KYC-II: What my Broker taught me

The phone rang last week. It was my stock-broker’s excited voice. “Do you know that the share price of Klingon Technologies Ltd. breached Rs.750 today?”

Now, I am a hoarder, I don’t churn my portfolio. I subscribe to Investment-Guru Warren Buffet’s philosophy that one ought to invest for the long-term. (Warren and I share  the very same philosophy; only the scale differs: his pet Labrador, Shinee, has a portfolio which is probably 87 times bigger than mine). My broker knows this, but he makes no money from hoarders — he makes a commission only when I buy or sell. He’s a good man, but I know his motivation. So, I feigned disinterest: “So?”

“Can’t you see, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to book a mega profit?”

I’m still a hoarder, so I made it harder for him: “sell 100 if it breaches 774 and another 100 if it breaches 799”

Within 5 minutes my broker called back to say, “it breached Rs.799 ….” And I’m thinking “OMG, WOW”. Then, he deflates me by saying “…but I didn’t do the deal!”. I’m furious: “Why, in heaven’s name…?”

Broker: “Don’t get angry Saar, but your account is in STATUS-INACTIVE”
Me: “I didn’t do anything to make it INACTIVE!”
Broker: “Exactly Saar, you haven’t transacted anything for one year. So, it is INACTIVE!”
Me: “But if we had done this deal, it would have made my INACTIVE account ACTIVE, right? So that would have solved your INACTIVE problem, man”
Broker: “Don’t mistake Saar, it is not my problem; it is Stock Exchange problem. They say if you don’t transact for one year, I have to do KYC on you before I make your account ACTIVE again”
Me: “Huh?”
Broker: “It’s easy Saar. Go to our company website. Download FATCA form & KYC form. Fill them up. Then attach photocopy of PAN Card, and Aadhaar Card.  Send it to me phat-a-phat and the job is done.”
Me: “These are exactly the documents I sent you when I opened the account with you. Why do you want them again?”
Broker: “Why you are  not understanding, Saar? I am not wanting; Stock Exchange is wanting. This is in case, some change has happened”.
Me: “Do you know that I will be imprisoned if I change my PAN & Aadhar Card identity in this lifetime? What change are you talking about?”
Broker: “Please Saar. That is different KYC, this is different KYC”
Me: “And this KYC is Kill Your Customer?”
Broker: “Please don’t joke on me. Do it just this time, no?”

My broker is a good man, so I downloaded the officious looking forms. I filled up FATCA & KYC forms again and sent the same old attachments.  Two days later Klingon Technologies Ltd was once again making waves, so I phoned up my broker. Was my account ACTIVE now?

Broker: “Sorry Saar, it is not ACTIVE:  you filled up the wrong KYC form. You need to fill up CKYC form. “
Me: “But your website had only a KYC form— after all, if you are doing a KYC, then logically you need a KYC form, right? You didn’t tell me you were doing a CKYC on me, did you?”
Broker: “KYC form is obsolete, Saar. Nowadays central government is asking to fill CKYC form only. It is Central KYC. Everything is digitised!”
Me: “Where do find the godawful thing in your website? There is no CKYC form in the list of downloads?”
Broker: “Please Saar, look carefully. Not at the top, but very end of the bottom. It says Central KYC Registry services. That is where you must click”
Me: “If that is the CKYC form, why confuse me by calling it the Central KYC Registry?”
Broker: “But Saar, you are knowing more English than me. They both hold data, no? Don’t get tension Kaushik-Saar. Both KYC form and CKYC ask for same-same information: verrry easy!”
Me: “You mean you led me through this rigmarole just to fill the same data? What is the bloody meaning of all this?”
Broker: “Same-same only Saar, but slightly different. Please fill this, because government is verrry strikktt on this”

By now, I was determined to do some transaction on Klingon Technologies Ltd.; so I decided to oblige my broker friend. And you know, he was right — both KYC and CKYC forms were ‘same-same only but slightly different’. They both collected precisely the same data but had 3 valuable differences, as follows:

  1. The old KYC form was 2 pages long — one page for filling and one page of instructions for filling. The CKYC form is 6 pages long – 2 pages for filling the same one-page data, and 4 pages of instructions!
  2. Under the column SEX, the KYC had 2 alternatives: ‘Male’ or ‘Female’. The CKYC form has a third alternative: ‘Transgender’. Well, after the previous KYC verification, if I had a failed sex-change operation this is an easy way to notify the stock exchange.  Very useful to know.
  3. Under the column MARITAL STATUS, the old KYC form offered 2 alternatives: ‘Married’ and ‘’Single. I thought they had covered the entire range of options in a binary variable. Now the CKYC form offers a third alternative: ‘Other’. I suspect that ‘Other’ covers people “who are living together in sin”. The Goa government effectively used this data for corrective programmes during the Portuguese Inquisition (circa 1650). Very thoughtful inclusion.

I have dispatched the  new CKYC form immediately. I am keeping my fingers crossed so that there is no issue with my FATCA form. Next week I shall make mega profit on the Klingon Technologies Ltd. deal!


Courtesy: Robert Leighton in The New Yorker

Oh, by the way, I must reassure my worried friends; they were deeply concerned about Invasion of Privacy by the State and even others, because they collect so much personal data from all these forms. Such fears are absolutely baseless. Because, THERE IS NO FUCKING IDIOT IN THIS COUNTRY WITH THE FAINTEST CLUE ABOUT USING DATA— not in the Government, not in the Industry. If you cannot even recognise data, how will you ever misuse it?

Caution: If you found this post disgusting, there’s an even more disgusting piece I wrote earlier: Know Your Customer (KYC). Just thought you might be interested….



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