Now that a slew of new life insurance companies are planning an IPO I am being asked to write on the following topics (for a fee of course):

  • How ULIPs are now better than mutual funds
  • How life insurance commissions are lower than mutual funds
  • How ULIPs can be cheaper than mutual funds
  • How the switching option in mutual funds is an amazing option for debt investments
  • How classic endowment is one of the best instruments for debt investors
  • How IRDA has made ULIP very attractive

I am wondering what to do. By refusing to write what the industry wants, I am missing all the money making opportunities (who does not like money after all). I was recently asked to attend a meeting (for which I was being paid on time spent basis), I had to have lunch there (one more boring 5 star food I presume) and do a blog post on my blog (Of course, I was not being paid for this). See how a post is free? I was not being paid for the post, right? I was just being paid for 2 hours spent with one of their CXOs.

Felt like Sebi’s ‘arms length’ requirement. I was being paid for time spent (and reasonably well I can tell you), was being given good food (their view, not mine)…and I had to do a ‘free’ blog post. After all they had to live within the spirit of law. So if one of the members of the Board of Directors asked, the MD could proudly (and correctly) say “sir we did not pay ANYBODY, ANYTHING for that blog post on”. Completely true in law. Not true in spirit or spirits. If I had taken the mandate I too could have said…”I did not get paid for writing the post”.

If you asked me ‘Did I get anything from the client at all?’ and I would have to say…

well, did a consulting on a one-to-one with their CXO…in Hotel Leela, Goa….bill Rs. 36,000

2 nights stay for self and wife, at Leela Goa (including all the food n drinks)                         Rs. 58,000

Air fare 2 people J class                                                                                                                       Rs. 30,000

Miscellaneous expenses, small gifts, etc.                                                                                         Rs. 10,000

of course they will not pay me ANYTHING – not a penny – for writing about their products being Noble or that their forthcoming IPO is a great buy at any price.

I am wondering what to do….please help me with your comments 🙂 ..I cannot share the dates with you…



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  1. Dear Sir,

    I suppose every reader of this blog knows that you have already made your choice….

    And if I am not wrong, I know your answer…..

  2. Regardless of you get paid or free for writing, if you end up saying the ULIP’s are better than MF then I can only assume you are passing wrong message to people like me who blindly follow what you have to say.. 🙂

  3. Renga

    believing what I say blindly is foolish. You have no clue about me, my competence, my integrity, my need for money, the purpose of my blog… here – I am here to entertain, tease, bash, and generally write about the BFSI space.

    If you learn from this, great..if you treat this as a FREE PMS service, God bless you. I can assure you, you are in troubled times…

  4. after reading this ….I will be doubting all articles which only show rosy picture all along 🙂 and maybe will better read an obscure lonely blogger with no popularity but good stuff to share 😀

  5. Parsh

    there are no personal finance blogs in India. Most of them are selling something to you – information, ads, or mutual funds. I have no commercial interest in this except the Google ads..and honestly wondering why i signed up with adsense. It is a pain, but I am not getting rid of it. I get ad offers in which I am not interested.

    I am running this because I enjoy that. IN 8 years there has been no business model for this, and i prefer it that way….

  6. Subra, my respect towards you making us financial awareness is increasing day by day. I thank you for your efforts. This is another piece of information which makes common people like me aware of how these industries lure people to make their business.
    I hope you continue to teach us or i would say drive us in right path.
    Thank you

  7. Assuming you gave no commercial interests in running this blog I would expect you to write what is right not what the insurance companies are asking you to write, but I also know it’s your blog so you can write what you want but hoping you will be socially responsible person so will not pass wrong message to the society..:-)

  8. Maybe you are here to entertain, tease, bash …. whatever.

    Till now, I have never seen any of your articles contradict each other. Which makes me believe that they are not just random thoughts.

    But if you do end up going there , I feel the corresponding article will be the first of its kind on Subramoney.

  9. I guess its a showdown between ethics and materialism.

    Its a no brainer that they would want to use brand subra to push their product. They are canny and well aware of your reach. They are being mindful of working within the legal framework.

    So now, the onus rests upon Subra.

    Does he want to act in a way that is legally not incorrect and will make him money or whether he would want to stand by his principles by not encouraging or contributing to misseling, grey area (we all know from subras posts how and what ulips are). Note that my understanding of Subra is, it may very well be a fancy, a more than competent experienced individual who is been there done that and shares his experiences and knowledge with common folks to show them the true picture so that they are not robbed or cheated in their everday financial life.
    As far as the money is concerned, i guess he may have enough to live atleast another birth… I dont mean he should not be looking for more, thats an individuals call!!!

    So whatever decision subra makes, may be right or wrong, its an individuals perception after all…

    But do let us know the end result.

  10. @Renga

    The interesting fact is common people are already being fooled 🙂
    Those who are reading Subra, Pattu, Vipin Khandelwal, Manish Chauhan, Vivek Kaul, R Balakrishnan may not be anyways fooled by one or more contradictory articles from anyone from the above or anyone else 🙂

    I am sure folks are smart enough to distinguish between noise and content if they have read the above individuals/ seen their you- tube videos for long enough…

    As far as ethics are concerned, conflict of interests is a part & parcel of life and how to deal with it is more ‘to each, his own’ aspect. We may not have the moral right to bash someone even if we consider ourselves perfect, we are not, is a different story!

  11. Dear Subra,
    I think you should take the offer and go for a nice paid vacation, if you refuse they will anyways find many others who will take the offer.
    You can always write your real opinion about their products as there is no implicit understanding that you will be writing a favorable column.
    PS. Even if you write a favorable piece about ULIPS all long term readers know your take on ULIPS we will take it as a sarcastic/humor post.

  12. @Parag

    I whole heartedly agree with you, Long time readers of this blog would not believe the favorable post regarding ULIPs. Subra should take the paid vacation and other freebies. Its one small way of getting back at BFSI lies..

  13. Dear Sir,

    You have educated several individuals all along with your unbiased views. I cant thank enough for the wisdom showered on us.

    As already pointed out, they are planning to use your brand image. Cant believe existing financial media is not enough for marketing team.

    All though not qualified to comment on your actions, you have asked for it :-).

    TRUST in every aspect of life has become extremely rare commodity. You know that it takes years to build and takes minutes to spoil. Several followers trust you. In my opinion, you have lot to offer BFSI space in general. It appears that offer you have is kind of one time activity and If I were you, I would not compromise on what I think is right.

    You are CAPABLE influencing financial industry as a whole to steer in RIGHT direction. I hope policy makers and regulators approach you for advisory role on regular basis or why not you turn current opportunity in that direction 🙂

    You have already clarified that as readers we don’t know you or your situation. I have a boutique IT consultancy and I have instances of both rejecting certain assignments because its against what I think is right for customer or support the request and not take ownership for results. At the least, use their platform (not your blog) and have standard disclaimer that views expressed or of the firm and not author bla bla..

    You taught finance gyan, financial wisdom and financial porn as well. Its your call EOD.

    The fact that you ask for opinions openly even on this kind of topic alone strengthens TRUST in you.

    Thank you.

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