SEBI moves SC over ULIPs; notices issued to Centre, 14 insurers

A bench headed by Justice SH Kapadia also sought response from some PIL litigants who have raised the issue concerning ULIPs in various High Courts

The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre and 14 life insurers on a petition by market regulator SEBI seeking transfer of cases from High Courts relating to Unit-linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs), reports PTI.

SEBI is locked in a turf battle with insurance regulator IRDA over who has jurisdiction over ULIPs.

A bench headed by Justice SH Kapadia also sought response from some PIL litigants who have raised the issue concerning ULIPs in various High Courts.

During a brief hearing, when the petition filed by SEBI was mentioned by Attorney General GE Vahanvati, the bench questioned SEBI’s move to file the petition before the apex court.

“SEBI is in Mumbai, insurance companies are in Mumbai, LIC is in Mumbai,” the bench remarked and indicated that the matter could have been heard by the Bombay High Court.

The Attorney General, in his submission, said that the issue of jurisdiction too has to be settled by the apex court.

The bench said, basically, both the regulators are fighting and wondered “why not appoint a super regulator.” It later posted the matter for hearing on 8th July.

The dispute over jurisdiction of ULIPs between SEBI and IRDA snowballed into a major controversy after the market regulator banned 14 life insurers from raising any further money from ULIPs unless they are registered with the market watchdog.

Responding to SEBI’s directive, IRDA asked insurance companies to ignore the order of the market regulator and continue with business as usual.

Amid the conflicting orders, the finance ministry brokered peace between the two regulators and asked them to jointly seek a legally binding order from an “appropriate” court over jurisdiction on ULIPs. Till then, status quo ante was restored.

Following the government directive, SEBI allowed insurers to raise money from existing ULIPs, but asked them not to issue fresh ULIPs after 9th April—the date when it issued the order banning 14 life insurance companies from raising funds through ULIPs.

ULIPs are insurance products but part of the premium raised through them is invested in the stock market. While SEBI regulates the stock market, the working of the insurance companies is overseen by IRDA.


Frooti: Playing pranks

The intent appears sound, but the execution leaves you cold

'Mango Frooti, fresh and juicy', used to be the hackneyed punch line for Frooti for many, many years. Though it must have worked for the brand, for we still recall it. But realising that the line is long past its expiry date, makers of Frooti have repositioned the brand with a new thought: ‘Why grow up?'. It is clearly an attempt to make the brand more fun and playful, and transport it into the world of laughter and pranks. While the message in itself has nothing to do with mangoes per se (no point, there are already too many mango drinks in the market), the idea is to inject the stagnating brand with some attitude and distinctiveness.
And so they have come up with the 'Juicy mango surprise’ project. What this campaign features is a series of non-scripted commercials. A huge mango prototype (hope it’s made out of extremely light material!) gets dropped on unsuspecting passers-by. On the streets and gardens and other public places. Hidden cameras capture the laughter and masti the prank generates. And the footage then gets edited and converted into TV commercials. The marketer hopes that the prank will deliver attitude, and the mango replica will remind the drinkers that Frooti is still a mango drink. 
Here’s my problem with the idea: While the intent appears sound, the execution leaves you cold. The commercials aren’t really funny. You will smile a bit when you first watch a commercial, when some uncles and aunties do a double-take as a missile gets dropped near them. But soon the humour fades, predictability sets in, and the commercials lose steam. In fact, the so-called prank has a very limited potential for a long run, so one wonders where this idea is really headed.

Also, the marketers need to be careful in this ‘reality show’. In these terror-infested times, some weak-hearted dadaji could mistake the giant mango for a deadly bomb, and the resultant hysteria and panic may trigger damage rather than laughter.
Having said the above, one must give credit to the makers of Frooti and its advertising agency for at least daring to think out of the box. The idea is gimmicky and its future uncertain, but one should laud the unusual attempt at creating ads that break the clutter and smash the routine method of creating ads. Should be an interesting case study for other advertisers. Let’s keep an eye and observe what degree of success the brand achieves with this campaign. Though, as I said, I have serious doubts on its efficacy in the long run.



naveen singh

6 years ago

your promotion is not so good in rural areas

A weak rally

Strong global cues and falling domestic inflation helped to prop up bourses. But the short-term trend still points towards a dip

The market was up today, taking a cue from global bourses. The Sensex ended at 17,503, higher by 123 points (0.7%) and the Nifty ended at 5,254, higher by 38 points (0.7%). The bourse started the day with a surge, but soon pared its gains. It rebounded in the mid-morning session and traded in a narrow range till afternoon. At the late trading session, it was on a strong note and touched the intraday high of 17,532.

Asian stocks edged lower in volatile trade. Key benchmark indices in South Korea, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong were down by 0.32% and 1.1%. Key benchmark indices in Singapore and Indonesia rose 0.78% to 0.5%. Japanese markets were closed for the Showa Day holiday, and will remain closed Monday-Wednesday next week for local holidays. US markets edged higher on Wednesday (28th April), on the bullish stance taken by the Federal Reserve on the US economy, and employment prospects gave some relief to investors worried about possible debt defaults in Europe. Stocks were down earlier in the day after S&P downgraded its debt rating on Spain, a day after its downgrades on Greece and Portugal. The Dow gained 53 points (0.48%), to 11,045. The S&P 500 rose 7 points (0.65%) to 1,191 and the Nasdaq added 0.26 points (0.01%), to 2,471.

Closer home, the annual food price index eased in mid-April. However, the fuel price index went up. The food price index rose 16.61% in the 12 months to 17th April, lower than an annual rise of 17.65% in the previous week, government data showed on Thursday. The fuel price index rose an annual 12.69%, marginally higher than the previous week’s reading of 12.45%. Expectation of a normal monsoon and good harvest in the winter season has helped food prices to soften. The wholesale price index in March touched a 17-month high at 9.9%. The rise in inflation can be attributed to supply-side pressure as the poor monsoon last year dampened the harvest. Prime minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani met for the first time in nine months. A positive outcome of the meeting could help to reduce the tension between the two nations. 

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs131 crore. Domestic institutional investors were net buyers of Rs324 crore. The rupee was strong on firm equity markets, but month-end dollar buying limited its gains. HDFC’s (up 0.7%) board will consider a stock-split. NHPC (up 0.9%) has signed a joint venture agreement with SJVN and Manipur for setting up a 1,500MW hydroelectric power project. NHPC will hold 69% of the joint venture, SJVN will hold 26%, and the rest will be held by the Manipur government.  

SpiceJet (up 1.8%) has received an investment proposal from US investment fund Bravia Capital Partners to help the low-cost airline launch international operations. GAIL (down 1.2%) unit, GAIL Gas, is reportedly aiming to earn Rs150 crore in revenue over the next two years by expanding its network of natural gas distribution in cities. Reliance Cementation, Reliance Infrastructure’s unit (up 0.9%) plans to set up a Rs-1,500 crore cement plant in Karnataka. NTPC (down 1.4%) plans to set up at least three 4,000MW power plants in Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh beginning December 2010.   Manaksia (up 5%) has touched a 52-week high on the back of its buyback plan. It has set aside up to Rs50 crore for share buyback from the open market through stock exchanges.

MindTree (down 10%) plans to invest about $10 million-$12 million to develop Intellectual Property (IP) for a 3G smartphone based on Google’s Android platform to be launched in the second half of the year ending March 2011.


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