New Delhi: Markets regulator Sebi has decided to tap social media and other popular internet and mobile platforms to make investors aware about their rights and to safeguard them against possible frauds.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is already using platforms like TV, radio and print newspapers for investor education and awareness programmes. It has carried out campaigns in 13 languages including English, Hindi and regional languages spoken across India. In the current fiscal 2015-16, Sebi has now proposed to explore other mediums like outdoor media, advertising, as well as social media to spread investor education and awareness, as also the financial education, as per the regulator’s budget proposals for this financial year.
Sebi is already present on Twitter through which it gives updates about the investor education and financial literacyworkshops being held in different parts of the country, along with other information for the benefit of investors. Sebi is now planning to expand the use of Twitter and other social media platforms in a big way. “Media planning for the campaign was undertaken keeping in mind the reach to the target audience. It is important that the messages are published, broadcast with greater frequency through repeated insertions in TV, Radio, print so these messages are appropriately visible to the target audience.
“It is also needed that we may adopt the new popular media such as internet, mobile etc. Hence, it is pertinent that the expenditure on media services (broadcast/publication of advertisement) is also enhanced accordingly. “During Financial Year 2015-16 scale of campaigns undertaken through mass media will largely depend on theavailability of sufficient funds for this purpose,” Sebi said in its Budget proposals for the current fiscal.
Since December 2012, various campaigns have been carried out where advertisements were broadcast or published on TV,Radio and Print media on topics such as ‘Grievance Redress Mechanism’ and ‘Collective Investment Scheme’, covering pan India (in 13 languages) through over 40,000 TVC spots, over 88,000 Radio Spots, and 600 print editions. In March this year, Sebi also launched a major SMS
campaign to create awareness among the public about fraudulent schemes claiming ‘big profits in less time’. In the last fiscal, Sebi busted more than 150 cases of frauds against gullible investors involving close to Rs 13,000 crore. It has been noticed that fraudsters are also using SMS route to lure gullible investors with promise of returns.
In its SMS campaign, Sebi is specially targeting the schemes where investors are promised doubling of their investments within a few months, or guaranteed fixed returns for life after investing some thousands or lakhs of rupees. Besides, Sebi is continuing its investor education and awareness programmes through newspapers. One such campaign says “high return in less time means more trouble” and cautions against promises of investors being made “millionaire overnight”.