While passing an order banning ULIPs late on Friday night, SEBI said the entities have not obtained any registration from the regulator though the ULIPs were in the nature of collective investment schemes like mutual funds
The move of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to unexpectedly ban 14 major private insurance companies, including SBI Life, ICICI Prudential and Tata AIG, from selling Unit-linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs), will open up legal battles, level the playing field between mutual funds and insurance companies somewhat, slow down the scorching growth of insurance companies and stymie the plans of several insurance companies to go public.
“We are examining all legal options. The matter is certain to end up in the court,” said the head of a large insurance company, reacting to the SEBI move. Curiously, while banning 14 insurance companies, SEBI has left out Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), by far India’s largest insurer. LIC is owned by the government and has been used by the government to push through large disinvestments of public sector companies for which public and institutional appetite was lacking.
While passing an order banning ULIPs late on Friday night, SEBI said the entities have not obtained any registration from the regulator though the ULIPs were in the nature of collective investment schemes like mutual funds.
"I hereby direct the entities... not to issue any offer document, advertisement, brochure soliciting money from investors or raise money from investors by way of new or additional subscription for any product (including ULIPs) having an investment component in the nature of mutual funds, till they obtain the requisite certificate of registration from SEBI," said Prashant Saran, wholetime SEBI member in an order.
The insurance companies against whom SEBI passed an order are Aegon Religare Life, Aviva Life, Bajaj Allianz, Bharti AXA, Birla Sunlife, HDFC Standard Life, ING Vysya Life, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life, Max New York Life, Metlife India and Reliance Life, apart from SBI Life, ICICI Prudetial and Tata AIG. The SEBI order will put a brake on the scorching growth of ULIPs, which combine investment with insurance. A few months back, SEBI had sent letters to several life companies asking them why they were selling investment products without its approval. Companies had responded that insurance laws permit them to offer investment product with a life insurance policy. In its final order SEBI said, “I find that the entities by their own admission have stated that there are two components of ULIPs— an insurance component where the risk on the life insurance portion vests with the insurer and the investment component where the risk lies with the investor. This establishes conclusively that UlLIPs are a combination product and the investment component need to be registered with and regulated by SEBI”.
ULIPs have been a hot-selling product. The total first-year premium underwritten by the life insurance industry has grown 15% between February 2009 to January 2010. Almost 80%-90% of this comes from ULIPs. Only a small part of this actually ensures insurance cover, inviting charges of mis-selling.
SEBI’s move will halt the plans of life insurance promoters who have sunk in over Rs26,000 crore in capital and would like to extract some of this through public issues. Insurance companies will have to land up in the doorstep of SEBI to have their prospectuses cleared. Even before that they have to win a legal battle of ULIP that now seems inevitable.
According to experts at various global consulting firms, financial year 2010-11 comes with huge job opportunities across sectors and different hierarchical levels in companies
A windfall awaits those looking for lucrative employment avenues with just four sectors—IT, telecom, banking and healthcare—expected to generate over five lakh jobs by March next year, experts said.
According to experts at various global consulting firms, financial year 2010-11 comes with huge job opportunities across sectors and different hierarchical levels in companies.
“Banking, telecom and information technology (IT) are the top three sectors where hiring intensity and volumes are significant. The overall hiring for IT is expected to be 1,50,000 professionals for fiscal 2011," Kelly Services' managing director Kamal Karanth told PTI.
Both global consultancy Ernst & Young and workforce solutions provider Kelly Services, expect the telecom sector to generate over one lakh jobs this fiscal.
Kelly Services expects healthcare and banking sectors to provide around 2.5 lakh and 40,000 jobs, respectively, in FY11.
“Some other sectors that are likely to lead hiring in 2010 include pharmaceuticals, FMCG and education, as these sectors are facing a talent crunch at present," E&Y partner and national head (People & Organisation) NS Rajan said.
The experts believe that hiring would be also stay robust across sectors such as real estate, retail trade sector and manufacturing among others.
“Overall hiring is likely to remain bullish with positive business outlook for most companies. In the manufacturing sector—including the auto and auto ancillary sectors—around 25 lakh jobs are likely to be created," staffing firm TeamLease VP Rajesh AR said.
Another HR services provider head, Kenexa’s director (India RPO) Ray Pereira said, "We see a lot of hiring happening in sectors like healthcare, hospitality & travel and real estate. Considerable hiring is also seen in manufacturing, education and consultancy services.”
According to Kelly Services, job seekers in the services, public administration, education, mining & construction, finance, insurance, real estate and the wholesale & retail trade sector could look forward to the most favourable hiring environment in the current fiscal.
The Indian prime minister emphasised the need to rework the functioning of the global financial system, in a meeting with the US president
Prime minister Manmohan Singh has said that India was poised to achieve 9%-10% economic growth, but for this, it required a “protection-free international climate.”
During the meeting with US president Barack Obama, Mr Singh said that there was a need to “rewrite” the architecture of the global economic system in which the G-20 could play an important role, reports PTI.
Mr Singh and Mr Obama discussed a broad range of issues, including the global economic crisis, follow up of G-20 meetings and food & energy security.
The PM said that he was convinced that the two countries could begin a new chapter in their relations, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters.
Referring to the global economic crisis, Singh referred to role of US in strengthening growth impulses in the world economy, particularly in developing countries after World War II and stressed that that experience should be repeated.
Talking about India, he said that the country was poised to achieve high economic growth of 9%-10%, given the savings rate of 35% and investment rate of 37%. For this to happen, there was need for peace in the region, he said.
He also said that countries like India needed an international environment that does not allow protectionist forces to gain ascendancy, Ms Rao said.
Mr Singh told Mr Obama that “we should rewrite the architecture of the global economic system. In this context, G-20 could play an important role in ensuring that global economic recovery is sustainable.”
He said that the US was uniquely placed to work out a plan for sustainable recovery in a globally integrated financial system. There is synergy of interests between India and the US, Mr Singh told Mr Obama.
In response, Mr Obama said that the US would welcome suggestions from India as preparations for the next G-20 were underway. He mentioned common interest of both countries in seeing early conclusion of the Doha round of WTO talks.