Companies & Sectors
EPFO slaps Rs55 crore demand notice on Ahluwalia Contracts

EPFO has slapped a Rs54.57 crore demand notice on Ahluwalia Contracts, however the company said it will file an appeal with the tribunal for quashing the demand

New Delhi: Retirement fund body Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has slapped a Rs54.57 crore demand notice on Ahluwalia Contracts (India), reports PTI.

 

Ahluwalia Contracts (India), which is into the business of construction, however, quashed the charge, labelling it "arbitrary".

 

"...The company has just received the demand notice of Rs54.57 crore for the period September 2007 to March 2009 from Employee Provident Fund office, New Delhi," it said in a BSE filing.

 

"The demand is hypothetical assumption and arbitrary. The demand notice is under study and the appeal will be preferred at competent authority to quash the demand," it added.

 

Ahluwalia Contracts (India) is one of the few firms belonging to the construction sector who pay provident funds on regular basis, Company Chairman & Managing Director Bikramjit Ahluwalia told PTI.

 

"We are among the 5% of the construction firms in India which pay provident fund regularly. The rest 95% don't. However, they are targeting us only. This is the result of inspector raj," Ahluwalia said.

 

"We are going to the tribunal and prove that we are not doing anything wrong," he added.

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SEBI panel for raising MF's administrative, other expenses

The mutual fund industry has been demanding hiking expense ratio by 0.25% to 2.5% and also doing away with the sub-ceilings within the expense ratio for AMCs

New Delhi: The Mutual Fund Advisory Committee appointed by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is understood to have accepted the demand of the MF industry, including hiking expense ratio, at their meeting, reports PTI.

The mutual fund industry has been demanding hiking expense ratio- the percentage of an investor's money that is deducted by the fund house annually to meet its expenses - by 0.25% to 2.5%, sources said.

Besides, the industry had also pitched for fungibility, which refers to doing away with the sub-ceilings within the expense ratio for asset management companies (AMCs), they added.

At present, of the total expense ratio of 2.25% charged by fund houses, 1% is charged as asset management fees. The rest is used to meet custodian charges, advertising and marketing costs and other operating expenses.

Earlier this month, the MF industry had discussed their demands with the officials of Finance Ministry. At the meeting, the industry had also demanded shifting of the 12% Service Tax burden on consumers.

Last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who also holds the finance portfolio, has said that mutual fund industry was facing problems and something was needed to be done to resolve their issues.

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SEBI to avoid turf war on allowing MFs to enter pension business

The market regulator wants to avoid turf war with other regulators while finalising norms to allow mutual funds to launch pension products

New Delhi: Market watchdog The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said it will avoid turf war with other regulators while finalising norms to allow mutual funds to launch pension products, reports PTI.

"We will avoid all turf war (between regulators). After we get the stakeholder recommendation we will go to the board and then take a final call," SEBI Chairman UK Sinha said.

He was speaking to reporters after meeting Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

On the meeting with Sinha, Ahluwalia said, "It was a courtesy call, we did not have a structured discussion".

"SEBI will take a direction towards reviving the mutual fund interest in the country and some long-term and medium-term measures will be contemplated in the Advisory Committee meeting," Sinha added.

While the mutual funds are regulated by SEBI, pension falls under the purview of Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

Earlier, the regulation of Unit-Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) created a turf was between Sebi and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) forcing the Finance Ministry to intervene and resolve the issue.

The mutual fund industry, which is going through a bad patch on account of declining investor interest, wants to launch pension products to attract retirement money. However, taxation and other regulatory issues are delaying the process.

The SEBI meeting comes close on the heels of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement last month that the MF industry is facing problems that needed to be resolved.

Sebi has allowed the mutual fund industry to come out with pension schemes and is in touch with the Finance Ministry to sort out the taxation issues.

The current provisions of the Income Tax Act makes pension products of insurance companies eligible for tax deduction benefits. However, no such benefits are available for MF schemes.

Industry experts said SEBI would have to modify regulations to enable mutual fund houses to launch pension schemes.

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