Recently a friend of long standing (2nd standard if I am not wrong) commented that my column should be a part of a newspaper and titled ‘Malice towards one and all…” a column which only people born in the 1960s would remember I guess.
When ITC (cancer), McDonalds (BP) and Pepsi foods (Diabetes) talk about Corporate Governance, or Lalit Modi puts his foot in his mouth, or Goldman Sachs says it will vigorously contest the SEC claim (come on Investment Banking deals justify fees to both ends of the customers), or when S&P talks about the state of the economy, it is difficult to resist!
Or when SEBI announces ‘REIT will be operational in a year’ (about 3 years back), – without putting in place valuation norms (a friendly fund manager asked 3 valuers to ‘value’ his office in an Indian city and got values ranging from 75 to 100) or when brokers say that there is no corruption in the broking business, or when a life insurance agent tells a client ‘Sir the projections are correct, they are from a computer’ , it is difficult to resist.
When a reader writes in and says ‘Here are my details can you help me invest’ and you ask -Ok what is your current income..and the ‘client does not wish to disclose, or when a client comes with his wife and then comes alone to discuss ‘money to be kept for the other woman’ , or when an employer calls pension a liability when he is consulting and calls it an ’employee benefit’ when his HR head is talking, it is difficult to resist.
When kids in the media pick up data, create some tables and draw some conclusions – never mind that they do not know the difference between ‘has not happened’ and ‘cannot happen’ or when you realize that sometimes their attitude is ‘I have made up my mind, do not confuse me with the facts’ kind of attitude, it is difficult to resist.
When executives working in life insurance companies talk about the virtues of ULIPs, and put all their money in mutual fund SIPs, or executives in life insurance companies buy policies to meet targets, and then lapse the policies, you cannot resist. When senior (very very senior) executives ask for strategies that will look good for the board room (ppt) but not really be good for the company beyond 4 years (his tenure), or ask for ‘Strategies that work for a Marathon’ and then treat the marathon as a series of 42 races of 1 km, you cannot resist.
When the ‘Owner’ of a life insurance company says ‘This company will make money after I have quit’ and the ‘Employee’ says ‘Since there are another 20 new companies coming, my LIFE TIME financial security is guaranteed, when the media says ’79 lakh policies lapsed last year’ (do not mind, there is no data on how many policies were sold in that article), when the client says ‘I bought the policy because my sister in law became an agent’ or the salesman says ‘Sir please buy, or I will lose my job’. All fine so far. Then suddenly an analyst calls you and says ‘Here is a valuation report on the life insurance industry – and he is assuming that the POLICY holders WILL pay the premium for the next 29 years. First you thank God you are not in Goldman Sachs having to sell the story, then you thank God that only 1576 people read my column. I could be creating riots / lynched to death if 15 million people were to read it. Toooooooooo many enemies Mahesh, so I need friends like you. Thanks for comment though, you gave me a column.
So fund managers, brokers, journos, analysts, friends, clients, …..please excuse. Remember this column is just to entertain. Do not take it too seriously.
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