fourthchirpin....are those single-groove keepers that you are installing like that, or triple-groove?
If those are triple-groove, then I wouldn't suggest installing those like you described since you would be stressing the locks and "splaying" them apart and warping/damaging them. This would also make it easy to gall the valve stems. Upon removal of the valves at a later point those gouges will damage the valve guides on the way out. Stress risers in most any valvetrain component is never a good thing either.
...but if those are Single-Groove locks, then installation like you stated has no ill effects.
However, if those are a certain aftermarket brand of valves and locks in single-groove, I would be afraid to start my engine.
While I am embellishing that comment, yes...it is only slightly.
I just recently showed our engineering department a sample of that competitor's valves and locks for a 1.8T he was stunned at how low the quality was. The locks are simply stamped steel and most likely from some OEM application. Nothing performance-quality oriented about them at all. Reason for it simply so it is interchangeable with OEM retainers, and to claim to be more reliable than the OEM triple-groove setup. The inherent problem with a triple groove is that the two lock-halves press against each other. The only benefit of this is that it does NOT tightly hold onto the valve which allows the valve to rotate and land in a fresh location as grandma drives around town, this keeps carbon from being able to build up on the valve seats. Fantastic engineering to avoid warranty claims, etc from those drivers. However, when you and I drive, we turn up the wick. Now the lose-holding design now means that you have valves, locks, and retainers dancing around in an uncontrolled manner. This leads to an erratic clamp/release/clamp scenario that galls and gouges into the lock area. A slight fracture/crack in a valve stem will eventually lead to the propagation of a complete failure. Having a valve and its locking area modify itself into a 2-piece valve means massive engine failure. I point out to customers all the time, you may have saved a little money initially, but when the grenades its going to cost you far more money (let alone hassle) than it would have to use the better parts.
Anyways, back to the these terrible single-groove locks at hand. The customer that sent these in wanted us to make him custom valves to work with these single-groove locks. I was about to but checked with my engineering department to see what they thought of that idea. They were blown away by how low the quality was on the lock. As I mentioned in an earlier post, when you design things to mix & match with OEM or other brands, you cannot do so without compromising either performance or reliability, or both.
Because these are designed to mimick the install fitment of the OEM lock, they are very thin at the bottom, and cheaply produced as stamped steel. Compared to our method of precision CNC machining, stamped steel can never hold the tolerances anywhere near as close. Even on this lock sample that we had, we could see evidence of wear on the lock due to inconsistent tolerances fluctuating from top to bottom. Another issue is that locks like this are so thin at the bottom of the lock that if you were to put them through a heat treatment sufficient for the upper body of the lock, the lower (and thinner) area of the lock will become case hardened which in turn means that it will be brittle and susceptible to breaking during installation if not done carefully.
Not applying uniform pressure within a steel retainer rarely has any wear-related issues. This is because a steel retainer has enough hardness to resist galling. Titanium on the other hand is a more malleable material in which gouging will occur when used in a severe race application. If you're not breaking these compromised parts, you're not pushing it hard enough. By that I mean road racing applications where the engine is living at the limiter the majority of the time, etc.. Probably won't be a problem in a street-driven vehicle, but why risk it? Not worth it to me just to save a few bucks.