When was the last time your agent / or financial adviser conducted your Risk Profile…?
Do you know SEBI has issued guidelines for financial advisers and advisory firms..?
Is your bank or agent following those and educated you to abut those guidelines..?

Financial Advisory is going a sea change in India, with SEBI has come up with new guidelines and refining of the existing one. There are separate guidelines for banks and Independent Financial Advisers and Wealth Management Firms.

The regulatory body had to take strict decisions in reference to the wealth management services being provided by agents, brokers and bankers. The backdrop of this could be found in our blog post.

The key changes have recently been done by SEBI is in KYC (Know Your Customer) norms, that would impact your savings and investments, if your adviser or agent is not adhering to the same.

 

So, What Does SEBI Guideline Say..?

This is in reference to SEBI Circular No. CIR/MIRSD/11/2012, and it says that:

  • Intermediaries shall strictly follow the ‘risk based due diligence’ approach as prescribed by SEBI Master Circular on AML No. CIR/ISD/AML/3/2010 dated December 31, 2010.
  • Also, Intermediaries will conduct on-going due diligence  based on Risk Profile and Financial Position of the client as prescribed in the master circular.
  • These guidelines are applicable for both new and existing clients.

 

What does risk profiling actually mean..?

Each individual has different perception and appetite for the risk he can take in his investments. While as, some are aggressively investing in equities or stocks of companies, others are
only comfortable in fixed deposits or government bonds.

So, it is imperative that a process is followed that enables to determine the investor’s preference to investing in the type of securities.

What agents are currently doing…?

Currently, it has been widely observed that investor invests in funds or securities as recommended by their agents, brokers and bankers. Now, there had been cases where regulators have noticed that certain products were sold to investors that were totally against the need of the client. These were the cases of mis-selling. And there was no way to prove the same. Now, client has to fill the risk profile and sign the dotted line. 

What does it mean for client…?

As clients have to fill in the risk profile, they are now more aware as to whether they are conservative, moderately conservative, balanced, moderately aggressive or aggressive client. While client finalises his investments with his agen, he can cross check as to whether the fund or security he is investing in actually falls in line with his risk profile.

How are clients safer now…?

As per the guidelines, risk profile has to be documented and the same process has to be done once every year. If at any given point in time it is found out that the funds or securities recommended to the investor didn’t fall in line with the risk profile or if there is the case of mis-selling; client grievances can very easily be resolved now.

This is the one step more in the direction of investor protection and in regulating the intermediaries. There are a whole set of guidelines that have to be adhered to in the investment management space; and those agents and firms who will not change are surely be moved out of the market by the regulator and the competition alike.