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Showing posts from April, 2008

Of lies and mis-selling

SBI Cards caught lying and mis-selling

I haven't had much luck with credit cards, despite being a cautious spender and paying all my bills on time. On account of a lack of credit scoring facilities in India, here typically there's not much reward to be had from the credit card community if your spending are in control and ensure timely bill settlements. Also, my pathetically low salary ruins whatever little chance I had to get a good credit card deal; an important criteria that credit card companies look while deciding what type of card (silver, gold, platinum, etc) should you get and the spending limit (higher your salary, higher your spending limit, and vice-versa).

Earlier this month, I was offered an SBI Platinum card; one of their call centre executives called me on my mobile to offer me one. I said yes, since i only use one credit card and there too I had a much lower spending limit - despite using the card for around five years - till i took my case to its CEO's door…

Is It Really Focussed?

ICICI Prudential Focused Equity Fund aims to limit its portfolio to around 20 stocks

You invest in a mutual fund (MF) scheme because apart from being unable to track direct equity investments, you also want diversification. So your MF that diversifies across 40 to 60, sometimes even more than 80, scrips, steps in. But too many scrips can also dampen your fund’s portfolio as a bunch of them should see their share prices appreciate to have any decent impact on your fund’s net asset value (NAV). ICICI Prudential aims to address this issue as it has launched a new scheme that will neither under nor over-diversify.

Called, ICICI Prudential Focused Equity Fund (IPFEF), this scheme will invest in around 20 scrips as that’s the ideal number of scrips the MF believes a scheme should have. IPFEF will choose from the top 200 companies as per their market capitalisation.

Should you invest?
While having a tight and an adequately diversified portfolio has its merits, there is no thumb rule on the numbe…


As the country oldest mutual fund scheme, now US-64 Bonds, are set be redeemed, it’s tough to find an equally alternative investment. There are some that come closeThe oldest mutual fund scheme in India, Unit Trust of India (UTI)’ Unit Scheme – 64 (US-64), will soon be no more. After more than 40 years of existence, curtains will fall on the US-64 bonds that mature on 31 May 2008. UTI has already sent out letters to all bond-holders about the redemption; investors are told to submit their original certificates, take their money back and leave.

For investors like Kolkata-based, Kumaresh Mukherjee, 72 it’s the end of an era. Soon after he retired from Philips India, he invested his provident fund corpus in fixed – return instruments like company fixed deposits. An electrical engineer by profession, in 1995 he also invested Rs 12 lakh or around one-third of his retirement corpus in the erstwhile US-64. After years of above-average returns, then trapped doors and turmoil that shook the Ind…

Delhi Metro rocks

One of the areas that Delhi scores over Bombay is quick implementation of infrastructure projects. Here in Bombay, infrastructure projects, partly due to lack of open space and partly due to political corruption, gets procrastinated for months and months. So this time, after more than a year of planning, I finally got to ride the Delhi Metro. So i went to Rajiv Chowk (the station at Cannaught Place) - this is an underground station - and took a train to Indraprastha - the last station on one of the three lines and one station after Pragati Maidan. Like the Calcutta Metro, the Delhi Metro is very systematic. You first buy your ticket - Delhi Metro calls it a token - and only then you pass through the barricades by punching the token. If you do not have token, the barricade does not open and you cannot step onto the platform. This way, you do not get any ticketless travellers on the Delhi Metro. Plus, spitting or chewing pan/gutka is strictly not allowed, unlike Bombay local train netwo…

Should Aamir Khan Run For The Olympics Torch?

Is it right for Indian actor Aamir Khan to run the Olympics torch even as Tibetans have requested him to stay away and show his support to their cause?

It's a tricky and delicate issue. Tibetans in exile and living in India for years and decades have requested Bollywood superstars Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan to desist from running the Olympic torch and therefore show their support to the cause of Tibetans. China, one of the world's few communist regimes rules Tibet. Tibetans all over the world erupted in protests (demanding indepandance) in March 2008 and violent clashes between the two sides have resulted in over 200 (the actual figure could be multiples of this) Tibetans getting killed and many others captured and imprisoned by the oppressive and brutal dictatorship of the Chinese regime. Tibetans all over the world have boycotted the Beijing Olympics, scheduled to start in August 2008. So should the two Indian superstars also ban the Olympic torch running ceremony?

I have tw…