Personal finance Wednesday

MoneyGram and Bank of Baroda to offer remittances; Fidelity MF unveils Fixed Maturity Plan Series IV-Plan B; ICICI Pru MF changes benchmark indices for Advisor Series; IDFC Mutual Fund revises exit load for Ultra Short Term Fund Karvy Computershare launches "K-ATOM" to provide MF services on mobile phones

MoneyGram and Bank of Baroda to offer remittances

MoneyGram International and Bank of Baroda have joined forces to provide global money transfer services. Bank of Baroda will soon offer MoneyGram money transfer services at 2,000 locations across India.

"We are glad to add MoneyGram services to our Bank branches in key locations specifically in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Vadodara, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kerala, Kolkata, and Mumbai," said  NS Srinath, executive director of Bank of Baroda. The service would be available in a month's time. An individual can receive total 12 transactions in a year.

Fidelity MF unveils Fixed Maturity Plan Series IV-Plan B

Fidelity Mutual Fund has launched Fidelity Fixed Maturity Plan Series IV-Plan B, a close-ended income scheme.

The investment objective of the plan is to generate reasonable returns and reduce interest rate volatility primarily through investment in money market and short to mid term debt instruments having maturity, on or before the date of maturity of a plan. The tenure of Plan B shall be 94 days from the date of allotment.

The new fund offer opens on 24th November and closes on 25th November. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000. The exit load for the scheme is nil.

The plan will be benchmarked against CRISIL Liquid Fund Index. The plan will be managed by Shriram Ramanathan and Mahesh Chhabria (assistant fund manager).

ICICI Pru MF changes benchmark indices for Advisor Series

ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund has changed the benchmark indices for ICICI Prudential Advisor Series with effect from 24th November.

For Very Cautious Plan under the scheme, 70% of the proposed allocation will be benchmarked against CRISIL Composite Bond Fund Index and 30% against CRISIL Liquid Fund Index.

For Cautious Plan, 20% of the proposed allocation will be benchmarked against S&P CNX Nifty, 60% against CRISIL Composite Bond Fund Index, 10% against CRISIL Liquid Fund Index and 10% against Gold.

For Moderate Plan, 40% of the proposed allocation will be benchmarked against S&P CNX Nifty, 40% against Composite Bond Fund Index, 10% against CRISIL Liquid Fund Index and 10% against Gold.

For Aggressive Plan, 50% of the proposed allocation will be benchmarked against S&P CNX Nifty, 30% against Composite Bond Fund Index, 5% against CRISIL Liquid Fund Index and 15% against Gold.

For Very Aggressive Plan, 75% of the proposed allocation will be benchmarked against S&P CNX Nifty, 5% against Composite Bond Fund Index, 5% against CRISIL Liquid Fund Index and 15% against Gold.

IDFC Mutual Fund revises exit load for Ultra Short Term Fund

IDFC Mutual Fund has revised the exit load structure for IDFC Ultra Short Term Fund with effect from 24th November. Accordingly, the exit load for all investment including SIP/Micro SIP/STP shall be 1% of the applicable net asset value (NAV) if redeemed/switched out within 31 days from the allotment date. 
Karvy Computershare launches "K-ATOM" to provide MF services on mobile phones

Karvy Computershare has launched easy to use mobile interface K-ATOM (KarvyMFS Any Time On Mobile). This will enable mutual fund investors to access latest net asset values (NAVs), trigger a mail back request for an account statement or request for a consolidated statement, locate closest Karvy Investor Service Center and do much more with a simple click of their mobile phone.
The new facility also comes as an added advantage to the distributors of MF who can now access the official consolidated account statements of their distributed MF and therefore extend upon their 'goodwill' service towards their investors. 




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OMG! Impersonation sparks off a war on the Net

Impersonation on the Internet is creating dangerous distrust among major groups operating on the worldwide web. Now RTI activists bothered by this problem are taking the matter to the police

Impersonation is not a new thing. For ages, impersonators have been imitating or copying the behaviour or actions of others. However, when someone impersonates someone on the Internet and starts sending e-mails, by posting comments using the other person's name and e-mail ID, it becomes a serious matter.

Of late, many activists-especially those working on the right to information (RTI) platform-are finding that their e-mails and names are being used to send messages and post comments on the Internet. This is not only leading to misunderstanding but also creating hatred between the receiver and the sender whose name has been used. Impersonators are not even sparing deceased members and are using their names and e-mail IDs. Some RTI activists, including journalists, plan to file complaints with the cyber crime cell of the police.

One RTI activist alleged that a post on the RTI group contained an attachment that was a malware (a short name for malicious software, designed to secretly access a computer system without the owner's informed consent) or spyware. According to some members who opened the file, this may have been another attempt to keep track of the online activities of the activists in this group.

The use of spyware and the impersonation phenomena itself appears to be a battle for supremacy between some non-governmental organisations (NGOs). However, asking members of one group to subscribe mandatorily to other groups and making their e-mail IDs freely available to every member is not the way groups are operated on the Internet.

There is a specific group, HumJanenge-on Google-which has created a web of interconnected groups. Therefore, even if someone unsubscribes from the particular group, he/she continues to receive e-mails through the interlinked network of some real and some fake RTI groups.

What is more shocking, originally HumJanenge was on the Yahoo domain. Some time later, someone (he/she is still not ready to reveal the real ID, yet) set up a group on Google using the same name. This person, or group of persons acting in concert, decided to share member lists from the Yahoo group with the Google group. The reason? They claimed this was being done to create alternates or backups on Google just in case Yahoo decided to close the groups. This appears false, as neither Google nor Yahoo have said or hinted at closing any group or groups in their domain.

When some members tried to log out from the groups, they found, to their shock, that they were being asked to subscribe to three or four other groups.

According to informed sources, the 'alleged' impersonation of some members was a software glitch in early days of HumJanenge Google group. The emails to the HumJanenge group on Yahoo domain were forwarded to the Google group. The offending source IDs have been removed and there is no likelihood of recurrence of this problem, the sources added.

"Adversaries have been successful in using the 'divide and rule' policy. Those who want to curb the activities of RTI activists have been making these insertions deep and cleaving us, very successfully. In the past 15 days, I have received emails pertaining to accusations and counter accusations. Deliberate explanations and counter explanations. Where are we headed in this melee?" asked one member from an RTI group.

Some possible solutions

The problem of impersonation on the Internet is somewhat difficult to deal with. It is compounded by the fact that it is not easy to identify people from the limited interaction on telephone and on the Internet and verification is dependent on the computer. But there are a few things those who are bothered by this problem can do, to deal with the issue, or at least minimise the bother.

For a start, people who have found instances of impersonation should approach the police and file a case with the cyber crime cell. Similarly, lodge a complaint against the owner or moderator of the group with the domain owner-Google, Yahoo, or whichever. Google and Yahoo have offices in India and the contact details are available on their sites.

In case one has no way of avoiding such messages or attachments coming to the group, it is necessary to install a good anti-virus, malware/spyware detector on your computer. Some effective anti-virus, malware/spyware removers are available on the Internet free of cost, besides the commonly used Norton and McAfee computer security systems. lists the following facilities: Top free anti-virus software - AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011, Avast Free Antivirus; Top free malware/spyware remover: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Ad-Aware Free Internet Security.


Kotak says pension costs to be 10% of PSU banks’ net-worth

Kotak believes that the impact of pension costs is likely to be about 10% of banks’ net-worth and is likely to be provided through the P&L over the next 5 years; high RoA/RoEs are sufficient to absorb the extra cost

In a report released to its clients yesterday, Kotak Institutional Equities Research said that the underlying liability for pension for banks is likely to be about 10% of their FY12 book but will probably be provided through P&L over five years. It believes that every employee is likely to generate a pension liability of approximately Rs1.4 million against earlier estimates of Rs1.1 million.

Indian Bank has the lowest liability at just 7% of net-worth, followed by SBI at 9.6%, and BoB, OBC, and PNB between 10% and 11%. UCO, United Bank, Central Bank of India and Vijaya Bank's liabilities are above 20% of net-worth.

The report points out that in many cases, data is diverging from the banks' existing estimates. "We see discrepancies in the data reported by banks on their estimated shortfall despite them assuming close to full conversion of employees to pension option."
According to Kotak, the highest growth in staff expenses is expected to be for BoI and BoB while the lowest is IOB and Union Bank.


Kotak said in its report that while it maintains its positive outlook on public sector banks, near-term headwinds exist. "On a structural basis, we are comfortable that public sector banks will deliver higher RoEs of about 20%, with select banks well over 20%." It believes that the recent announcement of capital infusion largely in the form of preference shares will result in structurally higher RoEs. However, it says that uncertainty will prevail until the final pension liability is announced along with any amortising benefit.

In the current form, banks and employees contribute equally during the service period of the employee and in return he/she gets a set pension after retirement. However, most PSU banks had not provided for higher gratuity. In the last budget, the Gratuity Act was amended and employees can now get up to Rs1 million on retirement against the Rs300,000 cap earlier.

About a couple of days ago, SBI employees had planned to go on a strike to demand that their pension be brought on par with that of nationalised banks. The strike was called off when the government agreed to their demands. While about 170,000 employees, including 60,000 officers, would benefit with a higher pension retrospectively from 1st November of 2007, this is expected to strain SBI's balance sheet.

(This article is based on secondary research. The report is for information only. None of the stock information, data and company information presented herein constitutes a recommendation or solicitation of any offer to buy or sell any securities. Investors must do their own research and due diligence before acting on any security. Some of the opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and may not necessarily represent those of Moneylife).


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