In a first case of action against a finfluencer (financial influencer), market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on May 25 penalised and barred renowned youtuber and options trader PR Sundar from trading for a year over alleged violation of investment advisers norms.
According to SEBI’s order, there were two references alleging that PR Sundar and his company were providing advisory services without obtaining the necessary registration from the regulator. Multiple complaints received by the market regulator also claim PR Sundar ran a website through which he offered various packages to provide investment advice.
Upon examination, it was observed that Sundar offered the advisory services via his website www.prsundar.blogspot.com. The fees collected in lieu of services was received via a payment gateway linked to the bank account of Mansun Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. held with ICICI Bank Ltd, according to the settlement order.
People who believe you, need no explanation.— P R Sundar (@PRSundar64) May 27, 2023
People who do not believe you, no amount of explanation will help.
So keeping silence, at least for some time, is the best response.
Sebi noted that the firm recommended purchasing, selling, and dealing in securities, which was communicated to the clients — all of which comes under the purview of a registered investment advisory business. SEBI’s order against PR Sundar and his firm comes at a time when many registered investment advisors (RIAs) have been raising the issue of disparity in regulations for them and finfluencers.
Last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too addressed concerns related to financial influencers in India and warned of the dangers of Ponzi apps offering financial solutions.
She noted though there is currently no proposal to regulate "fin-fluencers" a word of caution is essential. "If there are three or four people giving us very objective, good advice, there are seven others out of 10 who are probably driven by some other considerations," she said.