So the mutual fund guys, after taking all my money over the last few years, suddenly want to know who I am, and whether I exist. Every day, I get these ominous email reminders from my accountant and the mutual fund people that I have to ‘comply’ with a KYC (Know Your Customer) verification process, else my transaction will suffer the risk of being rejected.
The email said:
“We wish to bring it to your kind attention that effective 01st January' 2011, Know Your Customer (KYC) is mandatory for all investors who wish to invest in mutual fund.
KYC stands for "Know your Customer", a term commonly used for Customer Identification Process.
All investors in mutual fund schemes are mandatorily required to complete the KYC process as per the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 ("PMLA"). This one-time verification is valid for transactions across all mutual funds. In order to avoid any transaction rejection due to Non-Compliance of KYC, we request you to kindly update your KYC at the earliest.....blah blah blah..."
This was followed by two pages of documents required.
Nice. You didn’t have to know me when you took my money, did you? And now that you have all of it sitting nicely, you want to know me better.
So I have to prove that I was born, that I exist, that I have a valid address, that I have a bank account, a passport, a PAN card, that I have enough money (acquired by legal means) to invest in your company, that I pay my bills, that I will continue to do so forever and ever.
It’s easy for me. All I have to do is rummage through my files, and produce the necessary documents, get them attested, and there! My investments are safe. After two days of tearing my hair out, that is.
So this has been a month of paperwork. Not. Very. Nice. The poor husband is on another formidable journey. That of getting his passport renewed. He was shocked to realise that as per the mandates of the passport authority, he doesn’t even exist, forget being eligible to apply for a new passport. First, he has no document to prove that he lives in Bombay. Our lease agreement just makes us poorer every month, but does not hold water in any court of law, we were told. His old passport has a Delhi address. He doesn’t own property in Bombay. Bank statements, utility bills, credit card bills are no good, we were told. He doesn’t have a birth certificate or a school leaving certificate. Dubious, I thought, but it is too late. I have already married him
The only proof that he exists is me. Me who has a valid ration card and a permanent address in Bombay. Me who is on paper (and otherwise) married to him. Me who was proactive enough to get our marriage registered so that his highness would have some proof of existence. Me who was also proactive enough to apply for an MTNL connection which, in case you didn’t know, is proof of residence that far surpasses your bank statement, your lease agreement, your various wallet-ripping bills. So he exists because I do, I gently reminded him. He quickly agreed that I was his best investment.
So off he goes into the big, bad world, armed with a marriage certificate, ready to renew his passport. At least in this case, the famous Hindi dialogue should read as, “Mere paas biwi hai!”