Owner Hardus Van Pletsen informed us that SMC had developed a course to teach the average person how to invest their own money in the stock market. For example, the course covers primary material such as what the stock market is, how it operates, what a stockbroker is, and how to read stock prices in the newspapers, among other things. In the words of owner Hardus Van Pletsen, the goal of the course is to transform participants into successful private investors.
Possibilities for business: –
Owner Hardus Van Pletsen informed us that SMC offers business prospects to its clients, which we confirmed. According to court documents, franchisees and distributors who sold SMC items to the general public were previously contracted by the company. These franchisees employed sales consultants who presented sales presentations to prospective customers while visiting their locations. After completing a sale with a client, SMC delivered the client with the acquired product or products.
Following the completion of a sale by a distributor, the distributor forwarded to SMC a copy of the agreement and evidence of payment by the client. It was possible to make payments for SMC’s items directly into its bank account. He informed us that Go Direct Stock Market Investment CC (Go Direct) had been one of SMC’s franchises/distributors until the beginning of 2012. SMC discontinued the use of distributors/franchises.
According to owner Hardus Van Pletsen, SMC began experimenting with network marketing almost a decade before. Network marketing is the direct sale of items to customers by direct salespeople (independent contractors) who are paid a commission for the promotion and distribution of the products to the public at large. H van Pletsen went on to say that SMC had made specific changes to its business strategy at the end of October 2011 and that since then, network marketing had “truly taken off.” SMC was also a member of the Direct Selling Association of South Africa (DSA), responsible for regulating network marketing in the country. SMC was a full member of the DSA, according to the DSA’s website, and its products were defined as “stock market education and charting software.
Accounts for trading: –
According to owner Hardus Van Pletsen, SMC did not provide any investment advice to its clients throughout his tenure as president. In addition, he informed us that SMC had previously entered into referral agreements with other stock brokerage firms but that these had been terminated. In the current state of affairs, according to owner Hardus Van Pletsen, SMC has referral relationships with two stock brokerage firms, namely Trademark and News trading.
He also provided us with copies of the referral agreements between SMC T1rademar and Newstrading, which H van Pletsen also offered. SMC was to provide Newstrading with lists in digital format containing the personal information of SMC clients, which list would be updated every month with the news of new clients; and 1 SMC would be entitled to a 30 per cent ongoing introduction commission of the brokerage fees in instances where Newstrading provided a financial service to clients of SMC.
Investment clubs: –
We learned from owner Hardus Van Pletsen that a stockbroker once approached him, who advised that SMC might consider involving its clients in mutual fund investing clubs. However, even though SMC’s website mentioned “investment clubs,” no additional information was supplied on the website, and the investment clubs did not materialize. We discovered that SMC’s primary business was providing stock market-related training and software to clients. Basic information is covered in the training course, such as what the stock market is, how it operates, what a stockbroker is, and how to interpret stock prices in the media.