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SEBI regulations on Finfluencers – is this the end of the road for them?

by Tavaga Invest

Markets this week ๐Ÿ“Š

Winter chills seem to have crept into markets. Despite Sensex touching its all-time highs, the mood is still very very cautious. Amazon throwing in the layoff towel and Coinbase the next victim of crypto meltdown has made it even worse. But amidst all this chaos our very own Candy Crush turned 10. Imagine, itโ€™s been a decade since one of the most popular games switched from being a Facebook game to a mobile one. Time flies and hope this too shall!

Already firmed up your holiday dates? If you are one lousy procrastinator, here is Lego to your rescue! Enjoy 10,001-piece Eiffel Tower set, newly launched which will be almost five feet tall when fully built. Itโ€™s a sure-shot way to keep you and your kids busy if youโ€™ve got $630 to spare. 

Leave all the not-so exciting financial issues to us while you go enjoy your holiday season with your family. We have started a new section โ€œMoney Mattersโ€ where we will take up one pressing personal finance issue that people face in their everyday lives and demystify it for our readers because after all, money matters! Do you have any investment concerns? Write to us at advice@tavaga.com and we shall answer it in our next wrap-up.

Now, letโ€™s now dig deep into some of the important news that made headlines this week.

Puzzling trends ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

View from 62k: Markets threw some very contradictory trends this week. Mood on the street suddenly turned upbeat as BSE Sensex briefly breached the 62k mark again after almost 13 months but some profit-taking took away some steam. As always the question before investors is: Will the next leg of rally begin now? We are puzzled and do not have an answer because – 

๐Ÿ‘Inflation: Data across economies including India seem to suggest that central banks may turn less aggressive on rate hikes, and US Fed may pivot soon. 

๐Ÿ‘Housing: Home prices in Indiaโ€™s top eight cities recorded a 6% jump YoY, despite home loan rates on a rise. This also propelled new launches in the eight cities to grow by 43% in 3Q from last year. 

๐Ÿ‘Remittances from migrant earners in cities back to their families in villages also grew by 10-15% this festival season. GST collections and e-way bills are improving too. BUT 

๐Ÿ‘ŽMerchandise exports in Oct shrank for the first time in 2 yrs, signaling cost-of-living crisis in western economies.

๐Ÿ‘ŽPost covid boom in corporate earnings seems to have ended as companies saw margins and profits shrink in Q2 FY23, the first decline after 8 consecutive quarters of growth. The Q2 earnings were adversely affected by high raw material and energy cost as well as increased interest expenses. 

Our Take

Even though domestic inflation is cooling off, and so are commodity and crude prices, how far can domestic resilience hold out amid the global slowdown? Policy reversals in China have already pulled investors back to China at Indiaโ€™s expense. India has till now remained โ€œdecoupledโ€ from other economies but will it remain completely insulated from the rest of worldโ€™s policy decisions?  


Walmartโ€™s hot dog moment ๐ŸŒญ

Bright side of dark times: Amidst all the layoffs news from the US tech biggies, Walmartโ€™s results were a welcome change for the Americans. Worldโ€™s largest retailer, came out with splendid Q3 results, pushing its stock price to a 6-month high. After two profit warnings issued earlier this year, company delivered surprisingly strong quarterly sales (up 8%) and also upped its forecast for this year. Food was the fastest-growing category with double-digit sales growth as more shoppers turned to Walmart for its โ€œeveryday low prices.โ€

Value rules: Kitchen staples like canned beans and hot dogs were shoppers’ favourite. American pockets are stretched and discretionary spending has taken a hit. People are now resorting to less expensive versions of everyday items and the discount king fits into their home budgets perfectly! 

Premium gets cautious: Interestingly, more high-income shoppers turned to Walmart for cheaper groceries. 75% of its market-share gains in food came from households making $100K+, a similar pattern seen in Q2 as well. 

Not just limited to groceries, McDonaldโ€™s too attracted the wealthier lot who opted for fast-food over pricier sit-down restaurants.

Our Take

Tough times don’t last, tough companies do: These testing times have certainly been an opportunity for big companies to grab a larger slice of the pie. Corporate giants like the Amazons and Walmarts of the world can afford to keep prices low and sail through a downturn and grow their market share (McDโ€™s did just that in โ€™08). Discretionary items like TVs, air fryers, and clothing is expected to remain weak, especially in the coming holiday and travel season. 


R.I.P Finfluencers? 

What happened: SEBI is planning a crackdown on โ€œfinfluencersโ€ who dole out unsolicited investment advice and stock tips on social media and via messaging apps. They are popular for giving โ€œSimplified Financial Gyaanโ€ under the garb of financial literacy without being actually qualified to do so. FYI, Australia, China, and Singapore have already imposed guidelines for finfluencers and India may take a lesson. 

Background: Vast chunk of people resorted to investing during the pandemic in hopes of earning a quick buck and make the best use of lockdown days. The exponential rise in new Demat accounts is a testimony to this newfound craze. And as first-time retail investors rode the wave, they were hungry for sound financial advice. This led to a rise in the number of various โ€˜unregisteredโ€™ investment advisors. Lack of proper regulation worked to their advantage.

Show me the money: These financial gurus earn from ad revenues, collaborations, and partnerships. What started as a pandemic hustle went on to become a serious โ€œcreator economyโ€. It has now become a full-time occupation for many and in fact, several top finfluencers are now earning more than a regular job. Armed with millions of followers, they have the power to manipulate stock prices or boost a mutual fund offering, increasingly impacting the decision-making of the aam aadmi. They did address the problem of abysmally low financial literacy in India, but pose a serious risk to consumer protection and financial stability. 

Our Take

Money is serious biz and provision of financial advice should not be open to any Tom, Dick, and Harry on the back of social media popularity. Clearer definitions for finfluencers, and mandatory certification will help weed out the noise. For decades, retail junta has been a victim of rampant mis-selling of financial products and SEBI has been rightly brutal about such false narratives. What is really needed is to bring more skin in the game so that these โ€œso-calledโ€ financial experts are more accountable not just in the front but behind the reels as well. 

Looking for real qualified financial experts to kickstart your investment journey, give us a shout and we will be happy to help!


We have introduced a new section in our wrap where we shall take up one personal finance query we get from our readers and give our view on the same. This week we shall debate on Mutual Funds v/s PMS

Mutual Fund vs. PMS: What works for you?

As markets trade at all-time highs, HNIs and Ultra HNIs have been investing their surplus capital in equity markets in a staggered manner. However, one needs to consider 2 important ways to invest in equity markets and select the best one. 

Portfolio Management Service or Mutual Fund?

While a PMS gives you direct equity exposure as against mutual funds which issue units, a PMS comes with high costs. Generally, a PMS levies management fee (which is between 1.5%-3%) and an additional percentage of fees depending upon the profit-sharing agreement between the investor and the PMS provider. PMS providers are permitted to charge an entry load and an exit load as well in addition to all the above charges. Add to this the transaction costs and other taxes! 

On the other hand, a direct mutual fund scheme only has the expense ratio component which includes all the charges. When it comes to passive funds, the expense ratio of maximum funds is below 0.7% and with other active funds as well, the average expense ratio is 1%. 

Our Take

Unless you are an NRI staying in the US or Canada (where mutual fund investments are restricted), a PMS doesn’t add any value to your compounding journey. You are simply paying much more to have an equity exposure. Want to know more, do give our blog a read. 

What else made news?

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆFamily planning – As worldโ€™s population touched 8 billion this week, the UN said India’s population growth appears to be stabilising.

โœŒBack with a bang – Donald Trump announced that he will run for president again as a Republican candidate in 2024 announcing โ€œAmericaโ€™s golden age is just aheadโ€. 

๐Ÿ˜ฑPain after pain: After 10,000 job cuts announcement, Amazon is now reportedly offering employees voluntary severance.

๐Ÿ“‰Another reckoning for Paytm: Shares of the company slumped 10% after 6% of its equity changed hands in block deals. SoftBank appears to have offloaded a part of its shareholding. 

๐ŸŒœOver the moon: 50 yrs after Apollo, NASA’s Artemis 1 mission is on its way to the moon.

๐Ÿ˜Thanks but no thanks: As per news reports, hundreds of remaining Twitter employees have refused to stay after Muskโ€™s โ€œextremely hardcoreโ€ Twitter 2.0 despite softening of his โ€œremoteโ€ demand, 

Hope you liked reading this weekโ€™s wrap. See you next week. Till then, hope you have a great weekend!


Ruchi Mehta


Disclaimer: This write-up is solely for educational purposes. This in no way should be construed as a buy/sell recommendation. Please consult your investment advisor before investing.

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