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1. A New Year gift by ICICI bank to the new house buyers

Posted on 2nd January 2014

The new house buyers have all reasons to rejoice in the coming year 2014 as ICICI bank has reduced the home loan interest rates. This move was taken by the bank to align the home loan interest rates with those offered by the home loan HDFC bank. The reduction in home loan rates has been announced by 15 basis points to 40 basis points for the home loan amount upto Rs. 75 lacs. This scheme may not offer any due benefit to the existing home loan borrowers.

The bank is planning to offer this special rate scheme to the new borrowers limited up to 31st January’ 2014. You may take the advantage of this new year offer for lower EMIs on your dream house. This scheme will now offer loans up to Rs. 30 lakh at the interest rate of 10.25% (earlier 10.40%.) The home loan amounting to 30 lakh to 75 lakh would be offered at 10.25% (earlier 10.50%). The loans over Rs. 75 lakh would be offered at an interest rate of 10.50%.

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2. Infosys Ltd set to beat ITC Ltd with biggest weighting on BSE Sensex

Posted on 20th December 2013

India’s Infosys Ltd is poised to overtake ITC Ltd as the stock with biggest weighting in the benchmark BSE Sensex index and broader NSE Nifty index.

Infosys Ltd weighting in the BSE index currently stands at 9.70 percent, only 15 basis points away from 9.85 percent for ITC Ltd, data shows.

In the NSE index, Infosys’ weighting stands at 8.41 percent as compared to 8.58 percent for ITC.

Software exporter Infosys share price rose 16.4 percent in the last 3 months on depreciation of rupee and hopes of higher business from the US, while ITC Ltd, a bet on domestic consumption, fell 11.7 percent in the same period on valuations and a slowing economy.

Infosys overtook Reliance Industries as the second-biggest weighting stock in October.

Infosys Ltd shares were up by 1.2 percent after earlier setting a record high of 3,557.60 rupee

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3. Target-Date Funds Need a Closer Look

Posted on 16th December 2013

Target-date funds, which typically contains a mixture of stocks and bonds that gets more conservative as the target date approaches nearer, are a very popular option in employer-sponsored retirement plans because many people don’t have the time, knowledge or interest to make investment-related decisions on their own.

But not all target-date funds are equal. Its our responsibility to know what’s under the hood and to make sure that the mixture of investments in the fund is appropriate for both the employer, who is offering the plan and its employees. Advisers need to know the risk profiles of these funds and what are their underlying investments.

One of the disadvantages of target-date funds is that, they assume everyone has an average risk tolerance. One alternative for employers would be, to offer risk-based portfolios. An adviser could work with an employer to offer employees various multiple investment options, each with a different level of risk. Employees could then create a portfolio based on their own risk tolerance. While target-date funds are a simple set-it-and-forget-it option for retirement plans, they still don’t guarantee that plan participants will be saving enough.

Using target-date funds in retirement plans is a safe, simple and popular option for employers to offer, to make sure that they are offering a wide range of options to their employees.

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4. No loan against gold coins weighing above 50 grams, proposes RBI

Posted on 13th December 2013

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed that banks restrict the facility of advancing loan against gold coins to a maximum weight of 50 grams. This move, implemented would imply that a customer cannot avail loans against gold coins that weigh more than 50 grams.

As per extant instructions, banks are currently permitted to grant advances against gold ornaments and other jewellery and against specially minted gold coins sold by banks. However, no advances can be granted…

Accordingly the bank has proposed to restrict the facility of advances against the security of gold coins per customer to gold coins weighing up to 50 grams.

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5. Home loans get costlier

Posted on 13th December 2013

The State Bank of India has increased its base rate, or minimum lending rate, by 0.20 percent to 10 percent, a move other banks are also likely to follow. The rate hike would be effective from November 6. Base Rate is the minimum rate below which banks are not permitted to lend.

The country’s largest bank has also announced that its benchmark prime lending rate would also go up by by 0.20 percent to 14.75 percent.

The upward revision in the base rate will push up the equated monthly installments (EMIs) of home loan borrowers, further squeezing their disposable income at a time when households are struggling with high inflation.

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6. Tips before taking a loan

Posted on 13th December 2013

1.    Research well – Clarify all your doubts regarding the loan scheme before you finalize anything and don’t hesitate to ask questions to the sales person even if you have the smallest difficulty understanding a particular clause.

2.    Take a look at the EMI – Calculate the EMI that you will be able to afford beforehand. Remember that you know your money more than anyone else so keeping in mind your current job and income you can make an approximate calculation about the amount of EMI you can pay.

3.    Negotiate on the interest rate – Even though banks and financial institutions swear that interest rates are non-negotiable, they could still make a few adjustments if you list a few honest issues with the high rates.

4.    Loan eligibility – If you have a clean record in your credit history for payments done on time, then you can use it as an advantage when applying for the loan.

5.    Additional charges to be kept in mind – When you are applying for a home loan, you need to be educated about the various other charges that the lenders add to the current schemes. They will add administrative and service charges or processing fees.
6.     Read the fine print of the agreement carefully – Read everything written in the loan agreement before you sign on the dotted line. Never sign on a blank loan paper even if the sales person asks you to sign. Ask questions if you still have some doubts because at the end it is very important to be aware of every term and condition mentioned in the loan.
7.     Think about early repayment charges
If you think there is a good chance you will want to settle your loan early, it may be worth searching for a deal that comes without any early repayment charges.

8.    Borrow more
In general, the larger the loan the lower the interest rate. Due to the way some providers price their loans, there are occasions where you can actually save money by borrowing slightly more.

9. Don’t apply for too many loans
When you apply for a loan online, most applicants will leave a “footprint” on your credit record which lenders check before approving a loan.

10. Know the risks of secured loans
Secured loans are cheaper than unsecured loans but you run the risk of losing your property if you don’t keep up repayments.

11. Take the term into account
An important aspect of your loan will be how long you are given to pay it off; this is known as the loan term. You’ll need to be aware that the longer the term, the more expensive your loan will be overall as you will be paying interest for a longer period of time.

12. Fix your rate
It’s usually best to opt for a loan that applies a fixed rate of interest to your borrowing. This means that the rate at which interest will be applied to your borrowing debt, and more importantly the amount you will need to pay back stays the same throughout the life of your loan.

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7. What Is The Value Of Financial Security?

Posted on 6th December 2013

Perhaps now is the time to assess the value of protecting you and your family with Critical Illness Insurance.  Statistics of heart attacks, stroke, cancer and other critical illnesses are not encouraging.

Don’t take your insurability for granted: if you are still insurable, the good news is that you can take advantage of that now and provide much needed security for you and your family.

The truth is, it will not be very long before the current, fully guaranteed Critical Illness insurance is no longer available. Consider that every year you delay the cost increases and the likelihood of a health crisis increases.

Low interest rates and high reserve requirements are forcing insurance companies to reflect as to how long they can continue to provide the best CI products available in the world. As a result, prices will most likely increase, benefits and guarantees reduced or a combination of both.

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8. Sticking to ethics may curb career growth in financial services industry

Posted on 6th December 2013

Financial services industry recognises the importance of ethics at work but a majority of the executives feel that strict adherence to ethical standards hampers their career progression, claims a global survey.

“While executives champion ethical conduct, they struggle to see the benefits of greater adherence to ethical standards, reporting that, in reality, it can hamper career progression in the industry as well as the firm’s competitiveness,” it said.

According to the findings, there is widespread belief in the importance of ethics among financial services employees.

Another finding is that majority of the respondents admitted that their colleagues know very little about what goes on in departments beyond their own.

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