April 3, 2018
Firms need to respond within 30 days of filing complaint
Direct stock investors who want to make complaints against erring companies have a reason to cheer. The Sebi has made some key changes in its web-based centralised grievance redressal system, Sebi Complaints Redress System (Scores), that will help investors to lodge complaints, follow up and track the status of redressal of such complaints online.
Earlier, an investor had to file the complaint with the market regulator, which examined whether the complaint fell under its purview. Then, it would forward the complaint to the concerned listed company, advising them to send a written reply to the complainant and file an action taken report.
The new change is that investors can now directly submit their complaints to the listed companies through the Scores platform. This initiative will help in faster disposal of investor complaints. “Earlier it was a tedious process, but now they have done away with a key red tape,” says Arun Kejriwal, director Kejriwal Research.
To ensure faster response from the companies, it has been mandated by the regulator that the entities need to address the grievances within 30 days from the date when the complaint is lodged. If the company fails to address the complaint by the given time, the complaint will be registered on Scores. The market regulator will then initiate action against such entities on the grounds of their failure to redress investor complaints.
Investors who wish to lodge a complaint on Scores will have to now register themselves. After filing the registration form with details such as name, PAN, contact details, email id and Aadhaar number. A user id and a password will be generated on successful registration through an e-mail or SMS. These login credentials are used for lodging complaints or checking status on the Scores website. A complainant will have a single password for all web complaints.
To proceed with lodging a complaint online, you need to provide company details such as the complaint category, entity name, the nature of complaint and provide a complaint detail in brief. You can also attach a PDF document up to 2MB in size in support of the complaint. A registration number is generated on successful submission of the complaint, which should be noted properly for future reference, such as to check complaint status.
The status can be checked under Investor Corner by clicking on View Complaint Status on the Scores website by providing the registration number. Complaints that are received in the form of physical papers from investors are also digitised and uploaded on Scores and the rest of the follow-up actions of the complaint are done online. If an investor is not satisfied with the response from the company, there is a complaint review facility under which you can opt to review your complaint within 15 days from the date of closure of the complaint. “Most times even with the name of the entity, we are not able to reach the top official who can take action. This is where Sebi makes it easier and provides a system whereby a complaint can be speedily redressed. Since the system is online, one does not need to keep lots of paper documents and go through them every time,” says Anil Rego, founder, Righthorizons.com.
Filing stock-related complaints against erring companies gets easier
Complaints related to the issue and transfer of securities and non-payment of dividend with listed companies are taken up by Sebi. Other complaints are mostly related to refund, allotment, dividend, transfer, bonus, redemption, and interest that are lodged on Scores. A large number of complaints also include issues related to stockbrokers, mutual funds, against depositary participants, registrars, investment advisors and portfolio managers.
However, investors in unlisted or delisted companies should remember that this platform does not cover them. To file a complaint in reference to the listed companies or intermediary, the time period is limited to three years. Hence, an investor cannot file a complaint in reference to a listed company or an intermediary against a matter older than three years.
There is also a toll-free helpline operated by Sebi which is available to investors from all over India. People can use the helpline to understand the status of complaints, the name of the dealing officer of their complaint, the name of the immediate supervisor of the dealing officer and the closure remarks in their complaint, among other services.
[The Business Standard]