Expense Account, Mint
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has taken a welcome step to bring in a set of adviser regulations. It has released a concept paper on the regulation of investment advisers. India needs a new set of regulations to bring order to a marketplace that moves money between households and fund managers. Investors stay in inflation-unfriendly deposits and negative-real-return endowment insurance policies because they are unable to trust the intermediary who talks about putting their money in markets through mutual funds and pension products. The unit-linked insurance plan (Ulip) fiasco where investors were looted systematically by insurance companies, banks and distributors has not helped foster trust. The Ulip debacle was a case of misaligned incentives and for trust to be built we need to align the incentives of the investor with that of the intermediary, keeping in mind the fact that the bulk of the market finds it difficult to pay for services. There is still time before we come to a stage where there is a well-recognized designation such as MBBS or LLB that qualifies the person giving financial health advice to charge for services as an accepted part of the practice.