Aug 18, 2017

PR No.: 54/2017

Curbing misuse of bulk SMS in the Securities Market

It had come to the notice of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) that there are increasing instances of bulk SMSs being sent to investors and the general public inducing them to invest in or purchase the stocks of certain listed companies, indicating target prices and giving fraudulent misleading/false information. SEBI regulation requires that investment advice and stock tips can only be given by Investment Advisors and certain other entities that are duly registered with SEBI. However, the main challenge faced by SEBI in this context, was the lack of reliable information on the identity of senders of such SMSs which created road blocks for SEBI in taking necessary enforcement action against them.

In view of the detrimental effect of fraudulent bulk SMSs on the integrity of markets and confidence of investors, SEBI sought the attention of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) which has been entrusted with regulation of the telecommunication services so as to protect the interest of the consumers of telecommunications service and the public at large. TRAI and SEBI collaborated closely to review the existing regulatory framework and industry practices to help in reducing the vulnerability of securities market to manipulation through misuse of mass communication device like bulk SMS.  TRAI vide its Notification No. F. No.311-3/2015-QoS dated August 10, 2017 (link: issued directions to all Access Providers to follow certain operational guidelines for SMSs relating to investment advice/stock tips using the bulk SMS channel. SEBI believes that these directions will go a long way to curb the dissemination of fraudulent and misleading information through the bulk SMS channel.

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