MCX directly contacts customers about MF Global payouts

In a remarkable effort to protect traders and ensure systematic balance, MCX contacts MF Global customers directly whether payments have been credited. Will National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange, which always take a hands-off attitude to the problems of investors, traders and members, learn from this?

Commodity traders who trade in the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) and requested to withdraw money lying with MF Global have been getting strange calls from officials of the exchange. MF Global is a member of MCX and the Indian arm of the bankrupt global firm. Traders are being called to ask whether they have asked for a withdrawal of a certain amount from MF Global and whether the money has actually been credited to their account. When asked about the reason behind this strange call, the exchange official clarified: “MF Global is claiming that they promptly issuing cheques to any customer who is requesting withdrawals. We are calling customers to verify whether they have actually got the money.”
In the Indian context, this is an extraordinary effort from an exchange.
While MF Global has gone bankrupt internationally, the Indian unit is functioning as of now. However, there are concerns about MF Global’s viability in customers’ minds given that the US unit was involved in misusing customer money for proprietary trades. When Moneylife asked Vineet Bhatnagar about the safety of customer money and continuing operations of MF Global in India, he kept mum. The only information about MF Global’s operations came from a plant in CNBC TV18, which was dutifully reproduced in the Mint newspaper. In that, Mr Bhatnagar seemed to answer conveniently structured questions, making the answers sound like a self-serving corporate communiqué. Clearly, MCX’s calls to individual traders whether their cheques have been credited, have been of great help.

To understand how extraordinary the effort of MCX is, just consider how the two national stock exchanges behave. While price rigging and insider trading are rampant, the exchanges are quick to give a short shrift to individual investors about their complaints against brokers and listed companies. Often questions about the patently anti-investor moves of listed companies are ignored. Companies are able to leak selectively information in the media and get away without offering clarification when asked. Brokers easily milk their customers, walking away without paying any price. The exchanges were absolutely silent about the gross abuse of power of attorney by brokers through the boom years of 2006-08. Tens of thousands of investors have got disgusted and left the market, unable to get justice from the exchange, which are supposed to be the first line of regulation. Even members’ problems are dragged on for years and confirmed cases of wrongdoing are not penalised. The only time you hear exchanges talking about investors, is when they want to dip into investor protection fund for worthless events or indulge in tokenism like flagging off Rajdhani trains that supposedly reach out to ‘investors’.

Set against this, it is quite remarkable that MCX, by far the dominant commodity exchange, has gone out of its way to directly talk to customers when the parent company of one of its members, ran into trouble. But, of course, unless there is competition, don’t expect either the National Stock Exchange (NSE) or Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) to step down from their ivory towers and emulate MCX.


Media: Introspection & Paid News

Is media aware of what its audience thinks?

The new chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), Justice Markandey Katju, has raised hackles across the media with his sweeping generalisation about the low quality of the Indian media and its poor intellectual standards. Actually, Justice Katju’s comments would apply equally to the mainstream media in many countries, but what ought to worry the Indian media greatly is the public reaction to the PCI chief’s comments.

One television survey showed that 74% of viewers supported Justice Katju’s views. Comments on Twitter, Facebook and blogs also show overwhelming support for the judge’s views. Even earlier, the movie Peepli Live had captured, with chilling accuracy, the daily farce enacted on national television in the name of breaking news or covering issues. Brokering News, a documentary produced by Umesh Aggarwal for the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, further exposes how paid news has penetrated business, politics, entertainment and sports.

Unfortunately, media owners and advertisers have failed to notice the viewer/reader’s revulsion. They have reacted to shrinking viewership by dumbing down news, cutting costs on grass-roots reporting and investigation and substituting it with noisy and pointless debates. Strangely, even regulators have not recognised the larger impact of fake news. SEBI passed the buck of dealing with private treaties (between media and corporate house) to the PCI, but failed to notice that investors, lured into making wrong investment decisions, have quietly eschewed financial products and prefer to keep their money in bank deposits. Will Justice Katju’s comment, which also holds the threat of action, force the media to introspect? The first hint of this is a collective decision to cover the birth of Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan’s baby with some decorum and sobriety. Let’s wait and watch how this turns out. 



Nagesh Kini FCA

5 years ago

Justice Katju calls a spade a spade and not a shovel even he was on the Bench. Perhaps he is in the right place as Chairman PCI. He may not be liked by the media bosses but we do need him to rein in the "Breaking News" of the wrong type. It has replaced the "Stop Press" of the written days.
The SRK/Kundra spat makes for front pages as well as their so-called 'reconciliation'!

S H Subrahmanian

6 years ago

The new chairman of PCI (Press Council of India) has indeed made very valuable comments. The barons have now joined, naturally, to protest against the recent Apex Court's requirement of Rs 100 Cr deposit!
Let's hope for better days with at least good reading!
Is it any big inconvenient for the 'the old lady of Boribunder'? Today I got the Delhi edition (due to Power failure in Kandivli) and it was naturally disgusting. 'As desired,let's appreciate, her commitment to serve us!


6 years ago

A lot of "News" in India depends on the views of the old lady of Boribunder, officially available on payment. As long as the Aunty is on sale to bidders for slanted news and willing to cut a deal, the rest of the ladies in media do not have much of a choice. In a country where people care about such cheating, the owners would have been hauled up by the courts and the parliament and forced to be honest about distinguishing news and advertisements.

There's also the matter of largess from governments in the form of Vanity advertising, where public money is squandered on frequent full page colour advertisements with mugshots of political leaders and long TV programs praising their achievements. The quid pro quo is so blatantly obvious and you cannot expect the Media beneficiaries to protest against this wanton waste of money that ought to have gone into improving the quality of life of the poor people of India, instead of funding the lavish lifestyles of our media barons and baronesses.

Rambabu Shastri

6 years ago

We all know that the news is bought and sold by all media organizations. Compared to Hindustan Times, the Times of India news is not as good and precise. There are the treaties too that the Times of India signs with companies for ads and all, and ensures that they do not get mentioned in the event of adverse publicity.

The TV channels in India do not have reporting sense. An item is flogged to death to such an extent that it is only sensationalized, rather than reported. Cases in example include the Arushi murder case in UP, the Times Now coverage of Anna Hazare's fasts, the Times Now talk shows led by Arnab each evening. Someone in Parliament did make a direct reference to the way he conducts his talk shows. More drivel and cross-examination based on non-sensical facts dervied by splitting hairs. How much soever we write to the Times about his unprofessional approach, nothing gets done, because the babies that holler the most always get the milk first.


6 years ago

We all know very well that as far as politics is concerned most of the media is controlled by the congress. Had any BJP led government been involved in so many scams as this UPA is then there woiuld have been a huge hue and cry, every editor in chief would have asekd BJP PM to go, Tehelka would have made couple of (fake) exposes and all the TV media would have run them day after day year after year reminding people how BJP govt is bad and anti people and corrupt and so on. But still on major news channels we see more people including the news anchors supporting this corrpt congress led UPA. Channels like NDTV, Star news, IBN7, Timesnow, Newspapers like Indian exp, TOI etc are surely on the payrolls of the congress. It is very apparent to the common man. Hope the media realises that we, the common people are not fools to believe everything that they say.

S H Subrahmanian

6 years ago

Media is certainly unaware of what the audience thinks. Justice Katju, the new chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), is rather worried about the low quality of the media and its poor intellectual standards. "It doesn't have adequate knowledge of economic theory or
political science or literature or philosophy", he says. A TV survey reports 74% of viewers supporting these views. Let me too subscribe to this to an extent. His pleading of more
powers to the PCI is indeed a threat of action, and it will certainly force the media to introspect. You're right with the reference of the celebrity baby of Bachan family!
True, we may have better days. Is it that always there must a "Breaking News" all through the day! Paid news hasn't left any field.
Could we, the readers and viewers, instead of remaining mere spectators, become watch dogs?
I just read a few days back a news: "Satyam's Ramalinga Raju has replaced Vinod Rai as CAG". I simply felt it's just possible! It was indeed a satire and for me to know I had to see the fine prints!
The bucks always stop at the PM's doors. Politicization of everything is a daily affair. Institutions aren't left alone to do the job. MM Joshi's PAC was not allowed to submit its report! I wonder whether, in the event of a Lokpal Act any time now is going to be effective at all? First the selection and composition is of importance. Can a 21 member body do what a three member panel can do?
There's no interest in expediting reports and implementation. To jeopardise Anna's Jan Lokpal, attempts are on to taste multi bodies' theory, one each for each necessity- whistle blowers' bill et al.
Karuna meets the PM and Sonia just to try for bail to Kani! Media didn't fail to bring it in "Breaking News"! Nuclear Power projects are doomed for failure. Media owners have always an axe to grind. They're least bothered about the viewers/readers' comforts. Will Times of India, holding interest in HDFC, ever write against their activities?
Yet, if the suggestion is for a 'heavy bureaucratic set up', it's a matter for a national debate.

Resurgere: Underground

How does this company escape investigation?

No amount of ‘investor education’ will...

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