While the elected parliamentarians will be looked up to clear the new Sebi Bill that looks to provide greater powers to Sebi and thereby provide better protection to the investors as and when the next government is formed, only a handful of them have investments in mutual funds and listed securities. Most of them, however, seem to be finding greater comfort in bank deposits, gold, unlisted firms or even in giving their money as loans in a bid to earn return from their investment.
While the stock markets act as a barometer of sentiment for any significant political development, the politicians seem to be shying away from having an exposure in them. Since February 1, 2014 alone, the Sensex has jumped by more than 10 per cent to trade at new all time high.
The elected members may work towards framing policies for a deeper penetration of equities in the country and investments into mutual funds and pension funds, but only few seem to be walking the talk and leading by example. A look at the investment patterns of 65 prominent candidates from six states Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Gujarat and Haryana shows the reluctance of the political leaders when it comes to direct equity investment or mutual fund investment.
The BJPs prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi keeps a large chunk (almost 90 per cent) of his movable assets in the bank while L K Advani keeps 97 per cent of his movable assets in the bank. Both of them have no exposure in equities or mutual funds.
While Rahul Gandhi, Congress Vice President is yet to file his nomination for 2014 general elections from Amethi, his 2009 affidavit shows that even he does not have any investment in bonds, debentures or shares of a company.
Also see: Amar Singh assets
If bank deposits are the primary mode of money saving for these prospective parliamentarians, an interesting factor is that a large number of them park their money in unlisted companies or have given a sizeable portion of their movable assets as loans or advances.
While 36 out of 65 leaders have investments in the category equities/ mutual funds, less than 10 candidates have investment in listed entities or mutual funds and they instead hold shares in unlisted companies (either promoted by them or a family member or friend).
Thirty-two candidates in the list have given loans/advances to individuals or companies. Out of the gross total value of movable assets of Rs 27.66 crore for Milind Deora, the Congress candidate from Mumbai South, Rs 25.77 crore are in the form of loans and advances. On the other hand the total investment in bank and mutual fund and equities amount to Rs 1.07 crore for Deora.
Even the affidavit of Arun Jaitley, the BJP candidate from Amritsar, shows that out of his gross total value of movable assets amounting to Rs 36.86 crore, loans and advances amount to Rs 10.37 crore.
Kuldeep Bishnoi of Haryana Janhit Congress has gross movable assets amounting to Rs 58.7 crore and out of that the unsecured loans (given) amount to Rs 36.8 crore.
For 13 out of the 65 candidates, loans and advances stand in excess of Rs 1 crore while for the remaining 19 it stands below Rs 1 crore.
Investment in gold is common with almost all candidates, and on expected lines. While some have moderate exposure to gold amounting to close less than Rs 1 lakh, a number of candidates in the list have a sizeable exposure to gold. While Arun Jaitley has gold and jewellery amounting to Rs 1.8 crore, Maneka Gandhi and Praful Patel have gold and jewellery worth Rs 1.4 crore and 1.2 crore respectively.
After bank deposits and gold, small savings schemes with post offices, PPF or investment in life insurance corporation forms another major component for 37 of the 65 candidates.
An example you will not like to follow at all Surprisingly of the 65 candidates, a well known candidate of a leading national party does not seem to have a bank account. Neither the candidate, nor his spouse or other dependents hold a bank account as can be seen in the affidavit filed with the Election Commission.
Of the total movable assets of Rs 42.3 lakh that the individual has disclosed, almost Rs 41 lakh are in gold and jewellery and Rs 1 lakh is in cash. Against the head details of deposit in bank accounts that includes term deposit and all other type of deposits including savings account, the candidate has mentioned NA in all the five sections meant for him, his spouse and his three dependents.
At a time when the Reserve Bank of India has issued two more banking licences in a bid to promote financial inclusion, it is surprising that a leading candidate running for Lok Sabha elections from an urban constituency does not have a bank account.