Where do I invest?
Are mutual funds a good idea?
What are the returns across different investment options?
How can one trace the path of the money?
Questions, questions everywhere. Having money is just the first step towards making more. Yet, for the average guy, investing is akin to walking through a minefield without a guide.
A new series on CNBC, Classroom, will try to make the retail investor take charge of his own finances in these troubled times. Classroom debuts today, Tuesday, October 23, at 12:30 IST. From next week, the show will be aired at 12:30 IST every Monday. There will also be a repeat telecast at 10.00 am on Sundays. Damini Kumari, senior analyst, CNBC India, will anchor the show. Preeti Prasad and Miranda Taid are the joint producers and directors of the programme.
The show targets the layman who wants to invest - but doesn't know where. "The idea is to empower the retail investor to take charge of his own finances," says Damini Kumari. At the same time, the programme is also aimed at the investment community, who are among the most avid watchers of the channel. "Classroom will strengthen our links with the investment community," says Sunil Nair, marketing manager, CNBC India.
The idea for the show grew from the encouraging response to CNBC's earlier show How to Make Money with Futures and Options. The show is also to allay the fears of investors, who, seeing the hallowed Unit Trust of India (UTI) crash, and markets being fiddled with by rouge traders, have decided to play safe and turn to the traditional options - property, gold, fixed deposits.
The show seeks to unravel concepts such as financial planning, portfolio selection and diversification, asset allocation, banking, equity investing, debt investing, investing styles, mutual funds, insurance and derivatives. "People have lost sight of the fact that it is certain fundamentals that run the market. Not market rumours. So we wanted to bring back the basics," says Nair. Earlier, CNBC had adopted a strategy of creating verticals within its audience base, and disagrees that a broad-based programme as Classroom marks a shift from this strategy.
A 26-part series, the modules of Classroom are structured like lessons, in order of ascending difficulty. First, a concept will be introduced (for example, what is a PE ratio) and then illustrated through examples - the viewer is shown PE multiples across bull and bear markets, across different types of companies. And, then, the concept is applied to the real world - for example, the RONW (return on net worth) ratio for Hindustan Lever versus Essar Steel, and what impact it will have on the fortunes of these companies.
Within each module, four or five key points will be identified and then, each will be taken up in individual episodes. Every show will have two segments discussing these key points - the third segment will be a wild card with a "lets-go-out-and-actually-do-it-in-the-real-world" feel to it. Other features of the show include the flash of important investing pointers, and allaying of common investor misconceptions - such as why a stock goes down on the day that it is praised by newspapers. The show will also have investor case studies, and analysis by investment experts. "Classroom is aimed at getting the small investor to invest, and to guide him through the jargon that makes financial planning seem such a heavy task," says a journalist associated with the programme.
Analysts say that the new show may not do much to increase the CNBC audience, because it is very small to begin with. "The market for such a show is small, and even if doubled, would not have much of an impact," says Hiren Pandit, vice-president, HTA.
But as the idea of making more and more money becomes part of the popular culture in a liberalised economy, many more people may just decide to learn the basics.
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