Before online nominations, let’s see the painful processes that accompany offline nomination forms.

Once you fill the nomination form, with woefully inadequate space and all, you go on to supporting documents and processes.

Usual documents are tax identity information by way of PAN card and one, or two, acceptable address proof documents. Some financial entities/ investments require these ‘KYC’ (Know Your Customer) documents for the nominee as well.

Some forms ask for photographs, thumb impressions and one or two witness signatures along with personal details and maybe even KYC, or a combination of these.

If your nominee is a minor, you have to designate a guardian for the purpose of the nomination and give that person’s details.

Need for unified form

Why there can’t be one unified form and procedure for nomination across financial entities and investments is a mystery. I am sure the differences are based on the legal status of the investment itself but all this can still be distilled into a single and hopefully, a simple form. There is no justification at any rate for a disparity between the nomination form and process of say, a savings bank account in one bank and another, or of one bond and another, between post office savings investments and the same instruments through a bank?

This list is not complete.

Countersignatures galore

The other thing that gets me very nervous is countersignatures. Yes, if I make a correction in a form I should countersign it to authenticate the modification. In one nomination form that said ‘Signature of nominee is mandatory only if nominee photograph is submitted’, I made the mistake of not opting for photograph but getting the nominee to sign. The bank asked me to redo the entire form. When I pointed out that when it says mandatory, it means it is ok not to sign it if photo is not given and does not mean that signing it is a violation!

The relationship manager unleashed her panacea! Ma’am, just countersign it there please, she said. I told her with much restraint that she should lodge the form as is and on my responsibility. It went through.

More on countersignatures. After I filled a multiple page form meticulously, a bank representative asked me to place a countersignature on every page.

Why? Just in case there is an error somewhere. I don’t think I greyed as fast in a few moments!

To state the obvious, countersigning with abandon just creates the opportunity to add anything, anywhere, afterwards! Beware of this mighty weapon.

And yes, please make yourself a file copy of any, any, ANY document you sign for a financial entity.

(The writer is a business journalist specialising in insurance & corporate history)