After ASCI and SEBI, it is the time of 'Zing!'.
In August 2023, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the regulatory authority overseeing the country's securities and commodity market, intensified its scrutiny of the escalating influence exerted by financial influencers, often referred to as "finfluencers." SEBI took a significant step by issuing a consultation paper titled 'Consultation Paper on Association of SEBI Registered Intermediaries/Regulated Entities with Unregistered Entities (including Finfluencers).
In a subsequent report assessing the potential implications of this for brands in the financial sphere, afaqs! discerned that financial companies are likely to exercise greater prudence when collaborating with social media influencers.
Following this development, the online trading platform Zerodha introduced its own social media page, Zing by Zerodha, on YouTube in October. This initiative is a joint venture between the fintech company and the edtech platform LearnApp, which specialises in financial literacy content.
In a channel announcement note featured on Zerodha's Z-connect, the company highlighted that in the current landscape of financial and capital markets, the breadth of information available is unparalleled. However, the note pointed out the challenges posed by social media's pervasive influence, where misinformation and deceptive practices often overshadow genuine and valuable insights.
A noteworthy trend in this digital landscape is the emergence of "Finfluencers," individuals who hold significant sway in financial discussions on social media platforms. This phenomenon has gained such prominence that regulatory bodies like SEBI are closely monitoring it to combat financial mis-selling within the realm of social media, it noted.
"In our continued decade-long attempt to provide quality financial education and to tackle mis-selling and mis-information in finance and capital markets, we’re trying something new with Zing!," the company said.
In a social media post, Nithin Kamath, CEO, Zerodha, said that with the channel, the company aims to connect with its younger audiences. "Along the way, we've been debating whether all this content we were publishing appealed to younger audiences. We're launching a new YouTube channel called Zing! by Zerodha in partnership with Prateek Singh of LearnApp," the post read.
The channel has been hosting videos in the range of 9 to 15 minutes. These videos see Prateek Singh, founder and CEO, LearnApp, educate viewers about one pressing issue in the financial sphere, while trying to keep the narration joyful and comedic.
Speaking with afaqs!, Singh highlights that this is the company's bid to build a new-age financial TV channel, albeit digitally. LearnApp has also secured funding from Kamath in the past.
"Creating a separate property ensures we build a new age media channel that makes finance fun without any intended agenda. I think this is our superpower. Each partner focuses on what they are best at. Zerodha brings credibility to the table and LearnApp brings its storytelling, production and content expertise," he explains.
Singh elaborates that there is no defined agenda for the companies that drive the initiative. He says it allows the companies to listen to their users and build things that they would be interested in.
"For example, we do not need to restrict ourselves just to stock markets. We could make a series of shows that any broker or financial education company in the country won’t do because their financial incentives don’t align with it. Our focus is building a world-class media channel right out of India. Something that has international standing, something we can all be proud of. The shows we are launching soon will surprise the industry for sure," he asserts.
Singh also explains that through this joint venture, LearnApp is in a strong financial position. He explains that the team is financially rewarded on the basis of net impact and not sales targets. "You’ll never see any advertisements on Zing! LearnApp is lucky to have a partner who cares about impact and not ROI. It puts us in the most unique position in the country. Perhaps, this is our superpower."