SEBI: External Agencies for Investor Education

SEBI has planned to engage external agencies to provide it with manpower on contract basis to work on its investor education activities, creating awareness about investment products and handling their grievances. SEBI currently requires 13 officials at various levels across Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Indore, at posts of supervisors, data-entry operators, facilitators, attendants and grievances-tracking and dispatch communication desks. This move will amount to nothing because investors are poorly served by SEBI’s existing system of grievance redress, called SCORES, as Moneylife has repeatedly pointed out.

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NPS: Relaxed Norms for PSU Employees

The government may relax norms for facilitating employees of Central public sector undertakings (CPSUs) to join the New Pension Scheme (NPS). Under the existing guidelines, if an employee does not have a minimum 15 years of service, he/ she cannot join the NPS. This rule may be relaxed. Before NPS was launched, government employees could not get pension if they had less than 20 years of service. When the government notified the guidelines for NPS, they did away with this criterion. Meanwhile, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority, or PFRDA, has allowed pension funds to invest in mutual fund units and bonds of infrastructure debt funds (IDF) having a minimum credit rating of ‘AA’, from at least two credit rating agencies.

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ETF as Investment for Insurance Firms

Following deliberations between the finance ministry and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), the regulator will soon notify exchange traded funds as an investment product for insurance firms, according to media reports. The move is expected to help the government tap into the huge resources of insurance companies and to ensure long-term investments through this mode. We are not sure whether the move would be beneficial to the government. Moneylife believes that ETFs are trading products while insurance companies are required to invest for the long term. Many ETFs are not liquid enough to accommodate the large liquidity needs of insurance companies, especially when they want to sell.

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