The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is finalising anti-money laundering guidelines for brokers and mutual funds (MFs) to put in place stronger checks against possible cleansing of funds through capital markets. The guidelines require brokers, MFs, merchant bankers, depositories, depository participants, portfolio managers and investment advisors, to adhere to specified client-servicing procedures and maintain records for regulatory or investigative references. Market entities are also required to seek disclosures from their clients to address the concerns of money laundering and suspicious transactions. Some steps taken to check money laundering activities in the capital market include: a strict KYC (know your client) regime, mandatory requirement of PAN (permanent account number) and in-person verification of clients.
In another example of cartelisation among bankers, several banks have increased, or started imposing, charges for transaction alerts through SMS as well as for mobile banking. Some banks have hiked the annual fees on debit/credit cards. A few banks have even increased charges for depositing cash in bank accounts. As usual, private lenders have taken the lead which would soon be followed by nationalised banks. The list includes large banks such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Canara Bank.