Sebi starts drive to educate investors in small cities, towns

Written by Bijith R | Mumbai | Updated: Jan 1 2011, 05:15am hrs
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has started conducting investor awareness and education programmes through its empaneled team of experts on an experimental basis in over a dozen small and medium cities and towns. This is for the first time that the capital market regulator is directly involved in organising such investor awareness programmes. Earlier, it was mainly the investors associations and market participants like fund houses, brokerages and stock exchanges that used to hold such investor seminars and programmes at various places across the country.

It has often been found that such programmes when conducted by market participants carries some kind of inherent bias or vested interest towards the investment products or services offered. Even the Sebi chairman CB Bhave while addressing an investor awareness function earlier this year had observed that fund houses or brokerages while conducting such investor programmes tend to highlight the potential benefits and advantages of their products or services offered while not adequately educating the investor about the risk involved in it.

The initial programmes though were focused purely in the western region with over 100 seminars organised so far, the regulator is planning to now implement such activities throughout the north, south and west and has plans to rope in additional 150 experts for the same. The target is to organise 5,000 such in a year, according to a senior Sebi official. So far the responses have been highly encouraging, said the official adding that the regulator is giving priority to conduct such seminars in areas outside the major cities in the country. The regulator has already trained 50 people exclusively for the western region who have completed seminars in areas such as Jaisalmer, Indore, Rewa, Alwar, Mehsana and Gadawara among others. The target group included people from the middle income class as well as school students, young investors and executives. We will be training another 150 resource persons (50 each from northern, southern and eastern region) through the National Institute of Securities Market (NISM), said the official. The regulator selects such resource personnel from among teachers and lecturers having adequate knowledge on economics, commerce and finance.