An educational campaign for fund investors unveiled in Shanghai over the weekend is an important bid to bring rationality back to the market. It is no less significant than the central bank's move to raise interest rates or raise bank deposit reserve ratios in an effort to mop up excess liquidity.
The six-month campaign, assisted by the Shanghai bureau of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, will include 28 fund management companies, 10 securities brokerages, six agent banks and two law firms. It aims to build an educational channel for investors and lay a solid foundation for a sustainable, stable and healthy market development.
Over the past year, a nationwide frenzy of investing in stocks and funds has caused enormous concerns among regulators and experts.
Investors have plunged into the stock and fund markets in a scale never seen before. Many people blindly believe the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will assure a bullish run for at least a year.
Talking about stocks and funds has become the daily greeting for many Chinese today. In fact, chiefs of some government institutions and companies have had to enforce strict rules so that their employees do not spend their time trading stocks during working hours.
Most investors, especially the vast number of new ones, have refused to learn lessons from the prolonged and painful stock market doldrums in previous years.
Many rush to buy stocks and funds without knowing much about individual companies, their products, strategies and industry prospects. They make their decisions based on street rumors or some "advice" posted on the Web.
While the fluctuating market these days may bring some to heed warnings and give investments a second thought, education has become critical in protecting the interest of investors, especially those small and vulnerable ones.
Smart investors should not only help themselves by being wary of risks and making rational decisions, they should also help regulators keep an eye on rampant market irregularities, whether it's insider trading, market manipulation or improper information disclosure.
With more financial products added to the country's nascent market, investor education should now be stepped up across the country.
(China Daily July 3, 2007)