The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will introduce certain elements of financial markets in Central Board of Secondary Education-run senior secondary schools with a view to teaching young minds about basic financial matters, said SEBI Chairman U. K. Sinha here on Monday.
Delivering the keynote address at the ‘Regional investor seminar on securities market and the common man', organised by the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) in association with SEBI, he said that at a recent meeting of Ministry of Human Resources Development, CBSE members took part and agreed in principle to include financial literacy as an item in its curriculum.
“We are adopting two different strategies for creating awareness among the investors community. First one would be to catch those who are young. Countries such as Australia had started teaching about financial matters from fifth standard. However, India has been lagging behind. We are making a progress towards it,” he said.
Later talking to reporters, he said to begin with, basics of financial mattes would be introduced in senior secondary schools and then in other schools. It would not be a separate stream like humanity. But it would take some more time for implementation.
While asking the investing public to take a long-term view about the market, he said that stock indices moved up and down due to innumerable factors.
Commending the NSE for conducting about 2,000 investor programmes in the last 20 months, mostly in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, he said that it was for the first time in the last 10 months he was addressing the investors as SEBI Chairman. Though SEBI targeted grown-ups and people with surplus money, Mr. Sinha said it was difficult to teach adults who were about 50 years of age. However, it was not too late for them to learn and deserting the market meant missing the opportunities provided by the Indian economy and the market. Besides, stock markets offered returns superior to that of fixed income.
“One way of losing money is not participating on long-term basis. Invest on long-term basis. As we are dealing with non-guaranteed products, prepare yourselves on what safeguards are to be followed and in case of difficulties where to go. We are going to launch toll-free helpline soon,” he said.
Mr. Sinha said the regulator had computerised the grievances redress system through which complaints were solved in a time-bound manner. SEBI would team up with the Reserve Bank of India and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), to draft a national strategy on investor education.
Releasing a brochure on ‘Mutual funds — do's, don'ts, rights and responsibilities', he said from early next year, SEBI was planning to encourage mutual funds to limit their number of new schemes. They would rather be advised to merge similar schemes even in their existing portfolio.
Ravi Narain, Managing Director, NSE, explained in detail about the investor education programme and said that they had recently introduced direct trade information system through which investors received alerts through SMS and e-mails.