After PR Sundar, markets regulator Sebi has taken action against another finfluencer Gunjan Verma by issuing a warning in an advisory case. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has disposed of a show-cause notice against Verma for providing investment advisory services without any valid registration. The regulator imposed ₹1 lakh fine on her for offering unregistered investment advice since 2018. She has also been told to refund all the charged money to her clients.
SEBI said the regulator didn't find any conclusive evidence against her but it was found that she received money from clients. She represented herself as an investment adviser, and received ₹2,50,000 from one of her clients.
The complainant also alleged that she took money for investing in the stock market and assured profits and claimed to be an investment advisor. The bank account in which the complainant had sent the money was in the name of Verma. On perusal of the bank statement, it was also noted that an amount of ₹2,50,175 in multiple tranches, which the complainant had claimed to have given to Verma, was traced in her bank account.
"Moreover, the Noticee, herself had agreed to have received the money from the complainant. Thus, there is not an iota of doubt that the money was received from the complainant".
Verma also claimed to have received money from one Vinay Goyal and Swati Gupta and to have refunded ₹37,841 to Swati Gupta and ₹46,468 to Vinay Goyal also.
"Having noted that in the present matter, the evidence in terms of engagement of Noticee in providing investment advice is insufficient, I find it appropriate to caution the Noticee to refrain from engaging in transactions in securities on behalf of others and also to abstain from indulging in any unregistered activity which may be in violation of the securities laws, and can only be carried out after compliance of Regulations framed by SEBIin that regard," Sebi said in its order.
SEBI last week penalised another finfluencer PR Sundar for providing investment advisory services without the requisite SEBI registration.
Sebi in its May 25 order said it settled the complaint against Sundar and his company Mansun Consulting and co-promoter Mangayarkarasi Sundar. They will pay ₹15,60,000 each as settlement amount and disgorge ₹6,07,69,863, including interest of 12% per annum from June 01, 2020, till the date of submission of the revised settlement terms reached in February 2023.
Sebi said it received two references alleging that these individuals and entities provided advisory services without obtaining the requisite registration from SEBI. "Upon examination, it was observed that Applicant no. 2 was running the website www.prsundar.blogspot.com through which he was offering various packages for providing advisory services."
After the settlement, PR Sundar tweeted, "Keeping silence, at least for some time, is the best response." "People who believe you, need no explanation. People who do not believe you, no amount of explanation will help," the tweet said.