The retail investors in India lurch from crisis to crisis, made worse by the pandemic. The reason that the same problem recurs has to do with broken market places and redress system than anything to do with investors behaving ‘wrongly’.
Indian investors periodically hit the headlines when there is a large blow-up of some product or market. We’ve seen recently a cooperative bank failure. Then a private scheduled commercial bank (those that usually are not allowed to fail) saw its operations and deposits frozen for a few days. Even as the depositors in Yes Bank got their money back, the investors in its AT1 bonds saw their money disappear. These high-risk bonds were mis-sold by Yes Bank managers as FDs to senior citizens among other low-risk investors. Debt mutual fund investors have seen money they thought safe being exposed to excessive risk as fund managers cut deals with promotors, introducing the risk of equity in debt funds. A series of bond downgrades have left retail investors booking large losses over the past year. The latest has been the Franklin Templeton story that saw a liquidity problem become the cause for shutting down six schemes. The matter is now sub-judice since one HNI got a stay. These are the stories that come into the public eye, but there are plenty others that don’t make news simply because the investor is not an HNI or does not belong to a strong group such as a broker lobby.