IRDA: Agent training institutes to register as company or trust by June

“Existing accredited entities (ATIs), other than the companies/societies, trusts, have to convert themselves into companies, societies or trusts within 6 months...:” IRDA Circular

In order to eliminate non-serious players, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has asked all existing agent training institutes (ATIs) to register either as a company or trust by June.

“Existing accredited entities (ATIs), other than the companies/societies, trusts, have to convert themselves into companies, societies or trusts within 6 months...,” the IRDA said in a circular.

The IRDA has said that only those entities with more than three years of experience in training for financial or insurance products will be eligible for accreditation as institutes for training insurance agents. The initial approval will be for three years and consideration of further renewal for next three years.
Further, ATIs are required to maintain the attendance record by way of biometric system and put in place an effective mechanism for the same by April 1, 2012.
These entities play an important role in training agents for selling insurance products as the sector is battling the curb the menace of mis-selling. Mis-selling refers to sale of a financial instrument without fully disclosing the pros and cons of it to an investor.

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Cloudy outlook for Indian retail sector: Deloitte report

Commenting on the findings, Rajan Divekar senior director Deloitte in India said: “...Given the recent policy flip-flop related to FDI in multi-brand retail, both global retailers as well as existing Indian organised sector retailers appear to have adopted a cautious ‘wait-and-watch’ approach before committing fresh investments”

New Delhi: India's retail sector faces a ‘bit cloudy’ outlook due slow growth along with persistent inflation and the government’s decision to hold back FDI in multi-brand segment, reports PTI quoting a report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTTL).
‘The 2012 Global Powers of Retailing’ report by the consulting firm DTTL suggests that retailers will, however, find some silver linings as softening commodity prices will help in improved profit margins.

“The outlook for India (retail sector) is a bit cloudy as the economy is clearly slowing, following a period in which monetary policy was tightened to fight inflation... it did not bring the inflation down,” the report said.

Commenting on the findings, Rajan Divekar senior director Deloitte in India said: “...Given the recent policy flip-flop related to FDI in multi-brand retail, both global retailers as well as existing Indian organised sector retailers appear to have adopted a cautious ‘wait-and-watch’ approach before committing fresh investments.”

He, however, said the Indian retail sector offers significant potential for growth of modern trade.

India also has a set of obstacles that includes a high degree of trade protection, continuing regulation of labour markets and uncertainty regarding the future of the FDI policy related to multi-brand retail, it said.

Meanwhile, Indian retailers are customising and fine tuning their business models across retail formats to ensure that there is a balance between store expansion and profitability, Mr Divekar said.

“The recent liberalisation permitting 100% in single brand retail is a welcome sign especially for select luxury/niche retailers,” he added.

The report, however, said one positive effect of slower global growth will be the continued dampening of commodity prices.

“For retailers, this means some improvement on the cost side of the ledger while retail price inflation in some economies presents an opportunity for improved profit margins, even in the context of slow topline growth,” it said.

Revival of the proposal to permit 51% FDI in multi-brand retail could bring in a positive impact on the retail sector as well as the Indian economy, it added.

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PMEAC advises RBI to look at manufactured goods inflation before reducing rates

“The Reserve Bank, while framing its monetary policy, will have to take into account not only the decline in food inflation and the headline inflation, but also factor in the manufactured inflation,” chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, C Rangarajan said

New Delhi: Sounding a note of caution, the prime minister’s economic advisory panel today said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should take into account inflation of manufactured goods, which has shown only marginal decline, while deciding to lower policy rates at its monetary review next week, reports PTI.

“The Reserve Bank, while framing its monetary policy, will have to take into account not only the decline in food inflation and the headline inflation, but also factor in the manufactured inflation,” chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, C Rangarajan, told PTI.

His comments came after headline inflation, as measured by Wholesale Price Index (WPI), fell to a two-year low of 7.47% in December, from 9.11% in the previous month.

Mr Rangarajan said more steps are required to further moderate the inflation.

“The decline in headline inflation is mainly on account of the fall in food inflation. However, the decline is very small ... Further steps will be required (to control inflation),” he said, without giving more details.

As per the official data, prices of food items rose at a lower rate of 0.74% in December, compared to 8.54% expansion in the previous month.

However, inflationary pressure continued in manufactured items, which have a weight of around 65% in the WPI basket.

Prices of manufactured products went up by 7.41% year-on-year in December, as against 7.70% in the previous month.

Earlier in the day, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee also said that inflation of manufactured goods continued to be a matter of concern but hoped that overall inflation would come down to 6%-7% by March end.

“The manufactured inflation and inflation in the power group of items have also declined though only marginally, therefore, continued to be a cause of concern,” Mr Mukherjee said.

RBI is scheduled to announce its third quarterly economic policy review on 24 January.

Barring December 2011, headline inflation had been above the 8% mark since January 2010, while it was above 9% since December of the same year.

The apex bank has already hiked key policy rates 13 times since March 2010 to tame inflation. However, it went for a pause in rate hikes in November and hinted at loosening the tight monetary policy in future if inflation moderates.

India Inc has said the string of rate hikes, which have raised the cost of borrowing, has acted as a dampener to fresh investment and hindered growth.

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