In the age of digital media and social networking, influencers have become a dominant force shaping our preferences, opinions, and lifestyles. Even for handling one’s finances, people seek financial advice and inspiration from financial influencers (finfluencers). But not all the financial advices the finfluencers give are legitimate.
Recently, on October 25, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has barred Mohammad Nasiruddin Ansari from buying, selling or dealing in the securities market. Notably, Ansari is the owner of a firm named ‘Baap of Chart’ (BoC). The marker regulator has also ordered him to pay Rs. 17.2 crore.
Why has SEBI barred Mohammad Nasiruddin Ansari
SEBI, during the course of examination observed that Nasir is promoting himself as a stock market expert on various social media platforms and luring investors/ clients to enrol for various ‘educational courses’ offered by him and inducing them to invest in securities market by promising them the prospect of making profits with near certainty if the recommendation/ advice is followed.
“Further, it was observed that Nasir has uploaded his ‘educational courses’ on website/ apps through the application services provided by Bunch Microtechnologies Private Limited (“Bunch”) wherein he is collecting money for enrolment in the said courses and providing access to his ‘classes’ to investors/ clients. Also, Nasir is found to be providing buy/ sell recommendations in private groups of his investors/ clients,” SEBI said.
It was also observed that the amount collected for ‘educational courses’ was credited into the bank accounts of Nasir, BoC, Golden Syndicate Ventures Pvt. Ltd. (company in which Nasir is a significant shareholder) and P. Rahul Rao (another significant shareholder of Golden Syndicate Ventures Pvt. Ltd.).
SEBI also found that Ansari collected Rs. 13.78 crore from courses listed on Bunch’s platform and mobile apps.
Who is Mohammad Nasiruddin Ansari
Being the sole proprietor of Baap of Chart, Ansari also projected himself as a stock market expert and offered various education courses on social media platforms like YouTube, X, Instagram, among others. Notably, he has 4.43 lakh subscribers on YouTube while he is followed by around 59000 followers on Instagram and by over 83000 followers on X.
SEBI’s Guidelines for finfluencers
The market regulatory body has introduced guidelines to regulate financial influencers active on social media platforms to protect investors against misleading information.
Here are the key areas where SEBI’s guidelines emphasized:
- Disclosure: Ensuring influencers reveal brand affiliations, partnerships, sponsorships, or other paid associations for all relevant posts across platforms. However, stock recommendations currently remain outside its scope.
- Fairness and Accuracy: Financial influencers and platforms must provide valid and unbiased information about securities they promote, abstaining from any form of misleading representation.
- Advertising Standards: Adherence to ethical and legal advertising norms is paramount, and any form of deceptive advertising practice is strictly prohibited.
- Regulatory Compliance: Financial influencers must adhere to all securities laws, guidelines, and have measures in place to prevent any illegal or fraudulent activities.