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Stock exchanges and regulators only consider complaints related to listed companies. However, one can file a complaint about bonds, debentures and unlisted companies with the MCA. Here is a guide for you on filing complaints
Moneylife receives a steady stream of complaints from people who have been lured to invest their hard earned savings in unlisted companies. As a rule, we actively discourage people from investing in unlisted companies, unless it is a family undertaking and you are fully aware of the risks. The worst con is by financial advisors who entice people to by shares of unlisted companies with the promise of making a huge profit when the company is listed. A quick look at some statistics would reveal that there were only three IPOs in the entire calendar year. And, while 35 odd small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were listed, they have almost no volumes.
Clearly, neither the stock exchanges nor the SEBI Complaint Redress System Website (SCORES) is empowered to look at these complaints. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) accepts complaints against unlisted companies as well as those listed on exchanges. The MCA website provides separate complaint options for shares, debenture or bonds and also classifies the nature of complaints to make it easy to report. You can choose appropriate option and file online complaint on MCA website.
Here is the guide on how and where to lodge a complaint related to bond, debentures, of listed and unlisted companies with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).
1. First send a written complaint to the company. If you do not get a satisfactory response and your grievance is not redressed then escalate the issue. You can file an online complaint to MCA.
2. On MCA website click on the right side menu under ‘Important Links’ click on ‘Lodge Investor Complaints’. It will provide you ‘Investor Complaint Form.’
Fill in all the necessary information before you submit your online complaint.
3. While filling online complaint form on MCA website, you need to find out and enter ‘corporate identity number (CIN)’ of the company.
4. You will find many options regarding nature of complaint. If your complaint is regarding debentures or bonds, in option 3 - ‘Nature of complaint’ – choose ‘Debentures or bond’ and in sub section of 3 (ii) ‘Complaint on debentures or bond’ select correct option, describe your issues and submit the form after filling all the necessary information.
To file an online complaint with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), (only complaints regarding listed companies or prelisting of debentures and bonds or shares)
1. Go to SEBI Complaint Redress System Website (SCORES) than in section of ‘Investor Corner’ choose ‘Complaint Registration’. After clicking on it, you will get ‘Complaint Registration Form’ open it and fill necessary information.
2. While filling your information, in ‘Complaint Details’, select appropriate option as per nature of your complaint incase of complaints related to bonds and debentures select first category – ‘Listed Companies’ and choose third option - ‘Prelisting/Offer Document (Debentures & Bonds)’ and it will open window. After filling all the necessary information submit the form.
3. For guidance or complaints you can call on toll-free SEBI Investor Helpline no—1800 266 7575 or 1800 22 7575 which works on all days from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM excluding declared holidays in the state of Maharashtra.
To file a complaint on stock exchanges—National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)—in case of listed companies and trading members.
If you have complaints regarding debt securities of companies or equity shares which are listed on BSE you can also file it on investor grievance of BSE, and for NSE you can file complaint with NSE Investor helpline—NSE Investor Center (NICE).
NSE’s Investor Services Cell and BSE’s Department of Investors Services both offers platform to file complaints against listed companies as well as trading members, with option regarding issues with equity shares or debt securities.
Moneylife earlier wrote many articles and cover stories on fixed income and bonds, you can access and read it here.
According to NSEL Investor's Action Group, brokers of the Exchange have played an active role in theRs5,600 crore scam and the EOW must also investigate the disparity in pair trades
Calling National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) as a 'dummy exchange with Ponzi financing scheme', the NSEL Investor's Action Group has requested Mumbai police to initiate a forensic audit of all major brokers and investigate the role of brokers in the pair trade scam in the Exchange.
The Action Group, in a letter, said, "There were only 18 borrowers (after removing sister companies) on one side and 13,000-odd investors on the other side. There cannot be any genuine exchange in the world, where the disparity between the two sides of players would be so huge. The brokers who used to receive and raise bills on these 18 companies fully knew about this. Also, the prices of commodities were never ‘market discovered’ by ‘live bids and offers’ (like any other exchange), but rigged from the back-end with the full knowledge of brokers".
The Action Group has requested the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police to consider 15 points in their investigation in the Rs5,600 crore NSEL scam. The points include, disparity of number of players on both sides of NSEL pair trades, non-collection of delivery order or warehouse receipts by brokers, difference in time between purchase and sale transactions, purchase effected without order from client, manipulation of market, changing of code in the Exchange, cancellation of purchases, brokers themselves acting as carry & forward (C&F) agents, payment of sales tax where there is no stock, collection of brokerage, transaction charges and delivery charges when the stock never existed, financing clients through their non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), maintenance of Settlement Guarantee Fund (SGF), false inducement of safety, the nexus between brokers and borrowers and brokers knowledge about financing NBFC-like activity.
As pointed out by Moneylife, the fact is that it was the brokers, who lured investors in the first place to get risk-free gains from NSEL.
Earlier in August, NSEL filed a complaint against five of its defaulting members, Ark Imports Pvt Ltd, Lotus Refineries Pvt Ltd, NK Proteins Ltd, Vimladevi Agrotech Ltd and Yathuri Associates before the investigation authorities.
As per the rules and bye-laws, the Exchange also asked these defaulting members to submit their books of accounts and hand-over all the collaterals to NSEL.
Here is the letter sent by NSEL Investor's Action Group...
With the new Regulations from SEBI, the tribe of investment advisors will hardly grow in India as there is too much of responsibilities with limited freedom
The idea that investment advisors need to be regulated is not at all a subject of debate. In the US, Investment Advisors Act was passed in 1940. UK carried out several changes in the regulation of financial advisors from 2012.There are many other countries, which regulate investment advisors also called as financial planners. In India, the need to regulate investment advisors originated from many factors out of which two are very important factors which are as follows:-
a) Holding advisors accountable for what they suggest to the client and;
b) Ensuring that advisory business is not mixed with selling of financial products.
With a view to make financial advisory business more accountable, SEBI came out with “Investment Advisors Regulation”. From 21 October 2013 only those who had registered under the regulation with SEBI would be able to offer investment advisory services.
With the Investment Advisors Regulation coming into force, SEBI has received only limited number of applications for registration, with number of investment advisors barely crossing even 100 in a country, which has probably more investment advisors than investors at the current juncture. One of the obvious reasons is that many people are not keen to give up their business of selling financial products and just be investment advisor where the cash flow is not assured, but the matter does not end here.
Let us look at some of the obvious reasons for poor response to this regulation.
Investment advisors not classified based on business activity
SEBI classifies an investment advisor as either individual, partnership firm or a body corporate. Rather than doing this, SEBI should have classified investment advisors based on the volume of business they handle. For instances in USA, investment advisors that have "assets under management" of $25 million or more need to register with SEC and rest others can register with state securities commission. Though India has no such structure, the idea is to highlight the fact that investment advisors should not be treated at legal structure level but at the level of business they handle. A business investment advisor with higher level of activity can afford more costs than an investment advisor having a handful of clients.
Fees charged and cost of compliance are very high
The investment advisor regulation states the following with respect to the fees to be paid by investment advisors:
But this is not the total cost that an investment advisor has to pay. There are costs associated with infrastructure, maintain of records, audit costs etc. Net worth requirement can also act as a minor deterrent. The advisory business in India is in a nascent stage. It is difficult for investment advisors to charge fees to the clients. Also, with the market being so competitive and in absence of a level playing field, charging any decent fees by investment advisors is very difficult and challenging.
The grey areas in investment advisory guidelines are anti-investment advisor
Read this statement which is directly produced from the act: ” Whenever a recommendation is given to a client to purchase of a particular complex financial product, such recommendation or advice is based upon a reasonable assessment that the structure and risk reward profile of financial product is consistent with clients experience, knowledge, investment objectives, risk appetite and capacity for absorbing loss”. There is so much of subjectivity in this statement that an investment advisor will like to keep away from such products or has a risk of not meeting compliance requirement.
It is indeed doubtful that, with current guidelines, the tribe of investment advisors will grow in India. There is too much of responsibility with limited freedom. The cost is big de-motivating factor and compliance requirements are draconian. The guidelines are too investor-friendly and offer very little to the advisors. It is now, the right time to declare investment advisors as endangered species.
(Vivek Sharma has worked for 17 years in the stock market, debt market and banking. He is a post graduate in Economics and MBA in Finance. He writes on personal finance and economics and is invited as an expert on personal finance shows.)