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Shameless! Horrible! Disgusting!

I couldn’t stop myself from uttering these words as I looked at the papers my friend had handed over to me.

It was a list of mutual funds his father, who had just passed away, had invested in. And this poor friend of mine, physically challenged and utterly confused, was in a state of shock because his father never discussed with him his investments.

Anyways, this was not what disappointed me. I was shocked to see the list of mutual fund schemes, which counted to 192!

Yes, 192 different mutual funds schemes held by a single person!

What was even worse was that each of these schemes was bought through a different folio number.

Imagine yourself holding 192 schemes in 192 folios. It’s like making 192 bank deposits in 192 different bank accounts!

Now imagine your dependents coming to know about this after you pass away. Their life would become even more miserable.

But I would not blame my friend’s father for holding such a scary investment portfolio. He was a frail, old, retired man who wanted to invest as much as he can so that his son and his family are well-off after his death.

Of course, the concept of ‘buyer beware’ also exists in the investment industry. But think of the greedy financial advisor who creates such a big mess in an investor’s (and his dependents’) life.

Like this financial advisor, who played havoc with my friend’s father’s money…and trust.

All for the sake of his commissions!

I have met many investors in the past – some from within my family – who have lost a lot of their hard-earned savings in dud (and many) mutual funds and other such dubious schemes. Probably you might know a few of them too.

But 192 mutual funds through 192 folios? I’ve never seen such a case. It’s maddening!

Greed is the root of all evil
“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works.”

These words said by the character of Gordon Gekko in the famous Hollywood movie ‘Wall Street’ have come to define the way the financial industry works worldwide.

But what the climax of the movie suggested was that greed, while being good for some time, also destroys judgment, decisions, and in some cases, the entire lifetime.

The greed to earn more and more money from his investments destroyed my friend’s father’s ability to judge the quality of his financial advisor.

While I still need to go through the entire list of mutual funds to quantify the extent of damage, I’m pretty sure a majority of them would be disasters.

It’s pretty clear that the financial advisor must have advised the schemes where he and his company got the maximum commissions. And common sense suggests that you get maximum commissions on things that otherwise don’t sell much – like worthless mutual funds.

It is really painful to see small investors – like my friend’s father – taken for a ride by the very people they trust.

In fact, I believe that “Trust me” is the biggest lie in the financial industry.

I’m not sure about you, but I have come to completely distrust the way financial industry works.

I’ve seen the working of this industry from very close quarters, and I can say for sure that the way small investors are treated is horrible.

It’s a sad story, and one that is repeated for every small investor who hears from his financial advisor, “Trust me!”

Anyways, have you personally had such a sorry experience of mis-selling from your financial advisor? Or do you know of someone who has had a similar grievance?

Share your story with us at Safal Niveshak, and we will together try to find a way out of the mess.

By the way, the stock market regulator, SEBI, recently launched an online investor grievance redress system called Scores. I’ll soon be approaching them on behalf of my friend.

If you have a similar, or any other, investment-related complaint against any financial advisor or intermediary, don’t wait.

Just pull the trigger and file your complaint.

There’s no point in bearing the pain in silence. You’ve had enough.

Before you and your family suffer for a lifetime due to some bad investment decisions, it’s time you take control in your hands.

Just do it!

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About the Author

Vishal Khandelwal is the founder of Safal Niveshak. He works with small investors to help them become smart and independent in their stock market investing decisions. He is a SEBI registered Research Analyst. Connect with Vishal on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Dear Vishal,

    I recall my early days of investing and the recommendations from greedy agents so called advisors who were interested solely in their commissions:

    1. I wanted to invest in Franklin Bluechip Fund and the Greedy Advisor stated that this fund has reached a saturation point and you should consider investing in a New Bluechip Fund (I think SBI Blue chip fund) to get the real benefit (You know whose benefit he was talking about). By my little study of various articles on Funds on websites, my clear choice was Franklin and I refused to invest through him and never gave him time to meet me.

    2. Another Greedy Advisor who was suggesting me a pack of 10Funds almost 8 were relatively new funds. I asked him why are you recommending New Funds? Why not old established funds? The answer was these new funds are expected to perfom better that old funds. I asked him what is the basis of this statement and to prove his point new funds were shown as example (the outperformance was simply because of time of launch and the evaluation was on very short time frame). I refused to invest in any of the funds recommended by him and never gave any opportunity to meet me in future.

    3. I asked another Greedy Advisor, which is better Index fund or active fund and he could not reply properly. He never understood the difference of Index and Active Funds

    All the above three advisors are certified by AMFI for selling mutual fund and are from different reputed leading brokerage/financial houses.

    Lucikly, I did meet one Honest Non Greedy Advisor / Financial Planner (Mr. Sailesh of PFN and I take this opportunity to thank Mr. Sailesh) who never recommeded ULIP although they were associated with HDFC Life and recommended me only the cheapest Term Plans for insurance (although they were agent for HDFC, he recommended to go directly with KOTAK since that was cheaper than HDFC Term Plans without bothering about his commissions), Never recommended Exotic NFO’s or other Non performing funds (new or old) for their commissions, Always recommended to go for SIP and STP (even if I wanted to go with lumpsum investments in a rush), Always recommended to invest according to a goal, the investment period, risk taking ability and as per a plan and above all of it, educated me and disciplined me in this process to be better informed discplined investor.

    Regards

    • Hi Ajay, this is a story that has repeated itself again and again…and with countless investors. You were smart to have used your judment and lucky to touch base with an advisor like Sailesh (who is, by the way, a friend of mine from his Personalfn days :-)). But most investors get trapped in such useless stories (of new, exotic funds) and lose it all – their wealth and sleep! Regards.

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