“Doubling of money in just 3 years or Return on investment will be more than 20% to 25% in a year and lot more”. 

Very often you must have come across such statements from your so called Relationship manager from Mutual Funds House, Insurance Agent, and Personal Banker. Concern is not this that Relationship managers are giving such statement and trying to sell but there is matter of trust between you and relationship managers. Now a day’s things have become more complex because of plenty of broking house/Banks/Insurance companies/Mutual fund companies.

Take for instance the case of the recent Citibank fraud. One of the relationship managers of the esteemed bank duped High Net-worth Individual (HNI) clients with ponzi schemes promising tall claims and embezzled investors’ money by diverting their (clients’) funds to his personal account. So, the relationship manager became rich (the unethical way), but the investors’ were duped.

In my opinion customers are digging their own grave by trusting blindly on their relationship manager of banks, broking house and more importantly Wealth Managers where they have their privilege relationship. Do you (investor) really need this trust? There are few important facts because of that these people (Wealth Managers/Bankers/Broking houses/ Agents-mutual fund or Insurance) try to indulge in unethical selling or fraud.

High Commission/Revenue: There are always biased selling happen when some incentive or commission is involves like; most expensive product will surely be sold or being pushed more because there is high commission/revenue involved and that goes into sales man pocket or manufacturer account. So just wait and think when any product is being pushed to you.

Cut throat Competition: Sales infuses life in every organization since the revenues flow in. Today every financial institution is coming up with new products and recommendations every time. Which in turns keep the sales team busy finding way to promote and get a sale done, but that also infuses pressures on them thus leading to mis-selling.

Name across industry: Some financial services companies over the period of their existence have built a strong “brand equity”, which leads to investors trusting them. But sometimes, as there is no strong and transparent vigilance or an internal control system, to check how ethically the sales team is promoting/selling the investment products. The agents/distributors/relationship managers resort to mis-selling, as they too are aware that you as an investors are going to believe in the brand name.

Behavior & Relationship: The Behavior & Relationship of any the relationship manager/ agent also plays a crucial role. You might have experienced due to long relationship and polite behavior of your relationship manager/agent you buy a product to make him/her happy or you couldn’t say no to him/her. And one fine day you realize “I shouldn’t have taken the product, because my returns are not high due to high entry charges, fixed lock in period that means I cannot withdraw the investment etc.”

Investment out of obligation or inappropriate product doesn’t suit to your investment objectives or financial goals.   And some of them justify by saying that if they don’t do it, someone else will. But my question is why the investor should fall prey.

There are few do’s and don’ts which can lead a better and secure financial life and one must follow them in order to safeguard himself/herself from unscrupulous agents / distributors / relationship managers.

Dont’s:

  1. Don’t have blind faith in your agent / distributor / relationship manager.
  2. Do not sign blank cheques / forms
  3. Never share your User ids and Password of investment with anyone.
  4. Don’t get enticed by only “returns”.
  5. There is no way for making shortcut money.
  6. Don’t just invest, because your friend has invested.

Now some sweet Do’s:

  1. Choose your financial advisor with due diligence. Financial Advisor/Planner works for Fee not for Commission and most important not Free.
  2. Read the investment documents carefully.
  3. Read the features and benefits of the investment/insurance products, to assess whether they suit your risk profile and investment objectives / financial goals.
  4. Have at least a basic research on the investment/insurance before you buy.
  5. Monitor your investments with regular intervals and see whether they are meeting your objectives or not.

Now after reading this hope you could make out that if you as a customer do not give space for cheating then no one can do any malicious/ unethical activity. And you will never have to say “I have been Cheated”.  

As the saying goes “Never invest in a product that you don’t understand”. Just we need to be aware bit and financial life will be so easy.

I have been Cheated..!!! Whom should I blame..??? It’s me or my Relationship Manager..???

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