‘Technology and human resources are my top priority,’ says S Sridhar

S Sridhar, CMD, Central Bank of India and chairman of the National Housing Bank, talks to Moneylife editors Sucheta Dalal & Debashis Basu on how he plans to shape the future of CBI. This is the final part of a three-part series

Sucheta Dalal & Debashis Basu (ML): Central Bank of India has a history of strong trade unions. What has been your experience in dealing with unions?

S Sridhar (SS): There is a way of handling unions. First of all, they are white-collar people. There are many people actively working in the unions, who would have been in the top management of banks, if they had taken their promotions. They are bright people. One has to take them into confidence and ensure that they feel they are contributing. Generally, I have tried to be fair and transparent and show that there is no personal axe to grind. We have said that there will be zero tolerance for anything mala fide, but I had issued a written circular that as long as there is a bona fide business judgement we will protect you. That is a promise I have kept; but when there are mala fide actions we have even dismissed people. So I have had no problems at all. There may be some minor irritations or issues, but that is to be expected.

ML: What are your priorities at Central Bank?

SS: The priority is to make Central Bank a modern bank - it has been lagging over the years. When banks were nationalised, it was the number one bank after State Bank of India but over the years it (has) slipped. The main reason was not enough attention to human resources. It is a bit of an old-age home. The average age here is 53.

ML: Why is Central Bank an exception, if they follow the same recruitment policies?

SS: Somewhere in the last 10-12 years, other banks realised this and took corrective action. Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank - all did something about the skewed age profile, but Central Bank couldn't do it because of union issues, etc. A cardinal flaw was that Central Bank wasn't taking in direct recruits - that is why, in every category, there is hardly anyone below 50. This brings with it a set of issues - risk aversion; focus on family and refusal to be transferred away from the hometown. Also, there was no attention to work processes and practices. So that is my first priority. Technology and human resources are my top priority - in the process I have also restructured the bank by creating certain business verticals. I created corporate verticals and large corporate branches. Central Bank has always had a good relationship with customers and we also have several top customers, but over time, our share of their wallet had decreased significantly. The corporate sector has been a big thrust area - but they are good for the balance sheet but not the bottom-line which has to come from retail and SME (small and medium enterprises). SME has been good last year with 53% growth - that has to be maintained. Retail is going to be the big thrust area this year. In terms of technology, we have all the products in place - credit cards, debit cards, ATM cards, we are also ready with mobile banking, Internet banking, SMS alerts, etc. We now need to roll out what we have, but that is the challenge. We are rolling out ATMs in a big way, by 1st September (we) will have 900 and by December we will have 1,800 ATMs all over. By 30th June next year, we will have 3,000 ATMs in place. I think that is very important to attract young people and it is especially good for us, given the age profile. Getting younger people back is a priority, because they are the ones who have the money to spend. One thing in that direction is that we are official bankers to the Commonwealth Games; we want to bring the young, sporty image to the bank. We are also getting into our centenary year at the end of December.

User

COMMENTS

RDesikan

7 years ago

Excellent interview. Both Mrs Suchitra dalal and Mr Sridhar have got the best out of the interview. This interview should be translated into all Indian languages , and some information added and distributed to a large number of CBI'scustomers.
desikan

Snake oil, bridges to sell: And they have much more to unleash

 Every day, my phone spews out text messages that promise me stocks that will reach for the skies, insurance products that give me usurious returns and freebies like gold coins. However, I am not biting    

        "Will you walk into my parlour, said the spider to the fly, 
          I have many curious things, to show you when you're there."
         "Oh, no, no," said the little fly; to ask me is in vain, 
       For who goes up your winding stair, can ne'er come down again."

I keep getting text messages on my phone (I have registered in the "Do Not Call" Registry long ago) offering me really tempting investment products. Two days ago, I got one, which reads as under:

 Sender: +917667396014

"BAJAJ ALLIANZ: DEPOSIT 8800/Yr or 5000/ Half Yr for 3 Yr July 20, Get FREE SPOT 1gm GOLD COIN, Approximately 52800 at 5 Yr, FREE PENSION PLAN, SAVE TAX. CAL: 9840150809" 

Of course, I have not corrected this message for grammar, but the arithmetic is very interesting. The return is close to 36% p.a.! Bajaj Allianz must be a fantastic money manager.

But I am a born sceptic. So, I will pass this offer. Alas, no one in the mutual fund industry promises me this return. I do not get any text messages from any mutual fund agent promising me this kind of returns. Other than Bajaj Allianz, I also get similar messages with almost identical numbers, citing LIC. The moment I can spare this amount, I am going to invest in a Bajaj Allianz product. In addition, I will get a gold coin! I wonder if I have to pay any tax on it or would I be asked to pay up on account of TDS?

I also wondered at the other fantastic thing. I could either pay Rs8,800 every year or Rs5,000 every half year, with the same end result! So, the investment option has to be fantastic.

With these returns assured by Bajaj Allianz, surely other insurance companies cannot be far behind. Then why are they protesting about offering a guarantee of a measly 4.5% annual return on pension products? Then a thought struck me. Maybe they want to have a guaranteed rate that is much higher, given that the offer to me was at a handsome 36%.

I also think that in my younger days these insurance products were not around at all. Here I have HDFC Standard Life promising me that I can be an independent person in my old age, if they take care of my money. I wonder how they can do so, given that they have been around for less than 10 years. But then, I think, it is only an advertisement and if there was anything funny, IRDA would not have permitted it. In my days, LIC would only give guaranteed returns of around 8%-9%, post tax. Now, all of them have moved to much higher numbers, though these text messages (Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation) give me hope that they can give me great returns.

Each day, the phone brings forth text messages that promise me the riches. Stocks that will multiply in price, insurance products that give me usurious returns and many freebies like gold coins, etc. I have resisted so far because of age, lack of surplus money to gamble and my innate scepticism. Wonder how many people respond to the messages and enjoy these returns.

It would be nice if any of our readers can tell me if I should give my money to the agent who sent me the text message. And I wonder if either Bajaj Allianz or IRDA can confirm the numbers, so that I can also join the elite club that can make so much returns. In case the numbers are not okay, will IRDA step in and do something? I do not expect the insurance company to do anything, because its job is to sell.

User

COMMENTS

MUKESH KUMAR

7 years ago

Corrections to my comments just written :
(1) para 2….
“….COMPALINING TO BOTH BSNL & TRAI - THE SO-CALLED MAI-BAAP OF TELECOM IN THIS BLESSED(!) COUNTRY >>> addendum: IS LIKE TALKING TO WALLS! NOTHING UNDER THE SUN/MOON MOVES/SHAKES THEM!

(2)
BUT LIKE STrATOSPHERE (OUTER SPACE),

MUKESH KUMAR

7 years ago

THOUGH I MAY SOUND LIKE A PESSIMIST, SINCE I CARE & AM CONCERNED A LOT, ON BEFALF OF & FOR LAKHS OF PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY (INCLUDING MYSELF), WHO, BY & LARGE, DO NOT BOTHER TO COMPLAIN FOR ANYTHING UNDER THE SUN (OR DO FOR WRONG REASONS!) - FOR MULTIPLE REASONS - (A TOPIC IN ITSELF!), I AM WRITING THIS.

I LIVE IN CHENNAI MOSTLY & TRAVEL A LOT GLOBALLY & LOCALLY, BUT NO OTHER PLACE IN INDIA GETS AS MANY SALES CALLS & SMS FLOODS DAILY IF YOU ARE A BSNL 'SUB'(SCRIBER) DESPITE ONE OF THE DOZENS OF ROUTINE FARCES OF INDIA, CALLED DNC, WHERE I HAVE REGISTERED AT LEAST A QUARTER DOZEN TIMES! COMPALINING TO BOTH BSNL(BROTHER/COUSIN OF MTNL) & TRAI - THE SO-CALLED MAI-BAAP OF TELCOM IN THIS BLESSED(!) COUNTRY!

I HAVE EVEN MET THE CGM OF BSNL IN CHENNAI ON THIS (& A VARIETY OF OTHER BSNL NUISANCES WE ARE BORN TO PUT UP WITH!), BUT LIKE STATOSPHERE (OUTER SPACE), NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON ANY PROBLEMS FOR WHICH WE PERSEVERELY PURSUE!

IF I WAS GIVEN OCCUPATIONAL EARNING MONEY TO NARRATE 'WHAT AILS INDIA', I CAN ASSURE OF AT LEAST ONE TOPIC/SUBJECT/ARTICLE EVERY ALTERNATE DAY!

I FEEL MANY A TIMES THAT MY SURVIVAL'S PURPOSE IS TO TAKE CARE OF THESE SALES CALLERS, FOR WHOM (ONLY) I WAS BORN & AM ALIVE!

OVER & ABOVE, I EVEN GET COVERT THREATS FROM SOME OF THE BOSSES OF THESE 'AFTER MARKETERS' IF I DONT GIVE INTO THEIR PITCH!

NOW, THE MOOT POINT IS : IS THERE ANY SINGLE (HUMAN OR OTHERWISE) BODY IN THIS LARGEST (FARCE-O-CRACY CALLED DEMOCRACY) WHO WOULD BOTHER & ENSURE THAT PERENNIEL ISSUES AFFECTING TEEMING THOUSANDS & LAKHS, IF NOT MILLIONS, WOULD EVER BE RESOLVED TO THE POINT THAT SUBSEQUENTLY OTHERS JUST DON'T HAVE TO BOTHER, DEAL WITH & GET HARASSED FOR!

ABSOLUTELY NOT! UNLESS & UNTIL A HANDFUL OF CONCERNED PEOPLE LIKE MONEYLIFE ORGANIZATION, ITS CONCERNED READERS & RESPONDERS STRIVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT WITH LOTS OF COOPERATION, SUPPORT & UNDERSTANDING OF THE CORE ISSUES!

HOPE SOMETHING POSITIVE BREWS OUT OF THIS!













MUKESH KUMAR

7 years ago

THOUGH I MAY SOUND LIKE A PESSIMIST, SINCE I CARE & AM CONCERNED A LOT, ON BEFALF OF & FOR LAKHS OF PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY (INCLUDING MYSELF), WHO, BY & LARGE, DO NOT BOTHER TO COMPLAIN FOR ANYTHING UNDER THE SUN (OR DO FOR WRONG REASONS!) - FOR MULTIPLE REASONS - (A TOPIC IN ITSELF!), I AM WRITING THIS.

I LIVE IN CHENNAI MOSTLY & TRAVEL A LOT GLOBALLY & LOCALLY, BUT NO OTHER PLACE IN INDIA GETS AS MANY SALES CALLS & SMS FLOODS DAILY IF YOU ARE A BSNL 'SUB'(SCRIBER) DESPITE ONE OF THE DOZENS OF ROUTINE FARCES OF INDIA, CALLED DNC, WHERE I HAVE REGISTERED AT LEAST A QUARTER DOZEN TIMES! COMPALINING TO BOTH BSNL(BROTHER/COUSIN OF MTNL) & TRAI - THE SO-CALLED MAI-BAAP OF TELCOM IN THIS BLESSED(!) COUNTRY!

I HAVE EVEN MET THE CGM OF BSNL IN CHENNAI ON THIS (& A VARIETY OF OTHER BSNL NUISANCES WE ARE BORN TO PUT UP WITH!), BUT LIKE STATOSPHERE (OUTER SPACE), NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON ANY PROBLEMS FOR WHICH WE PERSEVERELY PURSUE!

IF I WAS GIVEN OCCUPATIONAL EARNING MONEY TO NARRATE 'WHAT AILS INDIA', I CAN ASSURE OF AT LEAST ONE TOPIC/SUBJECT/ARTICLE EVERY ALTERNATE DAY!

I FEEL MANY A TIMES THAT MY SURVIVAL'S PURPOSE IS TO TAKE CARE OF THESE SALES CALLERS, FOR WHOM (ONLY) I WAS BORN & AM ALIVE!

OVER & ABOVE, I EVEN GET COVERT THREATS FROM SOME OF THE BOSSES OF THESE 'AFTER MARKETERS' IF I DONT GIVE INTO THEIR PITCH!

NOW, THE MOOT POINT IS : IS THERE ANY SINGLE (HUMAN OR OTHERWISE) BODY IN THIS LARGEST (FARCE-O-CRACY CALLED DEMOCRACY) WHO WOULD BOTHER & ENSURE THAT PERENNIEL ISSUES AFFECTING TEEMING THOUSANDS & LAKHS, IF NOT MILLIONS, WOULD EVER BE RESOLVED TO THE POINT THAT SUBSEQUENTLY OTHERS JUST DON'T HAVE TO BOTHER, DEAL WITH & GET HARASSED FOR!

ABSOLUTELY NOT! UNLESS & UNTIL A HANDFUL OF CONCERNED PEOPLE LIKE MONEYLIFE ORGANIZATION, ITS CONCERNED READERS & RESPONDERS STRIVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT WITH LOTS OF COOPERATION, SUPPORT & UNDERSTANDING OF THE CORE ISSUES!

HOPE SOMETHING POSITIVE BREWS OUT OF THIS!













Jagriti Singh

7 years ago

Bajaj Allianz has not approved or authorized any of its licensed intermediary to send this type of frivolous SMS text messages. When circulation of such SMS were brought to our notice, we traced it to a person who was an agent, terminated in 2008. Bajaj Allianz is exploring options to put an immediate stop to the circulation of such frivolous SMS as it is affects our brand name.

jagdish MANGHNANi

7 years ago

Dear Sir

Only 6 and 10 percent chart is permited by IRDA in prsentation. Or in the best case calculate the past returns and show it but past preformance cannot be guratnted but 36 percent return will double your money in 2 years the investor should aPPly his Mind How is it possible

Jagdish





Praveen

7 years ago

The concerned agent should be taken to IRDA and his license should be suspended.

yogesh

7 years ago

Lucky you. You atleast have got some sender number in your messages. I have been receiving a lot of stock tips, mostly sent using something like TD-BigBull etc. I use Tata Indicom and almost all the unsolicitted commercial messages, I receive, have T as starting letter which is nothing but application-to-peer identification prefix (read more http://www.moneylife.in/article/76/2735.html ). In my case, it is quite clear that all spam messages I receive are originating from Tata Indicom itself! And despite numorous mails, I am still receiving the same.

REPLY

R Balakrishnan

In Reply to yogesh 7 years ago

I too get a regular flow of spam messages like plots of land, stock tips, health club messages etc thru bulk sms from BSNL, which cares two hoots for DNC.

The downfall: Commissions, IFAs, and cheques

The number of cheques released by AMCs to mutual fund distributors is dwindling as well as the number of active IFAs.

The sweeping changes introduced by market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in the mutual fund industry are still showing their after-effects. According to sources, two years back, some 39,000-odd monthly cheques were issued by asset management companies (AMCs) to pay upfront commission to distributors. In 2010, this number has plunged to around 9,000-10,000. Upfront commission is released on a monthly basis while trail is paid quarterly. A distributor gets upfront commission when he acquires new business while trail is paid to service the existing client. Currently 0.25% is paid as upfront commission and 0.50%-0.75% is paid as trail depending on the fund house.

“The number of payments received through the electronic clearing service (ECS) as well as cheques has dropped. People either wanted to consolidate or leave the business. People who have decent assets under management (AUM) are undeterred. New people are not joining. The general perception is that this business is not as remunerative as it used to be for a new person to join. This is because of SEBI’s misplaced perception that there is no role of an intermediary,” said a top official from a leading fund house, preferring anonymity.

“The number of cheque issuances among AMCs have dropped,” says a Mumbai-based distributor on the condition of anonymity.

However, registrar and transfer agent (RTA) sources say that the drop in cheques is primarily due to the ECS system. ECS facility was extended to distributors because of the delay and misplacement of cheques.

The following message doing the rounds in the mutual fund industry is a shocking revelation of the number of active IFAs. “What is the similarity between tigers and IFAs? Only 1,411 left. Thanks to SEBI.”

According to an official from a mid-sized AMC in Mumbai, the number of active IFAs bringing in new business has gone down to 1,200 from 5,000 in Mumbai alone. Around 80% of the business comes from metros like Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru. In Pune, hardly 40-45 active mutual fund distributors are working. In industry parlance, an active IFA is defined as someone who is still giving door-to-door service and bringing in new clients.

“Last year’s HDFC and Reliance Mutual Fund list showed 1,400 IFAs in Pune but now it has come down. I was submitting 30-40 new applications earlier, now I submit hardly 5-7 applications,” said a Pune-based financial planner.

The drop in the number of monthly cheques indicates that new business is not coming in and distributors are relying on the trail commission and past Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs). The industry added just 2,355 folios while equity funds lost 1.47 lakh folios in the month of July. A part of the money moved into debt funds.

Some distributors are now shifting their focus to allied financial services like general insurance and company fixed deposits, which offer decent commissions while others are completely changing their business model.

After the crackdown on upfront commissions, distributors are struggling to acquire new business. The commission does not even cover the cost of acquiring a client. Now, even the trail commission is not paid to a new distributor in the event of a broker change.

“I have been in this business since 19 years and have a decent AUM. Around 650 families are investing through me since 1994. I have incurred an operating loss of Rs1.75 lakh in the last one year because of ‘no load structure’. Investors are not ready to pay the advisory charges because a number of bank channels are offering free services. We are not able to cover the operating cost of our organisation. It is very difficult to survive. After a lot of convincing we get around Rs40,000 to Rs50,000 worth of investments,” said Yogesh Kulkarni, proprietor, Royal Investments.

Sources also indicate that some mutual fund distributors have completely stopped sending self-declaration forms to AMCs due to the paltry commissions involved. SEBI rules mandate that all intermediaries send a self-declaration form to fund houses annually, failing which the fund house can stop the commission paid to distributors. The self-declaration form contains an acknowledgement that a distributor has disclosed the commission received by him to the investor.

User

COMMENTS

R Varadarajan

7 years ago

When SEBI brought in restrictions on ULIPs ( rightly so ), the entire insurance industry and the IRDA cried foul and they got everything diluted to loot the investors jointly. When it comes to MF Entry Loads the MF Industry silent - obviously resigned to the fate.

Sanjeev Deshmukh

7 years ago

Now is the time for the finanace ministry to take review of the no entry loads decision . while implementing this decision SEBI promised that MF business will grow in multyfolds . . But time has prooved the necessity of IFAs .
SEBI has biased view against IFAs.Over regulations has ruined the MF industry.

Prashant Parab

7 years ago

Wake up "SID" ( Sebi's Intellegent Deparment). How much time will you take to wake up. It is a year after now when you decide to kill the mf industry. please wake before you dont have any thing left to regulate

Prashant Parab

7 years ago

Mr. Bhave has proved that in India people are offered the job just relying on their academic career and not by the capability of doing job well. Mr. Bhave has just removed the entry load but who will take initiative of educating the indian investor about investing who still is cofused to buy jeevan saral or Moneyback policy . Sebi is like the all other POLITICIAN who know only take to decision but do not know how to implement the same.

babu jose madathil

7 years ago

in this changed scenario o no load structure, AMCs/fund managers should find ways of increasing the returns equal to at least an avg of 15 - 20% CAGR. all funds performance statements should be made simple to the common invester understand what are the facts abt the fund and also what he/she can expect. then he/she will be better able to select a fund.

jignesh n vyas

7 years ago

amc not interst in retail business. some amc sell pms . Amc not intrest in small ticket like 5000or 10000 and smell sip.Amc protect IFa.Mr bhave jeo or jen do.

PPM

7 years ago

Why not AMCs not comeout to support the IFAs?

End of the day, its AMCs interest to get more retail investors to invest in their offerings.

AMCs are scared of SEBI...may be tomorrow SEBI may comeout with a regulation that AMCs can not charge the investor anymore ...AMCs need to run the operations as a service to the society.

satya

7 years ago

SEBI MOVE IS GOOD FOR TRANSPERANCY OF CHARGES, BUT STILL LONG WAY TO PROTECT CUSTOMER INVESTING IN EQUITIES AND LOOSING THEIR CAPITAL. THIS HAPPENS BECAUSE OF HEAVY CHURNING IN BULL RUN AND MONEY EVOPORATES. SEBIT DID NOT DO ANYTHING UNTIL TODAY FOR INVESTING RS.10000 AND COMMISSION PAID IN BULL RUN YEAR MORE THAN 50% ????

GOD ONLY TO EDUCATE THE INVESTOR

SEBI HAS TO INSTRUCT EQUITY BROKERS TO PUT LIMIT IN COMMISSION CHARGED FOR INVESTMENT LIKE 10% IS MAXIMUM IN A YEAR TO CHARGE ON THE AMOUNT INVESTED INTIALLY. BUT WILL THAT WORK ??

asim kumar das

7 years ago

Mr Bhave will be ever remembered by thousands of IFAs as you did a revolution in the mutual fund industry at the cost of bred & butter of the IFAs. You are really a benevolent well-wisher of the MF Investors. Long live Mr Bhave. Thank you.
Mr Asim Kr Das. Mutual Fand Advisor (working in rural-belt as Advisor)

Roopsingh

7 years ago

Mr Vardarajan and Asim Das,
whatever SEBI the GOD is doing is pampering Demons like stock brokers and depositeries due to vested interest-it burned its hands bcos GOI (the most looting govt in the world) wants to loot common men by all hooks and crooks-like service tax to every penny earned-and ULIPS which are day light cheaters-the real agenda of our cheater govt is ''trapping''common man in NPS-
GOI did all this bcos MF gained unseen popularity in short span of time and this made govt sponsored SSS unpopular-
now govt does not want to have burden of interest payment on PPF and NSC-so it wants to grab peoples money through NPS and stop old guaranteed Small saving schemes-

R Varadarajan

7 years ago

Yes. There has been a significant drop in the clientele and in fact no new clients are coming . Added to this a large number of investors have moved to ULIPs , thanks to the misleading sales personale. SEBI has already decided to close down the MF Industry - after the disastersous failure to rein in the Insurance Companies in respect of ULIPs. The MF Industry will not survive beyond 2015, thanks Govt of India's partisan attidude to ULIPs in preference to MF

asim kumar das

7 years ago

Man obey God as He protects, loves, punishes and forgives. Without the existence of men, God's glory as well as existence is insignificant. Who will care SEBI after someday, when IFAs are dying "Fund-Houses" are drying?
Asim kr Das. mutual fund advisor.

Kapil Patel

7 years ago

The steps taken by SEBI in favor of investor are very good & it should be appriciated. But as every one know that no one is complete in world, and this law is also applicable to sebi.SEBI can also make mistake. They should rethink about their policy. There are some error in policy and it must be rewrite by the policy maker.
One of them is,
Sebi has mentioned to all distributor to mention what they are getting from AMC as a commission? Do any body know a product in which buyer know the profit margin of distributor? But MR. Bhave told to distributor to mention details of all the payment they received from the company as a commision, which is agaist any business model. So distributor have to give up this model. Sebi must check that how national distributor like banks have taken action upon this applicable rules. How they are mentioning the details of payment which they will received from the AMC to investor.

One good idea for SEBI is, SEBI should told all AMC, to charge a flat fee on their business other then they are not allowed to deduct any charges from investor's money. Also sebi should allow to AMC to do whatever they feel with the fee which they will receive.
These fees are flat for all companies and also AMC must inform to Investor that how much they are charging to investor for investing in mutual fund. This might be a best solution for all participant of MF industries.

jignesh n vyas

7 years ago

sabi ne jai ho . Bhave ne jai ho.

Devendra Mhatre

7 years ago

It is easy to put all the blame for current low volume of business on SEBI.. But we are in the mess today is because of mis-selling by National Distributors/Banks who were getting hefty commissions (5-7%) compared to meager paid to IFAs.
AMCs are also partly to blame as they are in the rat race of AUM's without focusing on the retail long term investors. The high commissions paid to Banks was an incentive for them to churn the existing AUMs and advisory role took the back seat. The lessons have not been learnt, even today the Banks are getting higher upfront than IFAs, plus they charge seperately by debiting the investors bank account without his knowledge.. The solution is National Distributors/ Banks should be paid only trail and no upfront and if investor redeems before 1 year, the trail commission paid till date should be credited back to the Scheme (not the AMC) so that the existing long term investors benefit.

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