The new West Bengal Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishments Bill, 2013, was passed in the state legislative assembly, after withdrawing the earlier one, following objections from the Centre. The Bill was moved by the state finance minister Amit Mitra incorporating some clauses as suggested by the Union finance ministry.
Clarifications were sought on widening the powers of special designated courts dealing with cases related to chit funds and that no court could grant anticipatory bail. The new Bill incorporates fresh penal provisions like attachment of property in case of default in payment of deposit and transfer of property.
A similar Bill, introduced by the previous Left Front government in 2003, did not get the Presidential nod. The TMC government decided to repeal that Bill and introduce a new one. Ponzi or chain-money schemes have thrived in West Bengal for over a decade. One of them, Saradha, went belly-up in April 2013, after sucking thousands of crores of deposits.
The government has received as many as 3,763 complaints against banks with respect to credit card charges as of 1 July 2013, minister of state for finance Namo Narain Meena informed the parliament. The government received complaints against banks and financial institutions for their deficient services and practices related to credit cards like undue penal charges, late payment charges, issue of unsolicited cards and harassing telephone calls.
“Complaints on non-adherence by banks to the instructions of RBI on ATM/debit/credit card operations are considered under the RBI’s banking ombudsman scheme,” he said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. A total of 7,744 such complaints were received in 2012-13, and 5,146 complaints in 2011-12, he said.
HDFC Mutual Fund recently announced the acquisition of the schemes of Morgan Stanley Mutual Fund
HDFC Mutual Fund today announced the signing of a definitive agreement for it to acquire all the eight schemes of Morgan Stanley Mutual Fund in India. Morgan Stanley has been into the business for nearly a decade and has at present eight schemes with the average assets under management equalling Rs3290 crores. HDFC Mutual Fund has been among the top asset managers and has the largest assets under management.
According to a press release by the company, “The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals as required.” Mr. Milind Barve, Managing Director of HDFC Asset Management Company Limited said, “HDFC Mutual Fund has acquired a portfolio of strong performing domestic mutual fund schemes from Morgan Stanley and this acquisition is another step towards expanding our mutual fund customer base. We look forward to welcoming the investors in the eight schemes of Morgan Stanley Mutual Fund into the HDFC family.”
Morgan Stanley has done reasonably well as a fund house, and out of the 47 fund houses in existence, it has been among the better half of fund houses in terms of performance of its equity schemes. However, with the heavy outflow of assets over the recent few years, many fund houses have found the business unviable. Last year, we saw Fidelity Mutual Fund exiting the business selling its assets to L&T Mutual Fund. The regulator has tried hard to induce new fund inflows but has failed in its efforts. Over the past 12 months equity mutual funds have registered a net outflow of Rs12,949 crore.
Moneylife has been constantly highlighting declining sales of mutual funds which has a lot do with the attitude of both fund companies and the regulator. The actions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) have been consistently ill-informed and capricious. After the regulator abruptly banned upfront commissions in August 2009, SEBI has been trying to tinker around with the rules without any clue about how the buyers (investors) and the sellers (distributors) perceive equity funds.