Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beware of a fake high-yield guaranteed bonds offer

Courtesy :  Moneylife

An email offering high-yield guaranteed bonds tries to lure investors with the promise of an unbelievable 14% return. It uses the Bajaj Allianz company name, but the company says it does not have any such product

On the face of it, it seems to be a super offer from a well-known name like Bajaj Allianz. But it is not. If you receive an email that is ostensibly from Bajaj Allianz, offering 14% per annum return on a bond, as well as a customer service number, please ignore it. Bajaj Allianz has said that it does not have any such product and it has cautioned investors to guard against subscribing to it.

The email we received purports that the last date of this Republic Day offer has been extended from 18th February to 26th February following the overwhelming response from investors. It explains that the high yield of 14% will be earned through arbitrage. It assures that the bonds are secured and the corpus is deposited into the contingent fund of the Bajaj group, to give an impression of genuineness. The email has a contact number (1800-233-2727) number that gets no response even though it says its a 24x7 helpline. It uses the logo of Bajaj Allianz with the words 'Dial befikar', a copy of the Bajaj Allianz slogan 'Jiyo befikar'.

Let's emphasise the red flags again. The email has a gmail address. There was no response when we dialled the mobile number that is given. The product detail specifies 14% ap and not 14% p.a. It also mentions an insurance cover and tax benefits available along with the plan, but does not give any details. But what have guaranteed bonds got to do with insurance cover? The email also uses several words like 'guaranteed bond', 'fixed deposit', 'guaranteed investment return plan', 'wealth ins' and so on, quite loosely.

It describes the investment details in the following way: "Deposits invested basically in resources, infrastructure, consumption and human capital sectors. These sectors have grown by 48% every year in last 10 years & have majorly contributed to India's economic development." No matter what the sector, no credible institution is offering such high returns.

When Moneylife contacted Bajaj Allianz about this email offer, Santosh Balan, head of corporate communications at Bajaj Allianz, said, "We have checked our records and would like to state that this communication is not from any of our authorised persons or distribution channels. There is no person by the name Abhijeet Shaheja in our system. It seems that the person on his own has gone ahead and sent this communication and used the brand name of some of our popular products like Shield Insurance, Max Advantage and Wealth Insurance to his or her advantage. From the mailers attached it seems that he is not selling any of our insurance plans per se other than comparing it with some of the popular products. The SMS and toll-free numbers do not belong to Bajaj Allianz."

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