.These fraud WMC wl then say 1/5 mistake is allowed as noone is perfect and such nonsense.

As has been said on moneylife,there are out of 5000 shares on bse,barely 200 which are worth investing in when the prices fall.Rest are not worth studying or examining at all for retail investors.

REPLY

Suiketu Shah

In Reply to Suiketu Shah 4 years ago

another tactic used by wealth management companies for fooling investors into Z grade shares is by mixing "market" calls with their own recommendations esp when investor is short of time.And when the recommended stock falls and one finds its not in the banks buying list,the fraud Rm of wealth management division of bank wl say "its a market call".Every wealth management company does this so they can earn illegal cash commission and their bank makes super commission from the Z grade rapidly falling stock.

rajivahuja

4 years ago

I fully agree with the points mentioned above,

REPLY

Suiketu Shah

In Reply to rajivahuja 4 years ago

Another tactic of fraud wealth management companies is to give a target price of selling of a share with the intent to buy now.They wl not give the time frame for the target to be achieved.For example,what is the point of buying Bharti with a target of Rs 410(Rs 320/- app now) if it takes 2.5 yrs ie app 12% /yr returns.

There are several more promising companies(with much much higher returns) in equities as one casn see from kensource list of medium and long term returns.

sivasankaran

4 years ago

sir,
the article is an eye opener who rush to invest motivated by greed.a good one it will guide people from the clutches of mis selling advisors/agents

Sudheer M

4 years ago

As usual, a very good stuff from you, Vivek.

A few more points based on the experiences from my friends/relatives:

1. Check the sentences properly. An assured return of 18% promised may not be 18% per annum, but 18% one time.
2. Read the form carefully and fill it yourself and don't get the "guidance" from the advisor like "just sign sir".
3. Even if the agent gives you in writing, check whether is issued by agent himself or by the company. (I have seen many cases where fly by night agents come up with their own pamphlets which promise the moon)

And the basic motto, "If you feel that something is unrealistic, it actually is".

Suiketu Shah

4 years ago

Wonderful article.What frauds do these days is make you buy a well-known and reputed company's share but at a very high price.Be very cautious about this ploy as it applies to mutual funds also.

You wl remain locked in thsi share/mutual funds for several yrs and hopefully get yr money back at the end of several yrs.Wealth management companies specialise in this ploy and the excuse they offer is nonsense like "noone can time the market".

Automated Paydays India: Work from home business, is it real or a scam?

The site claims one can earn Rs15,000 a day by just posting links and that it has Yahoo, Google, Bing etc, as its top partners
 

In the past we have seen Speak Asia Online, the multi-level marketing (MLM), company spreading its wings under the pretext of online surveys. In the same way another online company—Automated Paydays India (http://india.automated-paydays.com) claims one can earn Rs15,000 per day by just posting website links. On visiting the site the company claims to be advertised on Sun TV, CNN-IBN, Times Now etc. The company also mentions that it has partnered with Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. It mentions that over 3,000 people all over India have joined. There is an American version of the site as well. The claim is that one can make money by posting links from home.
 

There have been many complaints online that apart from the joining fee it tries to sell different products which are supposed to ‘enhance’ your “work from home” business. One should not fall for its refund guarantee. There have been several instances as well where people have filed for refunds but have not yet received it.
 

After entering a few details to check if you are eligible, you are taken to another page which is a “Special Report” by one of its top home consultants. Here is what the page mentions on how one can make money,
 

“Put it this way: To post one link takes between 3 to 4 minutes. To be conservative, let's say it takes 4 minutes. Well, if you post one link every 4 minutes, and you do that for 60 minutes, that amounts to 15 links in just 60 minutes. And the average amount you make per link posted is Rs1,500.*
 

Let's do the math: 15 links for Rs.1,500 each equals Rs22,500. That's you earning Rs22,500 for 60 minutes of work! If you do this five days a week, you can make Rs1,12,500 a week... Rs4.5 lakh a month... and Rs58.5 lakh a year!* And that's just 1 hour a day, I do at least 3 hours per day Monday to Friday keeping the weekends to myself."
 

Towards the end of the “Special Report” it puts an earnings disclaimer mentioning that, “Even though this industry is one of the few where one can create their own earnings, there is no guarantee that you will earn any money using the techniques and ideas in these materials”
 

One can enroll by paying $19.97 (supposed to be a special discounted rate from $90). The payment goes to a company—ClickSure, which is based in Mauritius. Where is Automated Paydays based? Well, we are not really sure but in their terms and conditions document they mention that correspondence can be made to iNet Cubed in the United Kingdom.
 

The website has been running since October last year. Nearly 40% of the visitors to the site are from India.

User

COMMENTS

Parikshit Bhagat

2 years ago

Without pay anything from your pocket.
Just spend 15-20 minutes on Internet, just like surfing Facebook, Yutube, Gmail e.t.c. Every body can do it through Mobile, Laptop, PC. Easy & simple Task. no huge typing work no Copy Paste Jobs.
All videos available for how to joined, how to work e.t.c.
you can easily earned 3$ daily with spend only 15 minutes on Internet.

Click or Copy past link on address bar to Joined :
in document put your correct ID no like adhar, voter, pan card
Any problem pls ask : [email protected]
*please joined only through this link because it will help you also in future

Alok Sharma

2 years ago

I have no money because I have lost 4 lakhs in Speak Asia and I am in debt. I want to get rid of my debts, so if possible for you please help me, you may come to my home to see truth, I am not god who can prove my problems. I have 2 daughters and I am feeling to much upset I cannot describe in words.

JUNAID SIDDIQUI

2 years ago

how can do pls give me some information in my email
[email protected]

dharmendra kumar

2 years ago

how can do pls give me some information in my email
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pavan

3 years ago

CAN YOU EXPLAIN BRIEFLY??

pavan

3 years ago

CAN EXPLAIN BRIEFLY???I DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS..

pavan

3 years ago

CAN EXPLAIN BRIEFLY???I DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS..

Krishna

3 years ago

Lucrative and zero investment projects coming up by October (2013) 3rd week. Calling all Indian Freelancers to join the opportunity. Enroll for Free on http://a4m.in/ (All 4 Money).

REPLY

pavan

In Reply to Krishna 3 years ago

CAN EXPLAIN BRIEFLY??COZZ I DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS..,,

Ashish Tripathi

3 years ago

can u tell me how u do it?i mean the whole detail?

S BHASKARA NARAYANA

4 years ago

Thanks a lot to the moneylife team. Exactly, when I am being tempted to join the automated paydays job work, ur feature opened my eyes.

REPLY

pavan

In Reply to S BHASKARA NARAYANA 3 years ago

can explain this i dont know anythiing about this

MANTU LAL MANDAL

4 years ago

my name mantu lal mandal. my con:09932819147. we invest (7 parson) 77000.00 rupees . how we return our money. plece contact my mobile 09932819147.

jaykayess

4 years ago

On the internet, the general rule to follow is: "If it's too good to be true, it's a scam."

Think of it this way: If you met someone face-to-face who offered you exactly the same business proposal, and didn't give you any phone number or contact address, would you hand over $20 to him?

Ashesh Shah

4 years ago

Can someone do a feature on why news channels like TimesNow and NDTV allow advertising by such spurious entities ?

They are equally guilty in lending credence to these companies claims, by associating their goodwill to these companies.

Vinay

4 years ago

If something's too good to be true, it probably is.

Until people learn this, schemes like these will keep flourishing.

MOSt Shares CNX 100 Equal Weight ETF: First equal weighted index ETF, what should you expect?

When launched, this would probably be the first equal weighted index ETF in India. Should you invest?

Motilal Oswal Mutual Fund plans to launch an open-ended index exchange traded fund (ETF)—MOSt Shares CNX 100 Equal Weight ETF (MOSt Shares C100). The scheme would invest in the securities constituting the CNX 100 Equal Weighted Index which would be an index owned and operated by India Index Services & Products (IISL). The index comprises the same constituents as CNX 100 Index (free float market capitalization based index), but for the CNX 100 Equal Weighted Index, each index constituent is allocated fixed equal weight of 1% at each re-balancing. The weights are re-adjusted to 1% on a quarterly basis as well as at the time of index constituent replacements. Motilal Oswal MF in the past has launched an open-ended fundamentally weighted ETF Index—Motilal Oswal MOSt Shares M50 ETF (MOSt Shares M50). This scheme was launched in July 2010 and has a corpus of around Rs75 crore. In terms of performance this scheme has disappointed. For the one-year and two-year period ending 29 April 2013, the scheme returned 10.73% and -2% respectively. The CNX Nifty returned 13.34% and 1.33% respectively in the same period. Investors would now have a new option. Would an equal-weighted index be a better option to a market-cap based index?
 

Stock indices typically weigh holdings by free-float market capitalization—or in other words the total value of a company’s shares outstanding. Thus, the biggest stocks command the highest weightage and sway returns. Earlier we have seen how heavy-weight stocks skew the returns of an index (Read: Why Sensex is not the barometer of the Indian economy). And just recently we saw how Infosys results dragged down the Sensex.
 

Although both indexes are comprised of the same stocks, the different weighting schemes result in two indices with different properties. In market-cap weighted indices investors get a larger stake in mega-cap companies and smaller positions in stocks that have a significantly lower market-cap. Take for example the CNX 100 index, the top 10 companies by market-cap command nearly 50% of the total weightage of the index. And this includes big names like ITC, HDFC, ICICI Bank and Reliance Industries. At the other end, the bottom 10 companies command a total weightage of just 1.55% in the index. Some of the companies here include Mphasis, Ashok Leyland, IDBI Bank, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and Petronet LNG. Though one might end up having a low allocation to under-valued stocks, we would also need to see how have such indices performed in the past?
 

In January 2003, the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index (EWI) was created—an equal weight version of the popular S&P 500 Index. The charts below compare the returns of the two indices over a five-year and 10-year period. The returns of the $4 billion exchange-traded Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF is said to have outperformed the market-cap weighted S&P 500 index by a percentage point or so over the past three years.
 

In a research on equal weight indexing by Standard and Poor’s, they mention that historically, the S&P Equal Weight Indices have outperformed their market cap weighted equivalents in the long-run. The level of performance has also varied considerably under different market conditions. Equal weighting demonstrates long term outperformance internationally as well.
 

However, many investors are cautious about investing in equal-weighted indices as even though the exposure to mega-caps is reduced, at the same time you are dramatically increasing your exposure to small and midcap stocks, which tend to be more volatile. Over the past ten years, the S&P 500 EWI has shown a higher volatility as compared to the S&P 500. The volatility of the S&P 500 EWI has remained between 4.6% and 5.2%, higher than that of the S&P 500 since April 2009, according to the research paper.
 

Equal weighted indices have higher market capitalization turnover than their parent indices due to the rebalancing of the indices on a quarterly basis to equal weights. The research paper mentions that, “During the period of the five years ending in 2009, the average annual turnover for the S&P 500 EWI has been over eight times that of the S&P 500 (28.1% and 2.8% respectively). However, the S&P 500 has a very low turnover relative to most indices.” This could be an issue with the fund company, the investor need not worry about this as total expenses for ETFs are capped at 1.50% and can go up to 2% if the scheme is able to meet the criteria for additional expenses.

 

 

User

COMMENTS

R Balakrishnan

4 years ago

For an OTC market like India, 100 stocks is simply too much. At best,the universe should be restricted to 20 or 30 stocks, for passive investing. When there are 100 stocks, the heavyweights tend to influence the index in a big way.
An equal weighted sensex 30 would do better than a basket of 100. Our market depth and breadth (or lack of both) are more like an OTC market.
For India, equal weighted 100 will lag the mcap weighted one for many years to come

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