Companies & Sectors
Maharashtra's proposed hike in ready reckoner rates is 'unrealistic'

The Maharashtra government has made ready reckoner for real estate prices, its biggest cash cow, and increased its rates every year without any justification

The Maharashtra government is reportedly mulling a 10% to 25% increase in the ready-reckoner (RR) rates for residential and commercial properties across the state from next month. However, according to experts, such a hike is unrealistic.

 

"This kind of proposed hike in ready reckoner rates is unrealistic. At present, property prices are down by about 30% and there are no buyers. In addition there is abundant supply and the trend is of a further fall in property prices. In this scenario, proposed hike in ready reckoner rates is unwarranted," said Advocate Vinod Sampat.

 

According to a report from Business Standard, the (state) government intends to mobilise Rs20,000 crore during 2013-14 through stamp duty and registration fees. "From 1 January 2013, the state government had hiked RR rates in Mumbai by 5%-30%. Property buyers would have to shell out more as based on the revised RR rates, they would also have to pay higher value added tax, service tax and 50% increased stamp duty," the report says.

 

Ready reckoner rates are used to calculate market value of flats for stamp duty and registration charges. Since 2008, these rates are being calculated on built-up area of the flat.

 

During 2008-09, the income from stamp duty was Rs8,384 crore even as the state government refrained from revising ready reckoner rates due to the slowdown. However, over the next years, ready reckoner rates have been revises regularly, thus boosting revenues for the Maharashtra government. During 2009-10 its collected Rs10,901 crore (up 30%) as stamp duty, Rs13,411 crore in 2010-11 (up 23%) and Rs14,800 crore in 2011-12 (10% hike). The collection rose to Rs15,000 crore by end 2012-13, the news report says.

 

Sunil Mantri, president, National Real Estate Development Council, told Business Standard: “In the last few years, the government has made RR the biggest cash cow, with a rise in its rates every year without any justification. Any increase in RR rates is totally unjustified, especially when the realty sector is passing through a tough time. In fact, my suggestion is that the government should reduce the RR rates and also cut the stamp duty to 2%-3% from the present level of 5%. This will ultimately boost property transactions.”

 

The proposed increase in ready reckoner rates may not substantially affect transactions of new flats as the builders often sell it about 30%-80% higher than the RR rates. However, for the old flats, especially those in the redevelopment phases, the rates may go up due to proposed increase in construction cost in ready reckoner rates.

 

Adv Sampat said stamp duty collection is the second highest source of revenues for Maharashtra government. "Despite, the increase in property tax, prices would fall further as there is abundant supply and no buyers," he added.

 

However, Mumbai’s residential real estate market has always shown higher resistance for price moderation, largely because of the scarcity of land, says Anuj Puri, chairman and country head, Jones Lang LaSalle India in a report. “Currently, given the exceedingly high pricing and slow sales, we expect a marginal price correction in Mumbai’s residential property sector. However, the window of opportunity could be smaller than the previous one, since fence-sitting investors are jumping in quickly even with a modest price correction. With insufficient and belated infrastructure, Mumbai’s prime areas will continue to command premium valuations,” he added.

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Investment advisors to become rare species, thanks to SEBI Regulation

With the new Regulations from SEBI, the tribe of investment advisors will hardly grow in India as there is too much of responsibilities with limited freedom

The idea that investment advisors need to be regulated is not at all a subject of debate. In the US, Investment Advisors Act was passed in 1940. UK carried out several changes in the regulation of financial advisors from 2012.There are many other countries, which regulate investment advisors also called as financial planners. In India, the need to regulate investment advisors originated from many factors out of which two are very important factors which are as follows:-
 

a) Holding advisors accountable for what they suggest to the client and;
 

b) Ensuring that advisory business is not mixed with selling of financial products.
 

With a view to make financial advisory business more accountable, SEBI came out with “Investment Advisors Regulation”.  From 21 October 2013 only those who had registered under the regulation with SEBI would be able to offer investment advisory services. 
 

With the Investment Advisors Regulation coming into force, SEBI has received only limited number of applications for registration, with number of investment advisors barely crossing even 100 in a country, which has probably more investment advisors than investors at the current juncture. One of the obvious reasons is that many people are not keen to give up their business of selling financial products and just be investment advisor where the cash flow is not assured, but the matter does not end here.
 

Let us look at some of the obvious reasons for poor response to this regulation.
 

Investment advisors not classified based on business activity
 

SEBI classifies an investment advisor as either individual, partnership firm or a body corporate. Rather than doing this, SEBI should have classified investment advisors based on the volume of business they handle. For instances in USA, investment advisors that have "assets under management" of $25 million or more need to register with SEC and rest others can register with state securities commission. Though India has no such structure, the idea is to highlight the fact that investment advisors should not be treated at legal structure level but at the level of business they handle. A business investment advisor with higher level of activity can afford more costs than an investment advisor having a handful of clients.
 

Fees charged and cost of compliance are very high
 

The investment advisor regulation states the following with respect to the fees to be paid by investment advisors:

  1. Every applicant shall pay non-refundable application fees of five thousand rupees along with the application for grant or renewal of certificate of registration.
     
  2. Applicants which are individuals and firms shall pay a sum of ten thousand rupees as registration/ renewal fee at the time of grant or renewal of certificate by the Board.
     
  3. A body corporate shall pay a sum of one lakh rupees as registration/ renewal fee at the time of grant or renewal of certificate by the Board.

But this is not the total cost that an investment advisor has to pay. There are costs associated with infrastructure, maintain of records, audit costs etc. Net worth requirement can also act as a minor deterrent. The advisory business in India is in a nascent stage. It is difficult for investment advisors to charge fees to the clients. Also, with the market being so competitive and in absence of a level playing field, charging any decent fees by investment advisors is very difficult and challenging.
 

The grey areas in investment advisory guidelines are anti-investment advisor
 

Read this statement which is directly produced from the act: ” Whenever a recommendation is given to a client to purchase of a particular complex financial product, such recommendation or advice is based upon a reasonable assessment that the structure and risk reward profile of financial product is consistent with clients experience, knowledge, investment objectives, risk appetite and capacity for absorbing loss”. There is so much of subjectivity in this statement that an investment advisor will like to keep away from such products or has a risk of not meeting compliance requirement.
 

It is indeed doubtful that, with current guidelines, the tribe of investment advisors will grow in India. There is too much of responsibility with limited freedom. The cost is big de-motivating factor and compliance requirements are draconian. The guidelines are too investor-friendly and offer very little to the advisors. It is now, the right time to declare investment advisors as endangered species.
 

(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.)

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COMMENTS

saurabh kumar

1 year ago

what about small investors in India with investment is very small

Jay Abraham

3 years ago

Q1. If you are educating an individual on the various investment instruments available out there, but not advising about any specific stock (RIL) or a specific mutual fund (HDFC Large Cap) or a specific corporate bond (Muthoot Bond), do you need any licenses then?

Q2. I'm a little confused as to the license required for an Investment Advisor who earns a commission from the investor and/or products like a Bank's employee VS the license required for a Financial Planner who advises based on a fixed fee like Mr. Taresh.

Thanks.

Jay Abraham

3 years ago

Q1. If you are educating an individual on the various investment instruments available out there, but not advising about any specific stock (RIL) or a specific mutual fund (HDFC Large Cap) or a specific corporate bond (Muthoot Bond), do you need any licenses then?

Q2. I'm a little confused as to the license required for an Investment Advisor who earns a commission from the investor and/or products like a Bank's employee VS the license required for a Financial Planner who advises based on a fixed fee like Mr. Taresh.

Thanks.

Sam

3 years ago

These days there are so many stock market tips provider. Do they all need to be SEBI registered Investment advisor to continue doing so?

Taresh Bhatia

3 years ago

Greetings and Namaskar!
Commenting on your views: We feel that those who are on the right side of the law, needn’t be afraid of the regulations, don’t need to fear the law while those who wish to make around the law can do so in any case, wo why fear!
We are proud to announce that SEBI has accepted our application and granted our firm Advantage Financial Planners LLP Certification as "SEBI Registered Investment Advisor" (RIA). This is a very proud moment for us as we have qualified after due diligence and based on our systems processes and service quality. We are also proud to be amongst the three LLP to be given this certification in the country till date and perhaps, the only one LLP in Delhi NCR.
This gives us lot of confidence and renewed energy to give fee based advice to our clients and offer unbiased opinion. Why wouldn’t the clients pay us fee as it is based on our expertise, knowledge, experience, transparency and added value.
Would be happy to remain in touch at [email protected]
Also, I, as one of the partners, am happy to be “EXEMPTED” as SEBI has notified that RIAs who have "Certified Financial Planner" Certification from FPSB India will be exempted from above NISM Exams to be eligible;

REPLY

Gautam Haldipur

In Reply to Taresh Bhatia 3 years ago

Dear Mr. Taresh Bhatia,
At the outset I wish to congratulate you on your obtaining SEBI certification as an RIA.I have gone through your write up with care. Whilst it is nice to see our Professional colleagues going top notch on Advisory, I do have some apprehensions, which of course I will be glad if you could elucidate further to help your professional colleagues better.
1.The issue is not the FEAR of Regulation but of unbriddled / unrealistic regulation which is inequitable & short of the principles of Natural Justice enshrined in the constitution which gives an equal opportunity to one & all to live & let live.It should not be meant to snuff out a few but to carry as many as possible along with proper checks & balances which is undoubtedly missing. While saying this, I would without doubt welcome fee based advisory which will be the ultimate. But the need of the hour is to metamorphose into that phase than jump the gun.
2.The Concept of an Advisory as it stands today is largely restricted to the large Metros & few cities, whereas large parts of the country are miles away from it nor do they have the remotest idea of the concept barring a few.I am sure you well understand that large untapped potential lies in the smaller towns & villages of India which have a dire need for these integrated services which are missing.How do you plan to address the same?. Will you kindly share it with your colleagues?
3.The diversity & Demographic profile of our country is so large & complex that the investing habits/ psyche of people are equally diverse.You might be pleased to know that this complexity of our country is an outstanding feature at that! Despite that we are kicking & alive!Learning from other nations is most welcome but aping everything is not required. Understanding our own Endemic situation is far more important while legislating.I can say this conviction having travelled almost across the length & breadth of our motherland.
4.The biggest THREAT ( not fear mind you) you are likely to face is that of hostile litigation which can be unbridled & unfettered.It is not the fear of the law of the land but the likely blatant misuse of the portents of interpretation that can cause potential damage to the fragile nature of Trust. At the level you operate I am sure you are aware that you are an an Intermediary & not the product innovator. The quixotic situation around is that the current regulation lays the onus on the intermediary & not the innovator who understands & brings out the product.The right mix should have been the innovator certifies the product as of a certain category ( like Blue/ Brown etc.).The moot point is, has the innovator done enough to qualify the intermediary to advise on that product?. There is a yawning gap at this level which needs to be bridged.You cannot put only the intermediary in the dock for professional misconduct. The innovator is in every measure responsible to ensure that his product is sold correctly / advise rendered correctly.Can I have you views on this? I shall be obliged if you can enlighten me further on this.Let me restrict myself to this now before saying that there is a lot more that needs to be addressed.Thank you.

saurabh kumar

In Reply to Gautam Haldipur 1 year ago

ask him sir i need advice willing to take his service will he come to Samastipur Bihar

Taresh Bhatia

In Reply to Gautam Haldipur 3 years ago

Hello,
At the onset, let me say, you have views and so do others and we must respect them.
What you mentioned can be a very broad prospective which IS A BIG DEBATE!
1)I mentioned that it is better to be on the right side of the law, so we chose and we feel great about it. thats it, nothing in choosing.
2) potential in rural or urban areas is of course equally great and dont wish to advocate so vast subject. Our choice of fee based services going forward gives our clients to choose their intermediary while gaining from our knowledge, expertise, unbiased opinion at a miniscule cost
3) legislation and implementation are two different spheres, agree. of ourse huge potential accross the country and some learning is surely welcome from other countries.
4); no threat! the government has to look in to these issues.
We msut enjoy what we do and feel great about doing the same!
Having done CFP and now RIA certification brings more confidence to do what we feel is right and choose our clients meanwhile who can pay for our fees.
hope I could bring in some air while you are welcome to contact me for more discussions, thank you-Taresh

Gautam Haldipur

In Reply to Taresh Bhatia 3 years ago

Dear Tareshji,
Thank you so much for your kind, prompt & cryptic reply which I sincerely appreciate.Whilst I might agree with you on many things, I beg to differ on point 4 viz. THREAT- this will not be dealt by the government but prima facie by SEBI as a quasi judicial body & then by the Courts of the land meaning avoidable litigation.I fully agree that I have started a Full fledged debate on this, which being in Delhi, I sincerely hope you can carry to the powers that be as it is logically easier doing that. In this you can count on my support in the larger interest of the fraternity. Thank you

saurabh kumar

In Reply to Taresh Bhatia 1 year ago

very true sir

saurabh kumar

In Reply to Taresh Bhatia 1 year ago

very true sir

sreenath

3 years ago

sathyacumaran
operational head india
singapore media and channel group
thanks for sebi in imposing an strigent rule on investment advisors we as an international journalist we get quiet alot of compliants from stock brokers who cheat their client using their POA and margin funding even though the client had given for revocation of POA and margin fudning none of the broking fund had revoked and as such the client are cheated and i was one of the victim and we have raised this issue with sebi and nas and bse no response and as such i would request the money life paltform to take this issue and do justice for the media and channel personality hoe this would be considered and if you just passa word to sebi chairman or bse or nse chairman qutiomatically justice would be arrived we are sure that NGO organisation like money life has good say in the media industry in india since we donot have any local base in india we have to bring it from our platform which would be disgrace to country like india that when we expose the official corruption in sebi nse bse this would demoralsie the investing community but if your organisation take this issue in more soft manner we expect that justice could be achieved for me hope you help the fellow media persoanlity this an small obligaiton laid by singapore media and channel group

REPLY

Gautam Haldipur

In Reply to sreenath 3 years ago

May I humbly correct your perceptions of India as we go forward? Please look into the following points in depth:-
(1) Corruption is an issue which we all are fighting & is admittedly an uphill task. But making sweeping allegations like SEBI is corrupt, NSE is corrupt, officials do not apply their mind etc. are highly uncharitable remarks.I have followed the functioning of these organisations right from the time of their inception. They have fairly good mechanisms in place for problem resolution. I might admit that there are still many shortcomings on this front.You have different levels to get your grievances redressed. Kindly explore the same.
(2)From what you have written it appears that you have been into a PMS(Portfolio Management Scheme) in which POA's are given.You need to go through the fine print before you sign up for such mechanisms which can be open to abuse.You might, if you prefer ask your own safety clauses to be included which to a larger extent will keep you safer.
(3)Pure individual Financial Advisors are a different class altogether. Please note that this is a section of the Industry which as it stands today suffers a negative return today because of overzealous, one sided regulation.If you do have an issue with them in the Mutual Fund Industry, please bring it to the notice of AMFI & my guess is you will have it addressed properly, with of course a copy to SEBI, the regulator.I might agree with you that many investors could have had bad experiences.Please note that we are, as a Country, in a transition phase & are bound to have hiccups. But please be informed that the learning curve is allowing us to build in far more robust, flexible & accomodative regulatory processes than the world over.It is a fact that we, ourselves have issues which we are agitating & getting them resolved by & by.
(4)While it is within your democratic rights to have your problems resolved, may I make an humble request that reckless & unbriddled criticism across the board be avoided. Do not hound an entire breed because of a few Black Sheep ( the Black Sheep have to be brought to book without doubt).I hope you will read me in the right spirit & proceed accordingly. May I conclude with utmost profound Regards.

Gautam Haldipur

3 years ago

Dear Mr.Vivek Sharma,
Thank you for bringing out this article. All the people concerned should know the facts as they are without mudslinging at a particular group. It is a well known fact "BLACK SHEEP" do exist in every field. Just because there are a few Black Sheep in a particular industry hitting everyone below the belt is patently unjust & draconian.Let it be known that people in the Advisory Industry (if I might call it so)as it stands today are in it for the long haul. Those who were in it for quick short term gains have been spilled out of the industry by one single regulation i.e. banning upfront entry loads. The industry by default has shed itself of "fly by night operators". Those of them who continue even today (at least majority of them)are serious players who more or less understand the business very well & have hence continued with firm resolve.Now, by trying to refine them as Distributors & Advisors again separating these 2 functions is only going to compound the confusion further (just like we have EUIN across the Board instead of only for corporates who have employees). Let us remember that this might, read my lips, might hold sway in Metros where people understand the difference. What do we do with smaller towns & villages where dissemination of information is next to absent. These dual classifications will completely destroy inclusive growth envisaged by the powers that be at the village level as it will be nearly impossible to meet these requirements. As said by you the risk-reward ratio is negative & the advisor runs the risk of hostile litigation by dubious elements. Regulation per se is welcome, but it needs to be just, equitable & based on the principles of natural justice creating a level playing field for all concerned. However, if it tends to become one sided, then less said the better of it, meaning what you are seeing now; a dwindling breed of advisors / distributors.Let us not ape the west blindly, but take the best principles in them that would suit our country's endemic situation so that we have a UNIQUE LAW that makes all the stakeholders happy & conducive to each other. Our country's situation is far more complex than the west due its diversity in ethnic composition. To say the least, the western economies are EXPENDITURE ECONOMIES while we are a SAVINGS ORIENTED ECONOMY & that precisely makes a huge difference in the approach we need to have. Yes, we can imbibe what is good & suits our economy while it is equally important to peer into the pitfalls of the western economies & their laws so that we do not fall into such traps like the west.I hope I am taken in the best spirit with an open mind by all at the helm.

sathyacumaran

3 years ago

sathyacumaran
operational head india
singapore media and channel group
thanks for moneylife maiden effort in curtailing the investment advisors similarily the cheating broking houses should also be made accountable and there are many broking houses like India infoline stock broking firm where they try to pool alot of money from general public in form of non convertible debentures and the chairman also had informed that he had plans to close his share broking business and as such since we donot have solid basis india like madam Sucheta Dalal who his an PadmaSri award we request to do justice to my case help me

Boodugere Nagaraj

3 years ago

It is really surprising that even after four years, you are still waiting for the things to change. IFAs are respectable, knowledgeble and cultured lot. They have been humiliated and treated in a cheap manner. If you have any shame, come out gracefully. Enough is enough.

jaideep shirali

3 years ago

The regulator formulates rules without heeding industry voices. These rules seem to be a cut and paste job. Does any SEBI official understand the effort goes into selling investment products, especially mutual funds? Ironically, as per SEBI requirements,"Mutual fund investments are subject to market risk" and "Past performance may or may not be sustained in future..." are standard mutual fund disclaimers. So, if an investment goes wrong, who is to blame? Is it realistic to expect an investor sit through an investment interview and sign one more form, when typically, investors just sign the cheque and the form in the correct place and leave the advisor to fill in the form ? And what sort of compliance structure does an individual have? Too many questions and sadly, no answers. Yet the rules multiply, while business stagnates or dwindles.

sathyacumaran

3 years ago

sathyacumaran
operational head india
singapore media and channel
All these guidlines of SEBi or AMFI are only in paper and for publicity and not for implementation because the sebi and other govt missioneries related to capital market are one most corrupt organisation this is known to one and all that is reason why even oru FM had told when the NSE counducted some conference he had mentioned for an population like india only 2% bof the population are into capital market because of unscrupulous stock broker and controlling authrority where justice denied to individual investor as an international media and channel we are now plannig to bring this episode from our platform and we have also decided that the all the stock broking firms Compliance team never applies the law in favour of the client they are stoong of company and now we have decided that legal team of sebi and nse bse and other stock broking firms main duty is break the law and we are planning to bring it to the motice of Supreme court to derecogonise most the legal officals of stock broking firms and those related to stock markets including the IGRC team lawyers who never apply their mind would our surmise we need moneylife support

Nilesh KAMERKAR

3 years ago

Janaza uth raha tha, phir bhi taqleef thi unko aane mein . . .

Caramadre gets six years for investment scheme involving terminally ill

Judge cites "very real emotional and psychological victimization" of dying participants who took cash for assigning their death benefits to investors


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Joseph Caramadre believed he had found the Holy Grail for investors, a risk-free way to speculate in financial securities — all upside with little or no downside. All he needed to make it work were people who would soon be dead.

On Monday, in a federal courtroom in Rhode Island, the scheme ended with a six-year prison sentence for Caramadre.
 

"Joseph Caramadre saw death as a holiday, a cause for celebration, a way to make money," U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha declared on the courthouse steps downtown. "He stole the identities of people and used it to make money from companies who should have probably done more due diligence."
 

The sentencing came more than a year after Caramadre and an associate pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud charges. In part, the delay was caused by Caramadre’s failed effort to rescind that plea.
 

ProPublica wrote about Caramadre in August of 2012, describing how the Rhode Island attorney and accountant fashioned his strategy around variable annuities that carried death benefits, payable if the annuitant died.
 

Before the financial crisis, insurance companies were so eager to sell these annuity policies that they didn't check the health of policyholders. In exchange for a small amount of money, Caramadre, 53, and his associate, Raymour Radhakrishnan, 29, convinced terminally ill people to serve as "measuring lives" on the policies.
 

Caramadre then lined up investors who put in much greater sums. When the sick person died, his investors would either reap the death benefit — usually at least the initial amount invested — or any gain from the investment, whichever was greater.
 

Toward the end of the scheme, Caramadre branched out to so-called death put bonds. These also had death benefits that allowed the holder to reap the full price of the bond even if it had been purchased at a discount.
 

When prosecutors began investigating in 2009, they found family members who claimed that, while their loved ones took the money, they hadn't fully understood the scheme. There were also allegations that some terminally ill participants had been purposefully deceived about the nature of what they were signing and even in a few cases had their signatures forged. Most of the contact with the terminally ill was left to Radhakrishnan.
 

"While the nature of the victimization of the terminally ill was not monetary, it was a very real emotional and psychological victimization," U.S. District Judge William Smith said at the sentencing.
 

Smith remarked several times during the hearing, however, about how "difficult" and "complex" the case was, even suggesting that but for a few allegations it might have been a civil rather than a criminal case.
 

In court filings and publicly, Caramadre has denied the prosecution’s accusations, saying that he instructed employees to properly explain the program to the annuitants and would never countenance forgery by an employee.
 

Four days into a trial last year, Caramadre and Radhakrishnan pleaded guilty to two counts of a 66-count indictment. Shortly after that, Caramadre tried to take back the plea, blaming chronic depression and his wife's nervous breakdown.
 

Smith didn't buy the argument and sent Caramadre to jail, where he’s been for seven months. The judge said the attempted plea change was a factor in the sentence he handed down, calling it "an incredibly cynical effort to manipulate the court."
 

Smith also sentenced Radhakrishnan to a year and a day of prison time, plus six months of home detention.
 

In his heyday, Caramadre operated a successful estate planning business and gave millions to charities and politicians. Now few charities will acknowledge that he was a donor, Caramadre said at the hearing. And his contributions have become political kryptonite.
 

One investor in his scheme was Terry McAuliffe, now the Democratic governor-elect of Virginia. Caramadre briefly became a factor in the Virginia governor's race last October when The Associated Press incorrectly reported that McAuliffe had "lied to a federal official" during the Caramadre investigation.
 

The report erroneously assumed that a "T.M." mentioned in the Caramadre indictment was McAuliffe even though the person with those initials was identified in a prosecution document as having worked construction, an unlikely pursuit for McAuliffe.
 

McAuliffe subsequently donated $47,000, approximately what he had made as a passive investor in Caramadre's scheme, to the American Cancer Society. McAuliffe's campaign also donated another $27,000 that Caramadre had contributed to his candidacy.
 

Caramadre, a devout Catholic, placed ads in the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence in an attempt to find terminally ill participants.
 

The ads promised $2,000 to all who responded, and Caramadre gave that amount to as many as 135 people without enlisting them in his scheme, he said in today's hearing. Those who did participate usually received between $3,000 and $10,000.
 

Judge Smith said he will call a separate hearing to determine a restitution amount to be assessed against the defendants in the criminal case.
 

Courtesy: ProPublica.org

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