I had an ICICIdirect account for around 3 years. I found their services extremely unreliable, unprofessional and expensive. My experience with ICICIdirect are mentioned hereunder.
OPENING ICICIDIRECT 3 IN 1 ACCOUNT TAKES ONE MONTH-
February 2008- Went to ICICIdirect office in Garia to ask for the procedure to open a demat account. The custo ...View Moremer care executive claimed that they were the most trust worthy broker house and claimed other brokers play with the customers money and ICICI does not. Impressed by this I agreed to open their 3 in 1 Account. The 3 in 1 Account, includes a zero balance ICICI bank account in addition to the trading and demat accounts.
Within a few day they sent their representative to my house to do the needful. Initially I had to pay Rs.750 as a One time Account Opening Charges. (The same has now been increased to Rs. 975!), I understand the 1st years Annual Maintenance Charge was included in that amount.
It took the ICICI guys nearly one month to open the demat, trading and bank account!
Reason for choosing ICICIdirect- My previous investments in equity markets were through mutual funds and I was new to the Stock Market. The demat account offered by a well known bank seemed 'safe'. As I realized later it turned out to be a big mistake.
THE ICICIDIRECT EXPERIENCE-
Initially there was no trading software, it is very difficult to buy or sell a stock if you cannot see the current prices. You had to open some other website to see the live prices before you transact. Later in 2010 they introduced their trading software 'traderacer'. However this software is full of bugs and expensive, I have covered this later in my review.
They do provide some research reports but of very ordinary quality. Most of the companies they write about are well researched companies, sufficient data about them are anyway available in the free domain.
Through their website they also try to sell other products like, insurance, loans, Wealth management and PMS etc. It is very disconcerting to see ICICIdirect trying to sell the financial products from ICICI group companies instead of making their demat services better and reliable! It should be understood that those who have a ICICIdirect account will be mainly into equity or derivative.
RIDICULOUSLY HIGH BROKERAGE AND CHARGES-
The brokerage for the the default I-saver plan is 0.75% (for quarterly turnover of Less Than 10 Lakhs) The brokerage on addition of Service Tax (ST), Securities Transaction Tax (STT), SEBI turnover charges ,Transaction Charges (inclusive of Service tax) and Stamp duty comes to around 0.9% net! I have not heard of any other broker house which charges such ridiculously high brokerages.
Now there is another plan wherein they charge 0.55% plus all taxes and applicable transaction charges. I had asked to my brokerage plan to be changed to that on many occasion. I had been told that the changes would be effective from the next quarter. But next quarter the brokerage plan never got changed. The customer care executives had no idea why the change in brokerage was not effected and promised to get back to me later (which they never did). The same thing happened to me on 2 or 3 times!
On top of the ridiculously high brokerage they charge an Annual Maintenance Charge of Rs. 450 (Comes to around Rs. 500 on addition of service taxes). For Physical statement they charge even more- Rs. 500 plus taxes. They charge this AMC in advance for every year.
As I have mentioned earlier they launched their trading platform 'traderacer' amidst much hype. The platform is full of bugs. It often does not not show/update the prices or any other data (open, high-low, volume etc) of any of the saved scripts! Repeated calls to ICICIdirect's helpline are met with replies like "there seems to be some technical problem", âplease try laterâ etc. However they charge Rs. 75 per month for this useless feature!
The charges for trade racer come to Rs.900 annually(Rs. 75 per month), an amount you will agree is very hefty for a trading platform that does not work! Add the AMC of Rs.450 the annual charges come to Rs. 1350 (around Rs. 1500 including all taxes)!
Also their charges including demat charge, off market sell, transfer charge, Pledge Creation/Closure/Invocation charges are ridiculously steep
http://content.icicidirect.com/mailimages/bank fee schedule.htm
All in all ICICI not only charge a hefty joining fee, ridiculously high brokerage, high Annual Maintenance Charge and other various charges which are amongst the highest in the industry!
FREQUENT TECHNICAL SNAGS AND POOR CUSTOMER CARE-
Technical glitches are frequent. Often the website is down and only a message is displayed stating 'Site unavailable because of technical problem' (Or something of that sort). Whenever there is a big movement in the market the website becomes unavailable.
There have been many instances where I could not log in despite providing the proper login-id and password. Also the website tends to log out, when one tries to give a buy or sell order.
In 2008 & 2009 there were many instances when the website was not accessible because of 'technical problems'. However 2010 was the worst- there were instance where online trading system as well as the phone-order service of ICICIdirect broke down for the entire trading day.
One can imagine the plight of lakhs of day traders and swing traders, let down by ICICIdirect, who depend on the markets for their livelihood!
ICICIdirect does not have a dedicated helpline. One has to go through the ICICI Bank helpline in a series of complicated steps, with a wait time of up to10 minutes. On top of that the âcustomer careâ executives never have any idea about the problem.
IT TAKES NEARLY ONE MONTH TO CLOSE ICICIDIRECT ACCOUNT-
All in all I was so bugged with the pathetic service offered by ICICIdirect that I decided to close the account in January of this year. As I have explained below even the process took nearly one month and 4 visits to their banks/offices!
January 03, 2011- Went to ICICI Bank at Gariahat to transfer my shares held at my ICICI demat account to my Indiabulls demat account. Note that no ICICI Bank south of Gariahat branch offer demat services. That means ICICI bank does not offer demat services in its branches in vast areas of South Kolkata including Garia, Tollygunge, Behala, Thakurpukur etc! I am sure residents of other cities will face similar problems with their ICICI demat account. On asking about the procedure to close the demat account the employee at ICICI Bank, Gariahat branch told me the trading account has to be closed first. The same cannot be done by ICICI Bank and for that one has to go to a ICICIdirect office!
January 05- After the shares were transferred to my Indiabulls account, I went to ICICIdirect office at Garia. I filled up the necessary form and My Relationship manager (who had never bothered to interact with me before in the last 3 years) told me that it would take around 15 days to close the trading account! She told me they would let me know once the trading account is closed.
January 19- My trading account was finally closed. Note that ICICI did not bother to inform me my phone or mail. I checked my account online to see that the the trading account had been closed.
January 24- I went to ICICI bank Gariahat branch again to close my demat account. I paid the ridiculously high transfer charges for the share transfer by cash and filled up the demat closure form. I was informed it will take a further 7 days to close the demat account!
January 25- Since I had applied for demat account closure I went to ICICI Bank, Garia Branch to close the zero balance bank account. Note that once the trading and demat account are closed the zero balance bank account linked to the trading/demat account will automatically get converted to a normal ICICI bank savings account, which will entail a minimum quarterly average balance of Rs. 10000!
January 31- The demat account was finally closed. I checked at the NSDL website to confirm the same.
As you can see the procedure to close their trading and demat account takes nearly one month!
ADVICE TO PEOPLE WHO WANT TO OPEN A DEMAT ACCOUNT-
DO NOT open an account at ICICIdirect, their services very unreliable, unprofessional and expensive. You will suffer the way I have suffered.
Do not open a demat account offered by any bank. Typically they charge high brokerages and annual charges. Also remember that demat services is a secondary business for them and customer satisfaction for banking services and not demat services is their priority.
Open a account with a broker who offers software based trading. Trading interface which open in the browser tends to get disconnected easily especially if the internet connection is slow.
ADVICE TO PEOPLE WHO WANT TO CLOSE THEIR ICICIDIRECT ACCOUNT-
Congratulations! You are correct in thinking about closing your ICICIdirect account. It is just not worth continuing with the pathetic services offered by ICICIdirect.
Transfer your shares to some other account before you start the procedure to close ICICIdirect account. Do not be compelled to sell your holdings because of the poor services offered by ICICI.
AMC is deducted for every year in advance. Start the procedure of closing the trading and demat account ten months or so into the current subscription. If the Demat Account is closed during the year, no pro-rata refund of Annual Service Charge will be made by ICICI. As I have explained closing their trading and demat account takes nearly a month, so plan accordingly.
If you have a zero balance bank account linked to your demat/trading account close the bank account immediately after closing the demat/trading account. This is because the zero balance bank account linked to the trading/demat account will automatically get converted to a normal ICICI bank savings account, which will entail a minimum quarterly average balance of Rs. 10000! And we all know that ICICI charges a ridiculously high amount for non maintenance of minimum quarterly average balance.
To summarise demat services offered by ICICI are extremely unreliable, unprofessional and expensive. STAY AWAY FROM ICICIdirect.