The ‘Satrix website’ that isn’t
Jan Kruger, the sole proprietor of a financial services provider that trades as JE Financial Consulting, thought he was on to a good thing until he was spotted by Dave Crawford, a Johannesburg-based financial educator.
Crawford wanted to make a direct investment in one of the Satrix exchange traded funds. He was not sure of the website address, so he googled “Satrix”.
And then he almost fell into Kruger’s little trap.
When the Google search page comes up, the first site listed is not Satrix but Kruger’s, whose clever web designer has managed to upstage Satrix by using the title Satrix JSE Funds Online.
If you invest in Satrix through JE Financial Consulting’s website, you will pay a needless upfront fee of 1.5 percent of your investment and a further annual fee of 0.25 percent.
The title of the official Satrix website is Satrix Home, with the address www.satrix.co.za
The deception did not stop there. When you open the JE Financial site, the front page is dominated by the Satrix logo with a reference to JE Financial Consulting in far smaller type.
Then the process of filling in the application form starts.
You need to go through eight steps, providing extensive personal details, before you reach any information about the additional costs that starts with the note: “These details are read-only and need only be confirmed by you.” So, even though you are entitled to negotiate commissions, you are unable to change them on the website.
A note also states that the financial services provider or representative “certifies that he/ she has personally explained all the features of the product to the investor” … and has “personally explained all the fees and commissions including all risk ...”.
Kruger, after the intervention of Satrix and the Financial Services Board, says he will reimburse anyone who has been misled. He is also ensuring that his website is legally compliant.