Investor Issues
ICICIdirect customers exploring options to take action against the brokerage for site crash

Thousands of clients of ICICIdirect were left in the lurch on Thursday, as its trading site was nonoperational for more than 24 hours. Many customers are venting their anger through comments on Moneylife.in and other forums

The unavailability of ICICIdirect's trading portal during trading hours on Thursday has left many of its customers feeling let down and some of them are even looking at ways to initiate proceedings against the brokerage.

Several hapless customers have been venting their frustration on various forums on the Internet. One of the comments on our previous article reads, "They should pay a fine or forego their fees for the year when the site crashes for the whole day. Site not working for a short period is understandable, but a system where people are likely to have lost crores of rupees has to be accountable. How I wish I could sue them like in countries like the US."

A reader in his comment on moneycontrol.com has asked whether there is any way the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) can interfere, or if the Company Law Board can take some action. "How can the losses of the members of ICICIdirect services be compensated? Can we move the consumer court for a remedy?" the reader asked.

However, customers using online trading accounts cannot initiate legal proceedings against their brokerage for website malfunction. While opening an online trading account, customers sign an agreement, which clearly says that the brokerage cannot, and does not guarantee continuous, uninterrupted or secure access to the Internet, the website or linked site(s).

This is what the disclaimer on ICICIdirect.com says, "ICICI Securities Ltd (ISEC) along with its directors, employees, associates or other representatives and its Affiliates along with its directors, employees, associates or other representatives shall not be liable for damages or injury arising out of or in connection with the use of the www.icicidirect.com (Website) or its non-use including non-availability, compensatory, direct, indirect or consequential damages, loss of data, income or profit, loss of or damage to property, including without limitation loss of profits, loss or corruption of data, loss of goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or interruption of business; under any contract, negligence, strict liability or other theory arising out of or relating in any way to the Website, site-related services, or any products or services and claims of third parties damages or injury caused by any performance, failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, computer virus, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorised access to, alteration of, or use of information, whether resulting, in whole or in part, from or relating to any of the services offered or displayed by ISEC on the Website."

On Thursday, Moneylife had revealed how the trading system as well as the phone-order service of ICICIdirect broke down yesterday, leaving numerous customers totally hapless. ICICIdirect is one of the largest trading portals in the country and its inability to set right the technical snags in its system is indeed appalling.

"Considering the number of account-holders on ICICIdirect and the position that ICICIdirect holds in the online trading business, this episode and the inadequate response of the company to it, reflects gross negligence on their part. I urge the authorities (SEBI and other regulatory bodies) to kindly investigate this failure and work out a mechanism by which the service provider is held accountable in instances of such failure to provide the services promised," read one comment on moneycontrol.com.

Usually, all the sites, especially those which deal directly with customers, have sufficient resources to fall back upon in case there is a technical problem. However, in the case of ICICIdirect's technical glitch, it appears that there was no backup available to handle such situations.

Despite our repeated attempts to know the exact reasons for the site crash, ICICIdirect and ICICI Securities were unable to provide any answer. This is what the spokesperson from both these entities has said: "We have resolved the technical glitch that we had faced yesterday. ICICIdirect.com is now completely functional and all our customers have been able to trade seamlessly on the site." There is neither any word on the brokerage's plan of action to avoid such situations in the future nor about any compensation to its customers who may have suffered losses.

According to Kirti Desai, a chartered accountant, this is not the first time a site of a brokerage has crashed. "The question is when SEBI does not allow any broker to stop trading, then how come such things happen time and again? I think there should be more transparency in the manner online sites of brokers operate," Mr Desai said.

With the advancement in technology - in terms of connectivity and infrastructure - online trading has reached a new high, where even delay of a second in placing an order can have significant financial impact. This exactly is the reason why more and more traders are opting for broadband or dedicated leased lines and trading terminals. However, since common investors are dependent on their broker's terminal or portal, they have no other option but to bear with the broker.

In addition, when the online trading portal of a reputed broker crashes then it may lead to irreparable damage for both the brokerage as well as its customers.

In his comment on moneycontrol.com, one reader even accuses the brokerage. The reader said: "My experience with ICICIdirect is whenever there is (a) big movement in (the) market, ICICI's site goes down due to reasons best known to them. There is nothing like 'technical error'. You can assume what is a big movement in markets on either side is beyond the control of ICICIdirect so they just hang up their system to prevent damage to their personal interests."

Echoing a similar feeling, one reader said, "I think SEBI should pitch in here. The quality of the website has been inconsistent. Some insiders say that ICICIdirect slows down when you need it the most. Not sure how true this is, but of late I have experienced trouble in modifying allocation on several occasions. The helpdesk is a paid-phone service that keeps (the) customer on wait for at least 5 minutes. To summarise, it is so unhelpful that one would rather keep to oneself than go to them."
 

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COMMENTS

raju

4 years ago

Today my stocks are missing and not reflected in demat account , relationship manager does not know anything, icici technical says wait for few days,,are these guys serious , they do not seem to care about the money we put in.....trading in icici direct is very risky.

VAR

6 years ago

ICICI is well known for hiding behind disclaimers and fine print terms & conditions. Also, the quality of people employed therein really astonishes you for their amazing lack of courtesy, communication skills, basic knowledge of banking and financial services. God save Axis Bank which has taken Shikha Sharma of ICICI as its MD. One has to go through the pain and just switch loyalty to others such as HDFC securities, Kotak or Angel Broking, which are quite decent.

Alok Bhola

6 years ago

As it quite often happens, smaller problems start surfacing before bigger ones once the management of an entity turns for the worse. I faced following issues with ICICI Direct a few weeks back:

1. The system treated one of my stop loss orders as a normal margin order, resulting in a trade I did not want;

2. The net payable / receivable figure in quite a few of their contract notes was slightly different from the actual amount debited / credited from my bank account (even though the differences were minor like Rs 10 or so but this shows there was something wrong with their system).

When I called their customer service, to my utter shock, the customer service executive did not even know the following basic things about ICICI Direct trading:

1. That stop loss orders can be placed for buy orders as well. He said that stop loss orders can only be placed for sell orders.

2. He did not know the basic fact that the price shown on the Trade Book is merely the weighted average price and not the actual execution price;

3. Another executive did not even know that STT is included in Contract Notes. He said the Contract Notes merely included the transaction amount and brokerage.

As was expected, after pursuing the matter with them for about 10 minutes on each occasion, I had to give up as they lacked even the basic knowledge of how a trade is executed.

As regards their escalation process, the less said the better.

zbra

6 years ago

http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC100707-0000093/Disruptions-to-ATMs-caused-by-systems-outage--IBM

That is how Singapore reacted to CEO of a Bank for failure of ATMs.

If you expect good quality, you will get it if you speak up. If you don't speak up, then you get the same stuff recycled.

VICTIM

6 years ago

Folks!

Pls join the protest - lodge a complaint at http://core.nic.in - national consumer redressal forum

REPLY

Roopsingh

In Reply to VICTIM 6 years ago

Friend-markets have moved drastically whenevr there was some Harshad Mehta or Ketan parekh or some white guy(FII)-it has never moved due to fundamentals-
dividend paying cos never move up-but penny stocks move up within few days of trading and fall again in few hrs-
this is what stock market is-and victims are only retail investors-all analysts are sold out to operators-they are paid to misguide the retail investors-so better not to gamble in this casino-but put bigger part of savings in safe instruments-dont bother even if it does not give any return-but capital protection is must-

Roopsingh

In Reply to Roopsingh 6 years ago

I have closed my 5 paisa account and i have no plans to open any new trading account-may be i will prefer to save in any bank or in any MF balanced fund in future-

JM

6 years ago

It is STILL not on at 5pm Saturday!!

Shocking for a large company. And it will be a shame if the regulators let this pass unpunished.
If SEBI does nothing, then the government is not serious about progress!
Accountability is something only THEY can enforce !

Ravindra

6 years ago

Indiainfoline/5paisa.com is no better than icicdirect. They are two faces of the same coin. I sold my stocks on Moday and till date they have not credited money but they charge heftily even if there is a delay of one day credit. SEBI should ban these two brokerage firms.

VICTIM

6 years ago

Folks! Why crib?

Just dump these goons and turn to other excellent brokers out there in the market!

I'm closing mine and switching over to 5paisa

Chandramohan

6 years ago

I fully support the view that ICICIDirect shall be held responsible for the loss to the clients. Hiding behind "non-liability" clauses is just being cowardly on the part of ICICI. Do they write off any fines incase of clients who cannot due some "technical hitches" experienced by the individaul?

But nothing will be done by SEBI or others as the ICICI is a behemoth in Indian trading industry. All are afraid of the arrogant giant.

Dam

6 years ago

Please note that I am a user for ICICIdirect.com along with a couple of colleagues of mine & accept that the site slows down sometimes...however, no brokerage site will offer you the ease of transferring monies in/out of trading account in rewal time & most brokers will ask you to submit cheques..Its high time that we customers should turn around at look at what we pay for & what do we in return ask for..If any one wants to sue ICICIdirect just like customers can in the US, then please go ahead & first pay the charges that US customers pay for each trade in any of the brokearges over there...

Shaukat Ansari

6 years ago

Even today, Saturday the 10th of July, 2010, the website of ICICIdirect.com says: "Site will be available from 11:30(IST) on July 10,2010. We regret any inconvenience cauesd." What is going on? Can any one pen down what exactly is wrong with the website?

madhavraj shende

6 years ago

Yes ICICI trains its all employees to only make profit and profit only for it and then the same story is repeated like the WALL STREET greedy beggars dressed in tie and suits taht even if they get 50% s of that cos profits as bonuses and still collapse they will never b happy..... ALL greats borrwed all the ideas from the WEST and pumped it here with the psychlogy of the indian public.....
Note shri kamat how he faltered to speak tomedia in oct 2008 when all was lost and loosing ground like anything.... only then he realised some mistakes of his own....never damitted will admit even when it repesated thrice... POOR fellow he thought govt will back him upin finding that remote south trader / broke who sent those ICICI SMSs.. you ask any body they will tell how this INTL instte of india loots.....
Paap nahin jaalim ppaap dhoya nahin jjaata pachhtana padta hai...//
Note their all overdoings in BJPgovt regime looting killing all emotions atrocities by goondas etc of al
indians willl never ever spare them
..... yes true if its aloss t them all such brokers etc they do the same trick what can SEBI and govt ever do at all>>>>>////
mms

DAWINDER SINGH SETHI

6 years ago

Recently, I came to Canada to be with my children. Yesterday, I was completely stuck up & failed to process my Orders for Buy/Sell on account of the failure of ICICIDIRECT.COM for more than 24 hrs. On numerous occasions, there have been temporary failures but this was too much. In the process, I have suffered losses.

Roopsingh

6 years ago

stocks sold on monday should be ideally credited on wednesday-but till friday evening infoline did not pay the cheque-when called up-they replied-staff will be available on monday-so i will loose a whole week waiting for payment-
do they wait for us to pay late this much-
no-
they charge us for every day of delay-just because we are fully under their conditional norms-

REPLY

Ravindra

In Reply to Roopsingh 6 years ago

Yeah, me too. I sold stocks on Monday and they still have not credited my money. Looks like they play with our money in stock market. SEBI should look into this matter as soon as possible.

Roopsingh

In Reply to Ravindra 6 years ago

while closing my account-the RM tried very much to convince me not to close and remain continue-
but i told him just one sentence-
if we get along with good people we are always happy-but if we stay with wicked people we can never be happy and we are always at loss-i told him-my decision has come too late-if i had quit them earlier i could have saved lot of money which i lost due to their company-
friend i have closed the account and i am going to put my future money in any bank weather i get zero return that does not matter-but i dont want to risk anymore in such operator based market where retail investors are squeezed fully-

Roopsingh

6 years ago

India infoline and ICICI are all in same category-infoline sold my entire debit at the lowest rate making me loss of Rs 30000 in 3 days of span-though the debit was through funding at the rate of 1.5% monthly(earlier they used to charge 2% monthly)-
due to their wickedness i sold out entire portfolio on monday- and gave a application for account closure on same day-but still i have been not paid a single rupee-it clearly means they are eating up interest earned on my credits-
while they used to charge interst for every day of debit-
its a pity that investors have to rely on mercy of brokers-because they have surrendered to all conditions laid while filling up the form-so its better not to work with these intelligent people who try to put all tools in their basket-

Khazanah in 'wait and watch' mode; extends offer period for Parkway to 26th July

In the war between Fortis Healthcare and Khazanah for Parkway, the Indian company will release its offer document to shareholders later this month. While extending its offer period, the Malaysian sovereign fund is busy scouting for money

Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah), the investment-holding unit of the Malaysian government, has preferred to go in for a 'wait and watch' mode in its battle with India Fortis Healthcare Ltd for controlling Parkway Holdings Ltd. In order to gain more time and knowledge, Khazanah has extended its offer period for Parkway to 26th July from 8th July.

According to a report by the Malaysian Reserve, Khazanah is seeking loans from five banks, which would enable the sovereign fund to increase its offer for Parkway. Khazanah has told Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, DBS Group Holdings Ltd, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and United Overseas Bank Ltd that it may need to borrow at least one billion Singapore dollars (S$), the report said. Citing a person close to the developments, the newspaper said Khazanah will increase a planned sale of Islamic bonds to S$1 billion from S$500 million, in case it decides to offer more for the Parkway stake.

Last week, Fortis Healthcare, controlled by billionaire brothers Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, made a cash offer of S$3.8 per share to buy Parkway over Khazanah's S$3.78 per share offer.

On 27th May, Khazanah, which holds 23.8% stake in Parkway, made an open offer to increase its stake to 51.5% at S$3.78 per share. Fortis, on the other hand, holds 25.37% stake in Parkway, making it the largest stakeholder in the company. Fortis had bought stake in Parkway from US-based TPG Capital by paying S$959 million.

According to media reports, Khazanah is also waiting for Fortis to release offer documents to shareholders later this month before it takes a final judgement about its next move.

While Khazanah can make a partial offer to Parkway, the same is not true in case of Fortis. Under Singapore takeover laws, anyone who has bought shares in the past six months is forbidden from making a partial offer. This gives Khazanah an advantage over Fortis. While Khazanah can raise its price for partial offer, Fortis will have to make an offer for complete takeover, in case the bidding war breaks out.

This could potentially cost Fortis at least S$3.1 billion to buy out the remaining shareholders in Parkway. In other words, Fortis will have to shell out over S$4 billion, including the price it paid to TPG, for buying a company whose returns on shareholder's funds are just 7.7% for FY09. For 2009, Parkway's total revenues increased 7% to S$979.2 million compared with S$914.8 million a year ago. However, during the same period, its net profit increased 169% to S$124.9 million from S$43.4 million in the previous year due to better performance of its international operations. (See: http://www.moneylife.in/article/8/5766.html).

Last month, Morgan Stanley - the advisor to independent directors of Parkway Holdings - has said that Khazanah's offer price of S$3.78 is reasonable, but not compelling. This advice may compel Khazanah to sweeten its offer as well as put some pressure on Fortis as well.

In a circular sent out by Parkway's independent directors, Morgan Stanley said that five of Parkway's 17 directors are considered independent. Among the five, two plan to vote in favour of the bid and sell their shares, one does not plan to vote and will keep his stake, and two do not own shares in Parkway. Three other directors, Parkway's chief executive officer (CEO) Tan See Leng, former CEO Lim Cheok Peng and its vice-chairman Seow Yung Liang, will vote against Khazanah's offer and will not sell their shares, according to the circular.

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Daily Market View: It is still headed up

Resistance is at 17,900 but the market is bent on pushing higher

The market ended in the green for the second day in a row on strong global cues and on positive domestic economic news. The Sensex settled at 17,833, up 182 points (1%) and the Nifty closed at 5,352, up 55 points (1%). The indices started the day with a sharp rise, taking support from Asian markets. Trading was range-bound till mid-afternoon. The market regained its strength on the positive sentiment supported by upward revision in the gross domestic product (GDP) growth by the IMF.

Asian stocks were up for a second day on Friday, on positive US economic data. Key benchmark indices in Hong Kong, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and South Korea were up by 0.5% to 2.3%.

Wall Street was up for the third straight day on Thursday on investors' optimism supported by the decline in jobless claims. Initial claims on State unemployment benefits dropped 21,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 454,000 in the week ended 3rd July, the lowest level since early May, the US Labor Department said. The Dow was up 120.7 points, (1.2%) at 10,139. The S&P 500 was up 9.9 points (0.9%) at 1,070.2. The Nasdaq was up 15.9 points (0.7%) at 2,175.4.

European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet dismissed the idea that the cost-cutting measures taken by the governments in various euro nations would bring about recession.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday raised its world output forecast for 2010, citing solid growth in the first half, especially in Asia. It, however, expressed its concern over the downside risks flowing from Europe. The multilateral lender revised its 2010 world GDP forecast to 4.6%, up from a previous forecast in April of 4.2%. The 2011 GDP forecast was unchanged at 4.3%.

South Korea's central bank raised its key interest rate from a record low amid prospects for growth in the country's economy. The Bank of Korea announced that it had lifted the benchmark seven-day repurchase rate to 2.25% from 2% earlier.

Back home, the IMF raised India's growth forecast for 2010 to 9.5%, stating that favourable financing conditions and robust corporate profits will accelerate economic expansion. The IMF expects India's economy to grow at 8.5% in 2011.

India said that it will be committed to the Doha round of global trade talks and does not believe that bilateral and regional trade deals will affect the multilateral process. Trade minister Anand Sharma opined that an acceptable global trade agenda was the need of the hour for economic recovery.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the equities segment, purchasing stocks worth Rs957 crore on Thursday. Domestic institutional investors were net sellers of shares worth Rs270 crore.

McNally Bharat Engineering Company (down 1.2%) has received orders for supply of a pre-treatment plant package for NTPC's Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Project, Stage IV (2X500MW) for a total value of Rs33.77 crore. The scheduled time for completion is 24 months.

Pratibha Industries (down 0.6%) has secured an annuity project from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Total annuities receivable from NHAI is Rs336.70 crore. The project, a joint venture with Abhyudaya Housing and Construction, involves two-laning with paved shoulders of the Bhopal-Sanchi section of NH-86. The construction period is two years and the payments shall be through semi-annual annuities of Rs12.95 crore for 13 years.

Titagarh Wagons (up 3%) said that The Commercial Court, Paris, has declared the company as winner of a bid for acquisition as a going concern, of the assets and business of a rolling stock manufacturing unit situated in France.

Shree Renuka Sugars (up 3.1%) has completed the acquisition of controlling stake of 50.34% in Equipav SA Acucar e Alcool, a Brazilian sugar and ethanol production company. Following this, Equipav has become a subsidiary of the Indian sugar major. The principal secured lenders have approved an acceptable debt-restructuring package to be stretched over 10 years.

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