Archive for November, 2007

Careful when you subscribe to SIP in Mutual Funds!

Posted on November 30, 2007. Filed under: Mutual Funds |

Recently I started a SIP with DSP Merrill Lynch MF Equity fund Regular Dividend option. I chose the SIP route and went through a MF agent. I signed the form and handed it over to the MF agent, who agreed to hand over to the company after completing the form. I opted for ECS to relieve myself of the pain of signing cheques.

The first month went off fine as I started only during the third week. The problem started in the second month. DSP ML has an option to subscribe to SIP on four different dates of the month and my account started getting debited on all the four days. Initially I didnt realise till my account was debited for the 3rd time in the same month. Immediately I called the registrar of DSP ML MF, Computer Age Management Services (CAMS), Chennai. I told them patiently that I have opted for one single debit in a month but my bank account is getting debited on all the four days in a calendar month. They informed that is how the form has been filled up and handed over to them. Then I called up the agent to enquire about this but he also confirmed that he didnt select on all dates in a month option. Unfortunately, I didnt have a photo-copy of the submitted form and I couldnt prove that an error has creeped in at CAMS side.

Then I asked for a way out of this since my bank account was running out of balance. A novel idea was given by the CAMS staff on the phone. Withdraw all the money from that bank account so that the ECS debits doesnt happen. I found that absurd and the alternative I got was a letter asking to stop the ECS debit on all dates in a month. I went and handed over the letter to the local CAMS office and my agony continued even after that. My debits continued to happen. I was forced to call them atleast 3 times after I submitted the letter to find out why my account is still getting debited. Finally, the debits stopped after a letter and 3 angry phone calls running for a minimum of 15 minutes on each occasion. All this I have to undergo for the fault of not ensuring that the form was properly filled up. Now the SIP is 4 months old but I have already paid 8 instalments.

The story doesnt end there. When I received the October month statement, I noticed that I have been allotted some units under the growth option all of a sudden. So again I started calling CAMS for the reason. I patiently explained that I have been allotted units under a different scheme than I originally applied for and asked them to explain. The guy on the other side from the CAMS Call Centre took my number and promised ot call me in another 15 minutes. I received no information for the next two days and then I have to call them back. This time luckily an intelligent girl picked up and narrated the story and asked her to find out the reason. She promptly called back and informed that they have processed one ECS in September but didnt allocate any units and they decided to allot me funds under DSP ML Equity Fund Reg Growth Option in October. Nobody called me to inform that there has been an excess debit nor did they ask me what to do with the funds. Ofcourse, it is my mistake also not to have reconciled my bank account with the ECS debits for DSP ML Mutual Fund. I finally agreed to take those units since I didnt have any more patience.

What I learnt from this episode?
1. Always a retain a copy of the application form.
2. Personally fill up the MF application form and dont leave it for the MF agent to fill up details citing lack of time.
3. Reconcile your bank account every month with the auto debits which are happening. This not only applies to MF ECS debits but also for other loans and utility bill payments.

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Observations during an Retail Investors Meet at Chennai

Posted on November 26, 2007. Filed under: Stocks |

I attended on last Saturday a Retail Investors Meet organised by Tamilnadu Investors Association. The chief guest for the day was Mr Deven Choksey from KR Choksey Shares and Securities, Mumbai. He advised investors to stay invested for a period of atleast two years to get multi-fold returns rather than engage themselves in day-trading, which I think is very valid. There were questions on sub-prime issue and its impact on the Indian markets, P-Notes. Mr Choksey feels that these issues would not impact the FII inflow in 2008. Lets hope so.

It was a fairly well attended meet with around 250 participants. My observations were:

1. The most striking feature is the absence of youngsters. The majority of the crowd was above 45 years and hardly 10 people less than 30 years or so.
2. As with all retail investors meet, the idea of the people attending the meet is to get some tips or stock ideas to make some money. Deven Choksey didn’t let them down and he quoted atleast 5 or 6 scrips which were duly noted by the participants.
3. People leave even before the “vote of thanks”. I still cant understand why they cant spend that additional 5 minutes.

The stocks mentioned by Deven Choksey are as follows:

1. IDBI
2. Reliance Industries
3. Micro Tech

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I am facing problems with Yahoo! mail

Posted on November 22, 2007. Filed under: General |

I have been facing problems while accessing my mail account in Yahoo! for the last two days. Do you also face the same problem?

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Hats off to Regional Passport Office, Chennai!!

Posted on November 21, 2007. Filed under: Chennai |

The intimation of change of address and incorporation of spouse name in my passport was a task which was long overdue for me, which I was consciously postponing. I was worried it would be inordinately delayed since it involves some Government work(!). I wanted it to outsource it to a travel agent who could do it for me. But when I checked with a travel agent he suggested that instead of going through an agent it is better the concerned person visits the Passport Office. He also informed that the systems have been put in place and for these kind of small jobs you dont need an agent and all details are available on the net.

With little bit of googling by my wife, she found out the website as well as the required forms to be filled in. The website of Passport Office has all the required details for completing this task. The website also as useful information like Know your Passport status, online registration form etc., I came to know that we can apply online for renewal of our passport, issuance of new passport and other services after registering online. The system gives you a date and time when you to have visit the Passport Office and submit the application form in person similar to that of the US Consulate. This helps to avoid the long waiting period in the RPO. The Chennai Regional passport Office on the web can be accessed here.

This Monday I went to Regional Passport Office, Chennai to get my address changed and for the inclusion of spouse name. I should say I was lucky that there were less than 50 people at 8.30 AM in the morning waiting in the queue. Normally the queue is very long I understood from my wife when she went for the address change. First a person in Khaki Uniform (Policeman!?) came and verified the documents and advised people to go to the appropriate counters. Then around 9.45 AM an officer from the Passport Office came and verified the documents with persons who were waiting in the queue. Then when the concerned counter was opened at 10.00 AM it so turned out that I am in the sixth person in the queue. I submitted the documents and waited for another 15 minutes and paid the fees of Rs600. Everything was over by 10.30 AM. The total time I spent was less than 2 hours from start to finish. I cant ask for less, I guess!!

I was informed that I would receive the amended Passport within 10 days. I was in for a surprise when I received the passport today, that is, on the third day after submission. I am really thrilled and happy about the level of service in this regard from Regional Passport Office, Chennai. The staff in RPO were courteous and professional. Definitely RPO’s and in particular Chennai office is an example of how efficient Government Offices can function.

Hats off to Regional Passport Office, Chennai!!! India Shining!!

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Kannamuchi Yennada – Tamil Film I saw last week

Posted on November 20, 2007. Filed under: Cinema |

I saw two films Kannamuchi Yennada and Azhagiya Tamil Magan during the last week. Both are decent entertainers and I enjoyed them.

My take on Kannamuchi Yennada:


Film starring: Prithiviraj (Mozhi fame), Sandhya, Radhika, Sathyaraj.
Genre: Family Drama.

Director: Priya (Kanda Naal Muthal fame)

The story is about how the lovers try to convince their parents for their inter-caste marriage. In the mileu there is also a subtle message “thou shall not take your spouse for granted and treat her/him with due care and respect”. The main story revolves around the love and the difficulties faced by the hero (Brahmin boy – Prithiviraj) and the heroine (Gounder girl, Sandhya) in getting the acceptance of their parents for the marriage.

Coming back to the main plot, overall it is enjoyable family entertainer. No unwanted or gruesome stunt scenes, love scenes which makes you feel awkward etc., There is an element of comedy which runs through all the characters. Special mention should be made of Prithiviraj as an actor. Inspite of his very heavy Malayalam accent he comes out very well and helps the film to hold on.

Overall comment: Watchable movie for light hearted fans.

PS: The leading stars of KY, Prithiviraj, Sathyaraj, Radhika along with the Director Priya were in the Koffee with Anu program last Saturday on the Vijay TV. They were pulling Prithiviraj’s leg like anything about his possible affair with Sandhya during the shooting of the movie, though in a very discreet manner and without mincing names or words!!

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Took a chance with Market Creators Ltd.,

Posted on November 20, 2007. Filed under: Stocks - Quick Bucks |

Two weeks back I was hearing lot of noise about the hefty valuations the brokerage houses are getting with the impending listing of Religare Enterprises and Edelweiss Capital. With that as a background I was scanning for any listed brokerage companies that are relatively under-valued to the industry.

I landed with a scrip called Market Creators Ltd., (BSE 526891). The stock was trading around Rs16/- when I purchased 100 shares. As expected the current momentum in mid-cap/small-cap stocks took this scrip along and today the stock has hit the upper circuit at Rs26.50. This is a decent gain of around 80% in 2 weeks time. I am going to hold on to it till Religare gets listed on Nov 21, 2007 and see how this moves post listing of Religare.

As typical of any small cap the volumes are very low averaging less than 5000 shares a day. I have learnt lessons during 2005 not to hold on to these kind of Micro-cap/penny stocks for long term. You will end up holding it as a dud-stock. As I see some money in these of kind of stocks, I would exit it as soon as possible. Possibly, it may continue to go up but the risk of the downside far outweighs the possible upside.

Right now enjoying some quick easy money thanks to Market Creators!!

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Desire to own a farm land drove me to a corner of Chennai!!

Posted on November 16, 2007. Filed under: Real Estate |

My interest to buy a piece of land at a low price with excellent prospects for appreciation in value in the near term (am I asking for the moon!!) took me to a place called Poondi in the outskirts of Chennai last weekend. Poondi, is famous for its resorvoir than for real estate.

Last Saturday’s The Hindu Property Plus exclaimed of a farm land near (!) Chennai at Rs30 per sq.ft. Myself and my Brother in Law could not resist the temptation of becoming a farm land owners at a very cheap price and called the real estate agent to arrange for a free site visit. In Chennai, almost all real-estate agents provide you with free site visits in the comfort of a car.

We were supposed to be picked up at 2.30 PM in the afternoon to go to Poondi which according to the real estate agent is 60 kms away from Chennai. Nobody turned up till 2.45 PM and we called him to find out that he is finding difficult to get a cab from his office pool of cabs to take customers to various sites. Finally he arrived at 10 minutes to 4 PM. The real estate company’s salesman came in a Tata Indica Car with one more customer already sitting pretty. Both of us got into the car and it became a fully-loaded Tata Indica Car of 5 persons!!!!

We went through Tiruvellore and re-kindled memories of the missed opportunities in 2005-06. We particularly remember a real estate project just in front of District Collector’s selling at Rs175 per sq.ft. We went and saw the property and we had to say “no” because of the reason that the site is below the road level. Today the same property is selling at Rs600 per sq.ft.

Poondi village is 16 kms from Tiruvellore and it took us more than 40 minutes from Tiruvellore to wind through the narrow village roads before reaching the farm lands. The property is a Mango farm spread over 120 acres which is being split into sub-units and sold to prospective farm land owners. The cost per acre of a farm land at Rs30 per sq.ft comes to a staggering Rs13 lakhs. The property is a good 6 kms from the Poondi resorvoir and there is no human habitation to be seen in the vicinity. My BIL was not impressed with the property since there is no sign of any development happening in the near future and he felt that it is in the middle of nowhere. He has a very good sense of these real estate deals and I agreed to his judgement. We decided to look at some other property which fits into our scheme of things.

The property spread over 120 acres at ongoing rate of Rs13 lakhs works out to Rs15.60 crores. At what rate the land owner would have brought the 120 acres of land say 5 years ago? May be the entire plot of 120 acres would have cost him Rs1 crore?

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Call to participate in the poll!

Posted on November 16, 2007. Filed under: General |

I have started posting poll question on the right hand top side of the blog and I request all the visitors to enthusiastically participate in the poll. Thanks!!

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Successful Half-century!!

Posted on November 16, 2007. Filed under: General |

I have posted 50 blog entries in the last 3 months. I am really happy that I sustained interest in this and kept writing. Hope you enjoy reading my blog and request you to keep posting your comments.

Thank you all for the support and encouragement!!

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Skanda Shasti – visit to Vadapalani Murugan Temple

Posted on November 14, 2007. Filed under: Chennai |

Today I visited Vadapalani Murgan Temple as it is closer to my home. Contrary to my expectations there wasn’t much crowd and I easily got to see Lord Murugan. The temple administration has made elaborate arrangements for the Skanda Shasti festival and a Laksharchanai is going on.

What caught my attention in the temple is the cleanliness and the organised nature of activities. The new developments in the temple worth mentioning are:

  • When you enter the temple, your feet gets automatically washed by flow of water.
  • The entire Temple complex flooring has been converted into Granite.
  • There are people who are continuously cleans the temple premises and floors.
  • Number of ceiling fans have been provided for the convenience of the devotees.
  • A free Siddha Hospital is functioning 6 days a week just outside the temple.
  • A free footwear safekeeping facility has been provided.
  • A gold plating has been provided for the temple’s “Kodi Kambam” (not able to find the correct English word for this)

Hotel Saravana Bhavan is the main sponsor for all these activities. Hotel employees are manning the free footwear safekeeping desk, cleaning of temple permises etc. There is even a Supervisor from Hotel Saravana Bhavan who oversees all these activities in the temple.

Overall, today’s experience in visiting Vadapalani temple is a very pleasant one. Temple is very clean and you feel like staying in the temple for longer time praying. Thanks to Hotel Saravana Bhavan and Mr Rajagopal (Managing Partner of HSB) for the good work he has done to the upkeep of the temple.

Please visit Vadapalani Murugan Temple whenever you get time to get the blessings of Lord Muruga.

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