Motilal Oswal new issue closes on 5th December
Motilal Oswal Mutual Fund has launched Motilal Oswal MOSt 10-Year Gilt Fund, an open-ended gilt fund.
The investment objective of the scheme is to generate credit risk-free returns by investing in a portfolio of securities issued by the central government and state government. The new issue closes on 5 December 2011. The minimum investment amount is Rs10,000.
The 10-year Benchmark GOI Dated Security and CRISIL Gilt Index are the benchmark indices. Abhiroop Mukherjee is the fund manager.
IRDA’s guidelines on comparison websites will make it impossible for likes of PolicyBazaar.com and MyinsuranceClub.com to survive in their current form
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s (IRDA) stringent guidelines for comparison websites are seen as a deathblow for likes of PolicyBazaar.com, Myinsuranceclub.com and ApnaPaisa.com. Clamping down on advertising, ratings, endorsements or bestselling insurance products will surely help customers to get unbiased information for making a good buying decision. The main points, which will help customers, are as follows –
The main points which do not help web aggregator business are as follows –
Lead generation, which refers to website visitor information (with approval) being sold to insurance companies for pursuing sales was the main business of comparison websites. The commissions for many online products were negligible, but revenues were generated from advertising. They earned Rs80-Rs100 per lead with quality leads sold to one insurer even fetching Rs200 to Rs250. IRDA regulating the financial remuneration will cut-off all sources of money being passed for wrong reasons and bringing the lead generation to Rs10 will wipe out the business.
Deepak Yohannan, chief executive officer, MyInsuranceClub.com has a balanced view of the guidelines. According to him, “Approved channel from the regulator will give confidence to the customers. The insurance industry will take the channel seriously. Banning advertising, ratings, endorsements or bestsellers is also positive step. IRDA was very receptive of our views and gave us a patient hearing.”
“Lead payment of Rs10 is impractical and impossible. One Google click costs more than Rs10 and it takes 10 clicks to generate a lead. If my cost is Rs100, how can I sell for Rs10 to maximum three insurers? If IRDA had allowed Rs50 per lead, it may have been viable considering three insurers may buy the lead. Moreover, getting 25% of the commission when brokers/agents get 100% of commission is also unfair. We want to display information of all the insurers’ products. Why will all insurers pay Rs1 lakh per year when they can get it for free?” he said.
PolicyBazaar.com, the leader in the web aggregation business, is also an unhappy camper. Akshay Mehrotra, chief marketing officer, PolicyBazaar.com, said, “The guidelines will result in companies like us almost not to function. We used to specify which product is bestselling, but we cannot do it anymore. How can IRDA stop public opinion on product feedback? It is vested interest of some insurers who don’t want comparison websites.”
“We make for 70% of online insurance sales today which helps in reducing distribution costs of insurance companies. We had suggested to IRDA for allowing Rs100 per lead. Why should I get only Rs10 per lead and 25% of the commission? Is it legitimate regulation? It is like telling us to shut down our business. We may have to change the business model to not sell leads or go out of business,” he added.
PFC has published names, complete addresses, telephone or mobile numbers and email IDs of around 1.2 lakh individuals, which raises several questions of privacy and investor protection
In yet another instance that proves the government and its units are insensitive to issues of transparency and privacy, Power Finance Corp (PFC) has published complete data of its investors on the web. This too when, concerns are being raised about the government's unique identification (UID) program that not only collects detailed information, but also takes biometric data like iris and finger scans. This UID data is accessible for anyone who is associated with the UID Authority of India (UIDAI) as registrar.
In a stunning case of placing private data out in the public domain PFC, which collected money from investors for its infrastructure bonds, has published names, addresses, telephone or mobile numbers and email IDs of around 1.2 lakh individuals. The revelation of this data has angered several investors. "I was not aware of my personal data being uploaded on the website. This is a clear violation of my privacy," says a Mumbai-based investor.
This is surprising, especially when last year Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee rejected a proposal from National Intelligence Grid (NatGrid) to access details of all bank accounts. Mr Mukherjee, in a hand written note, had warned that intrusion into the privacy of bank depositors will discredit the banking system and people will start using other modes for securing their funds.
However, either PFC is not aware of the Finance Minister’s opinion or does not understand the difference between transparency in its operations and violating personal privacy.
Currently, the UIDAI is under heavy criticism on privacy issues, use of biometrics and the incentives being paid for enrolling more residents. Many voices have been raised against the forceful implementation of the UID project, with most objections focused on concerns over privacy. Advocate and activist Kamayani Bali Mahabal, who started petitioning Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh against UID scheme or Aadhaar, said, "Privacy law is still being made, and until it is in place, the UIDAI should not be doing what it is, and it certainly cannot be allowed to share information as it proposes to do under the 'information consent' clause in its form."
Although, the Constitution does not explicitly specify privacy rights, the Supreme Court in a landmark judgement (Unni Krishnan, J.P & Ors. Etc., versus State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors,) on 4 February 1993, had ruled that "This Court has held that several un-enumerated rights fall within Article (21) since personal liberty is of widest amplitude."
We sent a mail to PFC officials, who assured us that the mail has been forwarded to concerned department and they will act upon the issue at the earliest.