Jagoinvestor

April 14, 2010

Implications of the SEBI & IRDA issue for Financial Planning

In my opinion we are going to see far-reaching long-term consequences once the SEBI-IRDA issue gets resolved for Financial Planning profession. I base my fact & assumptions that SEBI is on a strong wicket rather than IRDA. However we need to go to the origin of this situation. In this article we will see what exactly is happening at this moment between SEBI and IRDA over ULIP ban and whats its implication on financial planning . Also Read : A short guide to Hire a Good Financial Planner in India

What is SEBI & IRDA issue all about? How it actually originated?

The IRDA was formed before SEBI and with the help of IRDA insurance companies came out with a Jugaadu product called ULIP which is just identical to MF with one minor difference that apx.2-5% of a clients investment goes to provide a life cover and rest is invested in either market, Govt. Securities, corporate debt or Equity, depending on the mandate of that fund. Now the second part is nothing but just like a mutual fund scheme.

Where is the problem now?

There is no problem with it as 90% of insurance premium world over goes to market or securities. However, in India the ULIP products become terrible investment products because if one invests Rs.100 in a ULIP then 20% of your money goes into commissions and approx. 2% into insurance, only 78% of one’s money is invested in market or securities. So to get back to 98 ( 100 –2 ) it would take in normal market conditions at least 2 years in Equity oriented funds and 4 years in debt oriented funds. So all you are doing is just recovering your principal in next 2 to 4 years. Now, the miss-selling by an insurance agent gets hidden in the bull run and because of rampant financial illiteracy even among so called highly qualified professionals & corporate executives leave alone the advisor selling the ULIP, the investor is fooled into putting more money in these bull runs saying that your money will double in “x” years and in the bear runs when the ULIP loose even their principal, the advisor gives them a either long term talk or plays on the investor fear and switches them to another products. Hence, an advisor in India is the a true definition of an “opportunist”. In the bull run he plays on the “greed” of the investor and in the bear run he plays on the “fear” of the investor.

What the above does is that apart from loss to investors it gives an unfair advantage to insurance companies compared to mutual fund houses where commissions are in fraction of your investments. What is the incentive for an advisor or even big distributors like banks & distribution companies to sell MF schemes when they have the option of selling a similar scheme where they gets heavy commissions… as an agent what would you do go for Rs.20/- commission on ULIP or Rs.1 on Mutual Fund Scheme on an investors investment of Rs.100/-.

Now, taking stock of the above problem SEBI has gone for an eagle eye’s view of the whole problem and to create a level playing field among all market participants.After a lot of cajoling & convincing IRDA which failed to budge, SEBI issued the harsh step of issuing an quasi-judicial order restraining Insurance companies from offering ULIP without proper registration with SEBI.

What will happen now?

Though there is likely to be a stay on the SEBI order given the large number of clients who hold ULIP products by the high court. This can be a short-term breather to insurance companies but it is not a long-term solution.

Who is on strong wicket when the issue goes to Court – SEBI or IRDA?

Mr. Bave is a master strategist, he knew that the lobby of insures is very strong and united and it will take him years to bring them to negotiating table. With the powers conferred to him by parliament, he issued a quasi judicial order.

Now, quasi – judicial order is such that even Mr.Bave cannot revoke it. The IRDA may win a temporary relief in this war, but SEBI stands on a strong footings as in the court of law the court will go where investor interests remains. Insurance companies must see the larger picture and rather than worrying about loosing valuations post an unfavorable order, they must prepare them self to change with the times.

What are the implications of the SEBI & IRDA issue for Financial Planning profession?

So lets come back to the question what’s in it for Financial Planning profession ? In my opinion, realizing the investors interest the court will rule in favor of SEBI, post which Insurance companies will have to bring down the commissions to Mutual Fund level on ULIP’s.

Is this is a good news for Financial planners?

Yes, but how many of us are changing as fast as the opportunity provided by structural changes effected by such orders? Time & again it has been proved that great opportunity lies when you have big structural changes in an economy. Every century gives some opportunity during financial turmoil and this time we are in the midst of such an opportunity.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

59 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
sathiyamurthi
sathiyamurthi
13 years ago

What the SEBI is doing as the market is tumbling down for a long time and the investors are losing huge amount daily but nothing is being done by the SEBI to stabilise the market. If this pace of down trend goes on the SEBI may have to be closed and its officials have to be sent home.

trackback
Who is selling your contact details to Insurance companies ?
14 years ago

[…] the recent SEBI IRDA battle in ULIP ownership insurance companies badly need to retain their old clients as well as make new clients to make sure […]

trackback
IRDA makes some changes in ULIP’s rules
14 years ago

[…] recently made some changes in ULIP rules . These changes came into effect after the “Who will control ULIP” fight with SEBI . Have a look at the changes below […]

Rajiv Kumar
Rajiv Kumar
14 years ago

“New Pension Scheme” Launched by Govt of India is very similar to ULIP. Will SEBI ban NPS also? Trouble for PFRDA ?!!!

Rajiv Kumar
Rajiv Kumar
Reply to  Jagoinvestor
14 years ago

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee –> Swavalamban Pension Scheme –> R Gopalan, financial services secretary –> IRDA chairman J Hari Narayanan –> 1.4 million LIC agents in India –> Incentives to attract the unorganised workers to subscribe to the Swavalamban scheme –> Agents don’t understand the product / Less Transparency –> Mis-selling  SEBI Ban ?!

Swavalamban Pension Scheme (NPS) is a major initiative of the UPA government. A Scheme for Common man.

Rajiv Kumar
Rajiv Kumar
Reply to  Jagoinvestor
14 years ago

Source :Rediff

Lifelong pension plan for unorganised sector workers soon

http://business.rediff.com/report/2010/apr/05/new-pension-plan-for-informal-sector-workers-soon.htm

Purnendu Bagchi
Purnendu Bagchi
14 years ago

Manish, little bit off-topic question. I follow your blog almost regularly, but have you ever written anything on health insurance? If yes, please tell me. I am in urgent need of buying a family floater policy for myself(42), my wife(40) and my daughter(6) for around Rs 4-5 lakhs. This will be a second one for me in addition to the family protection given by my company for Rs 3.00 lakhs from ICICI Lombard. Please advise which one is the best now from the following angle
a) claim settlement record
b) maximum no. of network hospitals
c) hassles free treatment for the policy holders.
Premium rate is not an issue. I am thinking about either Apollo Munich or Bajaj Allianz. Please give your valuable comments without any risk and responsibility at your end.
Thanks,
Purnendu Bagchi

sri
sri
14 years ago

Manish,
in the article
“”What is SEBI & IRDA issue all about? How it actually originated?
The IRDA was formed before SEBI “”

so i wrote…i know this article is guest article….but as owner of the blog, how you overlooked this …surprise to me.
sri

trackback
Weekly Digest of Personal Finance Articles (April 10-17, 2010) - Ranjan Varma's Blog
14 years ago

[…] Manish has a detailed post on the implications of the SEBI-IRDA spat. […]

sri
sri
14 years ago

manish,

are you sure IRDA has been established before SEBI..in my memory SEBI is there from 1995 and IRDA is a recent entrant in regulatory mechanism…say around 1999 or so..
second there is no ego war as portrayed….as IRDA knows very well that it is more of investment product and there is a report sitting for implementation to remove all entry loads…but still they want to fight for the industry sake as otherwise, many of the private insurance cos business will be lost…..
try to post the business profile of the private insurance cos and the insurance element in the ULIP….everybody will know…it is a matter of time the question will get answered.
Again the media was projecting there is a truce but immediately next day FM speaks in favor of moving towards no entry loads….what you can read….u have to simply read between the lines to know or you have to guess from what they have not said…
sri

BIR PRAKASH JHA
BIR PRAKASH JHA
14 years ago

Definately SEBI is on strong footings. In my opinion ULIPs product are more about investment planning than insurance consideration. As the premium minus commissions/insurance charge and other charges are invested in the market/ securities. Hence, these things must be under perview of SEBI, too for the benefit of the investors.

Anu
Anu
14 years ago

Appologies… read the above as
Just paid the 3rd year premiums this month.

Hitesh
Hitesh
Reply to  Jagoinvestor
14 years ago

Hi Manish,

In the continuation of the above topic, if we are already paying the premium for 5 years, shouldnt we continue it for another 5-10 years to actually gain something from it.
The only thing that causes dilemma is when we compare the performance, MFs overshadow that of ULIPS by a big margin. Then it feels like throwing your money on a product which you already know will come second after the race is finished in 10 years.
Please can you also tell me where can i find the average returns of ULIP’s and where can i see the past performance of them (ULIP wise).

Thanks
Hitesh

Anu
Anu
14 years ago

I have a huge amount of money put in ULIPs even before i knew what was it. Now that i know what it is waiting to complete 5 years to withdrew all the money in invest the same in MF. Just 3rd year premiums this month.
I wonder if i will get back atleast what i paid them. what do u think manish ?

Pavan
Pavan
14 years ago

Hi Manish

It is always nice to have varied articles by different experts. However as pointed out earlier the scope should be focused on how anything affects common man..

And in this case common man is hardly getting affected, if he is aleady holding ULIP. And if he plans to purchase better not to purchase as we have learnt term insurance plus mutual fund is better then ULIP 😉

Harbinder Singh Mehra CFP Certificant
Harbinder Singh Mehra CFP Certificant
14 years ago

Dear Readers,

I am amazed at the feedback & at the expectations that followers of this blog has with Manish. I think Manish has raised the level very high….I have seen very few blog owners reply to articles on their sites except for one or two times, but here Manish make’s sure that he replies to all.

I thank readers who liked my article but I thank double to those readers who gave a genuine critical view like making it more relevant for customer point of view.

I do write some articles which are written from a end user / consumer point of view but in this case there is nothing much at this time, however in future I see the following two benefits :

1) The investor will benefit any ways b’cause what ever the regulatory jurisdiction the ULIP charges are going to come down & be at par with MF.
2) Because the incentive for an agent will not be there to sell ULIP, the unprofessional agent will get out of the market and a new breed of Financial Planners, will take over which will give u all disclosures & try managing you money in a risk – adjusted manner.This will in future will develop a mature market containing mature & informed advisers and thus… mature & informed investors.

What should a NEW investor do now?

You should not buy any ULIP existing or new and wait for charges to come down.

What Should an Old investor in ULIP do now?

Don’t panic, talk to a genuine Financial Planner. Your next premium must go after the court verdict which will make sure that all of your money will be invested in market.

If some unfavorable verdict comes your Financial Planner will be the best person to guide.

Thanks & all the best.

Hemant Beniwal
Reply to  Jagoinvestor
14 years ago

FM FOR ZERO-LOAD FOR ALL PRODUCTS

The insurance regulator is facing renewed pressure to move to a zero-load structure — where companies pay the commission instead of the burden falling on policyholders, as is the case at present.

“Sebi’s decision to make mutual fund advisors the agents of customers rather that of the company whose products they sell would go a long way in protecting small investors. I believe India could set global standards by following a no load plus fee model for the entire financial sector to ensure a fair deal for all market participants. I hope all financial sector regulators would work towards this goal,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at the market regulator’s Foundation Day function on Monday evening.

raja
raja
14 years ago

hi manish

would investors in ulips get any money back if the court agrees to sebi and asks irda to change its stand on ulip trading and marketing practices

S S
S S
14 years ago

To assume that IRDA has won temporarily is misconception. Problem has not been resolved, Finance Minister’s statement has only ended the deadlock, though his logic is not financial. Its like procastinating the doom, there will be bickerings for sure and it is bound to confuse investors, by investors I mean people who purchased policies (not those who understand SEBI or IRDA). It would have been better if FM has initiated the negotiations between SEBI and IRDA.

S S
S S
Reply to  Jagoinvestor
14 years ago

How many investors really knew that SEBI has forbidden IRDA for new ULIPs? The moment they read newspapers they believed their money was lost forever! More than anything else this type of misunderstanding causes instability. A simple thing which could be resolved by reading rule book, issue has been transferred to court, to create even more chaos. Its not about finance only, its about control as well, a war of ego.

Anu
Anu
14 years ago

Manish, i very much enjoyed reading this and the previous article on this blog. Please do post such news related to economy….. Especially the comment section was too good for the previous one. Please include such articles.

Praveen
Praveen
14 years ago

Many of my colleagues who purchased 2-3 ulip’s didn’t know about this issue till today. When I informed this news (ulip’s banning & revoking it) the first thing they got is skeptical about their investment.

Then some guys even argued that there is fault on SEBI also as why didn’t it was done a long time ago. Why it is doing now???

pratik
pratik
14 years ago

I would like to say that your blog is very bad, its addictive…..

When I read one article, I need to read the other & so on.
You must continue giving your views regarding all such topics related to finance. As from now on if I need to get any information on finance I switch in to your blog. From the day the news happened, I was checking your blog regularly to see your coverage on the topic. Its superb. I think you must continue writing such articles.

Rupali
14 years ago

Hi MAnish,

I totaly agree with your reply to Pattu. Since past 2-3 days i m continuously reading these issues, but was unble to conclude what will be the impact of these to common investor but yes your article helped me to understand it. I think yes we want this current issues to discussed so will also understand the Impact on financial plan. I dont thinks so you are deviating rather i would say you are diversifying this blog and its a good thing. Not evryone reads Newspapers and See Newschannels if at all they miss they can get on to this. Pls Manish continue doing it unless and until you dont have a knowledge of current issues how one can decide their products in Financial planning. Because of this forum we can ask our queries to you, we cann’t do same with News channels and News Paper. I request you pls continue it, it would be really helpful.

Rupali 🙂

C M Vyas
C M Vyas
14 years ago

Manish,

I am in full agreement with your article.

The need of the hour is to make the difference between ULIPs and MFs more meaningful and less symbolic. But as mentioned in your article if internationally the practice is to invest 80% of ULIP contributions in Equity/ Debt, why should we be different? If the balance is 20% is diverted towards insurance, it becomes more insurance oriented and differentiated from MFs. The only hitch is that the sum assured is presently restricted to 5 times the annual premium paid. This should be increased to 10 or more times to underline the character of insurance. This way it is also less susceptible to gross mis-selling. If the risk element is to be further lessened while maintaining the character of Insurance, it can be mandated to appropriate the premium after commissions to investing in Equity, Debt and Regular MFs. That way, I think, the benefits can be better insulated.