Mutual Funds
Equity mutual funds in December register highest inflow in three months

Net inflow for December was the highest in the last three months. But sales of equity funds have been on a decline in the recent few months

Last month saw a net inflow of Rs472 crore, compared to a net outflow of Rs52 crore in November, thanks to lower redemptions. In fact, the total sales of equity funds have been declining steadily since August 2011 despite a decline in the market for same period. Sales have fallen 47% from Rs5,820 crore in August to Rs3,061 crore in December. The sales have fallen by 42% year-on-year, as well.

Except for one equity linked savings scheme (ELSS) scheme which was launched last month there was no other New Fund Offer (NFO). In the last five months there were just four NFOs launched. The volatility and uncertainty in the market is probably keeping retail investors away and hence fund companies are in a wait-and-watch mode in planning to launch any more new schemes.

The year ended on a positive note with a total net inflow of Rs7,661 crore compared to last year which saw and enormous amount of net outflow amounting to Rs15,838 crore. However, total equity mutual fund sales for the year 2011 just totalled Rs57,398 crore and was significantly less than the year 2010 which totalled Rs68,984 crore.

Redemptions were much less as well in 2011, too. Total redemptions for the year amounted to Rs49,770 crore compared to a huge redemption in 2010 amounting to Rs84,822 crore. The highest redemptions in a month for the last 12 years was seen in the month of September 2010—a total redemption of Rs13,250 crore, just before the market reached its peak in the next few months.

Moneylife has been highlighting the declining retail participation in equity markets. The drop in equity mutual fund sales is another indicator. The regulator has been constantly tweaking the norms for the mutual fund industry, but this has clearly done more harm than good, a point highlighted by us for two years which both the mainstream media and the fund industry are now beginning to echo, as well. Distributors have found fund-selling unviable and have been moving out of the business. Brokers have little incentive to sell mutual funds. The only option for intermediaries to earn some income has been to make investors churn their portfolios but this leads to a loss for investors. Along with this, the low incentive to sell mutual funds has led many distributors to sell insurance, which is a bad deal for investors.

The first quarter of this year (January-March) should see a pick up in equity fund inflow, as many invest in ELSS which gives them a tax break. There is usually a burst in ELSS sales in this period.


IPO Crackdown-1: Bharatiya Global Infomedia

How exactly did the seven IPOs that were the subject of SEBI’s regulatory action dupe investors? Aditya Govindaraj explains what they did and how...

(This is the first part of a series of articles on SEBI’s regulatory action)

The Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) recently barred several directors and officials of Bharatiya Global Infomedia (BGIL) from the capital market as part of its crackdown on fraud and irregularities in the initial public offerings (IPOs) of seven companies. It also prohibited Almondz Global Securities, the lead manger from taking up any new assignment. What exactly did they do?  

In July 2011 BGIL raised Rs55 crore, at Rs82 per share with the stated objective of purchasing offices (Rs9.89 crore), investment in a digital post-production studio (Rs22 crore), expanding its R&D centre (Rs6.56 crore), repayment of bank borrowings (Rs2.69 crore) and for long term working capital (Rs5 crore).
It was the brazen manipulation of the BGIL shares on the listing day that caught the regulator’s eye. The shares, which were listed on 28 July 2011 at Rs81.90, on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), rose to Rs83 and soon began to slide, plunging to Rs29.90 at close.

A SEBI investigation revealed that rigging its share price was just one of its many acts of mischief. Wrong disclosures in its prospectus (which is a legal document), misutilisation of IPO proceeds and other violations soon tumbled out.

* What is most shocking is the track record of the chairman & managing director (CMD) Rakesh Bhatia, who was involved in various questionable entities in the past. Mr Bhatia was, earlier a promoter and managing director of SRG (Infotech), a loss-making entity which had an IPO in 1994 and whose shares are currently trading below Re1. He was also the promoter and chairman of SRG Financial & Management when it came out with its IPO in 1996. The company doesn’t seem to exist today. Subsequently, he became the managing director of Visesh Infosystems, currently known as Visesh Infotechnics, which came up with an IPO in 1999, and quit in 2004. The pattern at which he was associating and disassociating himself with various entities involved in IPOs never caught the eye of the merchant bank and regulators.  This has raised questions about the efficacy and purpose of identification documents such as Know Your Customer (KYC) details and PAN cards details required by the Income Tax department. How did Mr Bhatia’s past record escape the regulator’s attention?

* BGIL claimed to have spent Rs2.50 crore to purchase offices at Mumbai and Noida. Documents revealed that the money was advanced to Dhanmangal Developers of Kolkata, which found no mention in the prospectus. Worse, there was no move to set up offices in Mumbai or Noida.

* SEBI rules require promoters to disclose a list of relatives of the promoters for the purpose of insider trading rules. BGIL conveniently omitted to disclose several of these, so that property deals could be done through them to siphon off IPO funds. For instance, the company signed up to acquire property from Gadeo Electronics owned by Richa Mittal (95% stake in the partnership firm) and R K Mittal (5%). The latter is the father of BGIL’s director Sanjeev Kumar Mittal. But the prospectus said: “Mrs Richa Mittal is wife of Mr Rajeev Mittal and a resident of A-147-148, Sector 55, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, and not related to our Company, our Promoters/Directors or Promoter Group Companies.”  Rajeev Mittal, the husband, is the brother of Mr Sanjeev Mittal but the relationship was falsely concealed.  

* A bigger problem, from the investors’ perspective is the concealment of significant borrowings.  BGIL’s borrowing through inter-corporate deposits (ICDs) amounted to around 60% to its total liabilities—of this, Rs7 crore was not revealed in the prospectus and amounted to a 100% jump on current liabilities. Instead, the prospectus brazenly lied and said: “Our company has not raised any bridge loan against the proceeds of the present issue”.

* During investigation, CMD Rakesh Bhatia claimed that money was paid to two vendors, but their names did not figure in the prospectus.

The regulator has asked BGIL to recall funds paid out of IPO proceeds to directors, relatives and dubious vendors. The amounts will have to be deposited in an interest-bearing escrow account with a scheduled commercial bank, till further orders.



K B Patil

5 years ago

Banks and brokers follow double standards as the IPO scam shows. For a small investor, since they do not benefit much, banks, brokers etc. implement KYC norms strictly, even though KYC as stipulated today has made it difficult if not impossible for young students, employees transferred frequently etc., to open bank and trading accounts. However, for scamsters, KYC norms seem to have been thrown to the winds. The investigations by SEBI should be taken to their logical conclusion i.e lock up fraudsters for a long, long time.

Bulk deals

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