You see all these MF ads wherever you turn. Some new scheme launching or something else. Although the ads have come down since their peak in 2008-09 (remember the marketing blitz associated with the Reliance Small Cap fund launch?), their ads are still pretty common.
But the thing is, once you do actually start a SIP, they make it as difficult as humanly possible to stop you from getting out. Actually, what they do is they count on our laziness to postpone tasks and to generally put things off to drag out the thing as long as possible.
I started off with SIPs sometime in 2009-10 and was looking to make a few changes this past year. Here's how I fared.
Reliance SIP: You can download the form, fill it and send it to them. No online stopping business. If they don't get the form 21 days before the next SIP date, they automatically disregard the request and don't bother to inform you.
HDFC SIP: Just creating an online login involves sending in some form (in triplicate, I think). I haven't been bothered (yet). Couldn't cross pehla padaav only.
Sundaram BNP Paribas: No online forms. You can buy anything you like, and generally transact in any way, except stopping your SIP. No forms, period. Write a letter mentioning all relevant details, then hand-deliver it to one of four offices in Mumbai and that too 30 days before the next SIP. Or else, thank you, come again.
Fidelity: They allow you to invest/redeem/switch/SIP etc. etc. but nothing on their system allows you to stop one. Frankly, I still don't know how. Couldn't find anything on the website. Might have to call up the helpline and ask. Their website doesn't even have a search facility.
Birla Sun Life MF: Nothing to stop a SIP within their customer login. Again, you can purchase, redeem, switch, start an SIP/SWP, but no stopping. One document states that cancellation request has to reach their office 30 days before next SIP, but how to go about doing it I don't know. I couldn't find out how to cancel on the website. Again, will require calling them up I suppose.
ICICI Pru MF - Have a cancel iSIP option when you login to their customer desk, but not one if you've started the old-fashioned way i.e. by filling out a form. Still, something better than nothing, yes? They have a FAQ section, which absolutely does not tell you anything about how to stop your SIP. Le sigh...
Can't SEBI make giving a simple "Stop SIP" button on the website mandatory? Or AMFI? Someone? Anyone?