Mahindra Finance enters reinsurance broking business

Mahindra Finance has received approval from IRDA to enter reinsurance broking business

Mahindra Insurance Brokers Ltd (MIBL), a 100% subsidiary company of Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd (Mahindra Finance), has received approval from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to enter the reinsurance broking business. MIBL has been in the direct broking business since May 2004 and has now been granted the composite broking licence, allowing the company to also undertake reinsurance broking.

Ramesh Iyer, managing director, Mahindra Finance, and director, MIBL, said, "We see the potential of India to emerge as a strong Asian reinsurance hub by the turn of the decade, and we would like to play a key role in shaping this vision."

Dr Jaideep Devare managing director, MIBL, said, "We will continue to deliver innovative and customisd solutions to our customers, and will invest in expertise, skill and tools that would be required to become a significant player in the market. We have already hired a team of reinsurance professionals with rich Indian and international experience." 

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BNP Paribas MF expands equities fund management team

Apurva Shah and Abhijeet Dey appointed to BNP Paribas Mutual Fund equities fund management team to enhance its research capabilities

BNP Paribas Mutual Fund continues to expand its equities fund management team with the addition of two senior members to enhance its research capabilities.

Apurva Shah has joined the team as head-investment research and will head a team of analysts across asset classes. Shah was the head of research-institutional equities at Prabhudas Lilladher leading an 18-member research team and has over a decade of experience in the Indian equity markets first as an analyst covering various sectors and then as a strategist covering market overall. Through his career, he has covered sectors as varied as technology, media and financials. Shah is a CFA charter, a post graduate degree in management from Mumbai University and an engineer from Poona University.

Abhijeet Dey, with over 10 years of experience, has also joined the team as a senior research analyst. In his previous assignment, Dey was a senior research analyst at Kotak Mahindra AMC. Dey has a master's degree in management and is an engineer from Mumbai University.

Announcing these appointments Nikhil Johri, managing director, BNP Paribas Asset Management said, "We are delighted to welcome Apurva and Abhijeet to our team and are sure that their expertise and experience will add a lot of value to the performance track record of our funds."

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Price hike of 10%-15% seen in select pulses like yellow peas, ‘tur dal’ and lentils

Drop in ‘kharif’ production and depreciation of the rupee in the currency market has led to price rise, though ‘rabi’ crop estimates and the Centre’s contingency plan are expected to plug the demand-supply gap and stem the hike

Prices of pulses such as yellow peas, tur dal and lentils have increased by 10%-15% due to lower kharif estimates and depreciation in the currency market.

Experts say that the weakening rupee has resulted in a price rise, because India is a major importer of pulses. Along with that, there has been a decline in kharif estimates. In India, yellow peas are the most demanded pulse crop and around 1.5million tonnes (MT) are imported every year.  

"In a matter of one month, the rupee has fallen dramatically and there were some concerns over kharif production. This is the main reason for the price rise of yellow peas, tur dal, lentils etc. Prices increased by not more than 10%-15%" Bimal Kothari, vice-president, India Pulses and Grain Association (IPGA), told Moneylife.

According to the agricultural ministry, as per the current coverage of area under pulses during kharif 2011, there is a shortfall of 10.89 lakh hectare as compared to last season. Less acreage during this kharif season may lead to shortfall of 0.70MT as per the first advance estimates of production.

"The main reason for lower kharif crop is that first there was a delayed monsoon and then there was excess rainfall. This took a toll on the crop," added Mr Kothari.

Experts point out that tur dal was procured at a low minimum support price (MSP), and there was expectation of a certain rise in prices. Overall, retailers are also taking advantage of the festive season and are keeping prices on the higher side.

"Prices are not expected to increase further. They have started to come down gradually in the wholesale market. It is the retail market which is the area of concern and (the) government should look into it. It takes time for prices to come down in the retail market. Retailers are not ready to bring down prices, as many customers have little information of the market," said Mr Kothari.  

Rabi production may halt rising prices. According to Mr Kothari, "Due to good monsoon, the rabi production of pulses like chana, lentil, and yellow peas is expected to be good. So there isn't any alarming situation on the price rise (front)."

"Prices have seen a rise since the last month. But the estimates of rabi crop have been good, which will ensure adequate supply and will keep a check on prices," a trader told Moneylife, preferring anonymity.

The Union government has prepared a contingency plan to increase pulses production in the rabi season, through area expansion and productivity enhancement. The plan targets to achieve an additional production of 2.78MT during the ensuing rabi season and to offset the loss of the kharif season. For this purpose, an additional amount of Rs80 crore has been allocated under the NFSM (National Food Security Mission)-Pulses programme.

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