'Investor-friendly' Sebi to launch ad campaign next month

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 25, 2012 05:30 hrs

After a series of investor-friendly measures, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the capital market regulator, plans to back it up with a first-of-its-kind advertising campaign, expected to be launched next month. The primary objective will be spreading investor awareness and increasing penetration.

Sebi plans to do so by trying to demystify the securities market and highlighting some recent initiatives, such as the toll-free helpline. The campaign will be in various languages and across platforms like print, radio and television.

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"We intend to launch the media campaign within a month," said a senior Sebi official, without specifying the date.

The regulator has earmarked about Rs 12 crore for the media campaign and investor awareness programmes for 2011-12.

  • Multi-language toll-free helpline
  • One-time KYC for opening trading accounts
  • Setting up investor grievance redressal centres
  • Circuit filters and extension of call auction to IPO and relisted scrips
  • Increasing inspection and monitoring of intermediaries

In the past, the Reserve Bank of India has regularly used the print and electronic media to alert the public about various fictitious schemes and fake currencies.

"The level of retail investor participation in the Indian market is far less than what we aspire. Despite some downsides, our economy and market have been growing, but the benefits are not reaching households," Sebi Chairman U K Sinha had said earlier this month. "The level of financial literacy and market awareness in this country are the major drawbacks."

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The Sebi boss intends to increase awareness and education among investors and simplify investing to improve investor experience. The media campaign is part of this agenda.

The regulator introduced several initiatives in the new year to make investors' lives easier. It has set up a 14-language toll-free helpline to assist investors on various market-related issues and complaints. To make switching trading accounts hassle-free, it has introduced one-time know your client (KYC) rules, which enable investors to change their brokerages without having to go through the KYC process. To curb listing-day volatility, it has introduced circuit filters for IPOs and relisted stocks on the first day.

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