Thursday, April 23, 2009

SEBI mandates Rs. per share dividend declaration

In a good move, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, SEBI, has asked listed companies to declare dividends on a per share basis rather than on a percentage basis. For example, a company having shares of face value Rs. 10, and declaring a dividend of Rs. 5, will have to say that it has declared a dividend of Rs. 5 per share and not a dividend of 50%.

This is meant to bring more clarity to an average investor who sometimes gets caught up in the jugglery of percentages and values when companies declare dividends. Thus, it will bring uniformity in the declaration of dividends by listed companies.

The move will clear the confusion among share holders whether the dividend declared was a percentage of the face value or the market price. It also becomes relevant when companies reduce the face value of shares over a period of time, which some investors might not be able to track.

Also, the calculation of actual returns in terms of Rupees becomes much easier, when the dividend information is available on a per share basis. Share holders will just have to multiply the number of shares they own by the dividend per share amount that the company declares. And for the mathematically inclined, they can just go ahead and calculate the dividend percentage if they want.

The change will be with immediate effect. More news here.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Stock Markets may be on Recovery

The Indian Stock Markets have performed promisingly well in the last few weeks. Though the performance wasn’t an all-round one comprising many different stocks, few of them upped the ante of the markets and had set the mood.

While it can’t be said with certainty that the economic slowdown and the stock markets are on a recovery path, there are few factors which may make it happen.

1. The economic stimulus packages issued and to be issued by countries world-wide would have created confidence in investor minds that the markets may not go down further if they put their money in.

2. Monetary policies (reduction in CRR, prime lending rates etc.) by governments that result in more money in the hands of people there by increasing their spending and investments (or, increasing liquidity in the economy), improving the economic situation.

Meanwhile, here’s a list of 10 stocks, compiled by Economic Times, which rose by more than 100% in the current market recovery.

Friday, April 17, 2009

India’s new Bimetallic 10 Rupee Coin

I might be a little late on this news, but here’s the picture of the new (and first ever) bimetallic coin of Rupees 10 denomination issued by the government of India. The outer ring of the coin is made up of Aluminum and Bronze alloy while the inner section is made up of Nickel and Copper alloy.

There are two themes for the coin.
1) Unity in Diversity and
2) Connectivity and Information Technology.

The coin in the picture has the first theme, Unity in Diversity.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What makes Swiss Bank Accounts safe and secure?

Recently, discussions about Swiss Bank Accounts came into prominence in Indian media further to the revelation that Indian nationals have a whopping 1456 billion US dollars in Swiss Bank accounts. This means Indians have more money in Swiss Bank Accounts than the rest of the world combined. Leaving aside this story, let’s concentrate on Swiss Bank Accounts and what makes them safe and secure.

In many novels and films, we have seen intriguing stories associated with Swiss Bank Accounts, like in Bourne Identity, Da Vinci Code etc. Even though most of these actually don’t happen in a Swiss Bank Account, lots of people consider Switzerland to be a place where they can keep their money safe and secure. There are a few factors that make it so.

The Banking Act of 1934 was passed in Switzerland to prevent Swiss Banks from divulging depositor information to other countries during world war period, with which those countries tried to confiscate the assets owned by the customers of Swiss Banks, especially the Jews, in the name of “the good of state”. But then the Act stayed on and provided enough privacy to depositors of Swiss Bank Accounts.

Switzerland is a very stable country and it maintains a policy of neutrality with other countries. It maintained neutrality in both World Wars, is not a member of the European Union and was not even a member of the United Nations until 2002. That’s why many of the world organizations have their headquarters in Switzerland. Thus the country doesn’t have a need to succumb to pressures from international treaties and obligations. All these make its economy robust and the banking system highly stable.

Also, Switzerland is a tax haven for depositors of other countries. For nonresident depositors of Switzerland there are no taxes if they don’t reside in EU or don’t invest in Swiss companies, making it a promising place to put their money in.

Good Reads
- How Swiss Bank Accounts Work?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What is SWIFT?

Being an NRI (Non Residential Indian), once in a while I sent money to India. Unlike before, nowadays it all happens online and is quite easy. Within the comforts of my home, I just need to login to my internet banking account, do some clicks and money will reach my bank account in India in a couple of days. My bank makes it possible through SWIFT!

SWIFT or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication is a worldwide network for financial messages through which its members (i.e. financial institutions such as banks) can exchange messages related to money transfer for their customers. The messages are sent securely and reliably to the target member financial institution of SWIFT.

By the way, SWIFT is just a messaging service and it doesn’t facilitate actual cash transfer between banks. For doing that, the banks that exchange authorization message for money transfer shall have an external banking relation between them and normally they settle the actual cash transfer in parallel.

But the point is, once the authorization for the release of funds are sent through SWIFT, the target bank can release the money to the end user’s account and the bank is assured of the money from the sending bank. Sometimes, the target bank will have a branch in the sending bank’s country or vice versa and they may settle it within the purview of a single country.

Thus, the end user will receive the money without needing to know the hassles of exchange rate conversion and various other formalities, which happen in parallel between the banks. Also, the user will receive money, irrespective of the time taken for all these.

Over 8,700 banking organizations, securities institutions and corporate customers in more than 209 countries use SWIFT for transferring financial messages, making it the most widely used network for international financial messaging. Each financial institution registered with SWIFT is identified by a bank identifier code popularly known as the ‘SWIFT Code’.

Through SWIFT, transfer of funds to various countries can be completely automated; where the core-banking solution of the bank can directly communicate with SWIFT to do the transfer. This makes the process of money transfer more efficient, secure and with lower cost. Thus, SWIFT makes the process of transferring funds across the globe a lot easier.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

New Symbol for Indian Rupee

The Government of India has invited the public to suggest a symbol for the Indian Rupee. Just as the Dollar is universally denoted by $‚ the government thinks that the Rupee should also have its own unique symbol that captures a sense of India’s history and culture.

ToI has put up a list of symbols for Rupee on their website and would present the top voted ones before the government. They also have an option through which people can suggest a different symbol.

You could also vote for one of those symbols or can also send in your suggestions. Personally, I prefer ‘ru’ written in Sanskrit/Hindi without a bar on top. Long time our currency had a symbol of its own.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is a certification for financial planners granted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards in the United States and several other organizations affiliated to Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB), the international owner of the CFP designation outside of the US. The CFP designation helps a person to advance his career as a financial planner.

In order to gain the CFP designation, the candidate must meet certain requirements in the areas of Education, Examination, Experience and Ethics (known as "the four Es").

Education: To complete a set of financial planning courses. Other than completing courses in financial planning, applicants for the CFP certification must also have a bachelor's degree (or higher), or its equivalent, in any discipline, from an accredited college or university in order to obtain CFP certification.

Examination: The CFP exam is held three times a year, and is conducted over a day and half through three sessions having a total duration of 10 hours. The fee for CFP is USD 595 and there is an extra site fee if the exam is conducted outside US.

Experience: There is a three years full time or equivalent part time related experience required for the candidate. The details of experience requirements can be found here.

Ethics: The candidate has to agree to be bound by CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Practice Standards.

Once you have successfully met the requirements and completed the initial certification process, you will need to meet ongoing education and disclosure requirements to maintain the CFP certification.

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