High returns in less time is trouble, SEBI said in its campaign, while asking investors to check the investment scheme details carefully before investing
As it clamps down on fraudsters duping gullible investors of their hard-earned money, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is stepping up efforts to make the public aware about the grievance redressal mechanism available to them and safeguards against high-return claims.
The market regulator is looking to expand its investor education and awareness programmes through various platforms, including radio and TV advertisements, wherein its focus areas would include Investor Grievance Redressal Mechanism and Collective Investment Schemes.
Besides, SEBI plans to launch mass media campaigns on topics such as promotion of mutual funds as an available investment option for small investors, a senior official said.
During the current fiscal ending this month, SEBI has already undertaken an all-out mass media campaign to make the public aware about troubles of investing on hearsay and in pursuit of high returns in less time.
SEBI has been pursuing a massive Investor Education and Awareness Campaign since December 2012 through media on relevant topics of investor awareness.
As part of the campaign, advertisements are released through popular media such as TV, radio and print (newspapers) and are carried at pan-India basis in Hindi, English and 11 major regional languages.
So far, the campaign on topics like ‘Grievance Redress Mechanism’ and ‘Collective Investment Scheme’ have covered more than 90,000 TVC spots, more than 40,000 radio spots and over 600 print editions.
Using various media, including TV, radio and print, the SEBI has been specially targeting the collective investment schemes (CIS) wherein investors are promised doubling of their investments within a few months, or guaranteed fixed returns for their entire life after investing some thousands or lakhs of rupees.
For the maximum impact, SEBI had roped in professional agencies for these campaigns and have made them in as many as 13 languages — Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu, besides Hindi and English.
These campaigns were used all over the country with special focus on states like West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, where a large number of investors are affected by such schemes.
“Invest thousands. Earn lakhs in no time. How is this even possible?” SEBI said in one of its CIS campaigns.
“High returns in less time are trouble,” the regulator said, while asking the investors to check the investment scheme details carefully before investing.
In another campaign, SEBI sought to bust one of the most commonly used tactics by those selling such fraudulent scheme, where they cite the example of someone very close having doubled the money in no time.
SEBI has also been cautioning investors through its investor education meetings across the country.
A large number of such fraudulent activities, many of which are in nature of Ponzi schemes wherein money is collected from a large number of investors and new investors’ money is used to give returns to some previous clients till the operator runs away, have come to light in recent years.
While more than 500 such schemes have already faced SEBI’s ire for defrauding investors, thousands others of significant sizes and scales are estimated to be functional in different parts of the country.