Mutual Funds
Mutual fund folio count surges to over 4 crore in April-December

The rise in retail folios is mainly due to addition in the equity segment, which was supported by sharp rally in the stock markets

 

Driven by addition in equity fund folios, mutual fund houses have registered a surge of more than seven lakh investor accounts during the first nine months of FY2014-15.
 
The addition comes after fund houses lost about 33 lakh investor accounts in the entire last fiscal year. Folios are numbers designated to individual investor accounts, though one investor can have multiple folios.
 
According to the data from Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) on total investor accounts with 45 fund houses, the number of folios rose to 4.03 crore at the end of 31 December 2014 from 3.95 crore duing same period last year, a gain of 7.28 lakh folios.
 
Of the 4.03 crore folios, retail investors accounted for 3.86 crore folios, followed by HNI accounts (13.22 lakh) and institutional investors (3.34 lakh).
 
Industry officials say the rise in retail folios is mainly due to addition in the equity segment, which was supported by sharp rally in the stock markets.
 
"Increased participation by retail investors in equities has undoubtedly led to increase in folio numbers. The industry's focus on investor awareness seems to have contributed to further growth, in terms of new investors coming in," HSBC Global Asset Management India CEO Puneet Chaddha said.
 
"The key contributing factors seem to be an uptick in sentiments and expectations of an investor friendly and reform-oriented government delivering on policy changes," he added.
 
The number of mutual investor accounts had been falling since March 2009 at about 2% a year. Since March 2014, however, there is a arrest in the rate of decline, AMFI noted.
 
The equity category saw an addition of more than 12 lakh folios to 3.03 crore investors at the end of 31 December 2014.
 
The segment saw first rise in folios in April after reporting a consistent decline in investors account in last four years.
 
The addition in equity folios is in line with BSE's benchmark Sensex surging by 23% in the first nine months of the current financial year.
 
Besides, nearly 80% of the investor accounts are in equity oriented schemes, while 17% of the accounts are in debt related schemes.
 

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AIB Roast pulls down its controversial video from YouTube

Several organisations have filed FIR against the alleged obscene nature of the content of AIB Roast 

 

The members of expletive-laced comedy show 'AIB Roast' have removed their latest three part video from YouTube after it sparked a controversy for obscene language and content.
 
AIB has tweeted saying, "Have taken down AIB Knockout for now. We will speak soon."
 
The celebrity roast, which is first of its kind in India, featured a panellist of eight AIB members with filmmaker Karan Johar taking over the role of 'roast master' to grill 'Gunday' stars Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor on their professional and personal lives.
 
The show, which is being probed by the Maharashtra Government, ran into trouble when several organisations filed first information report (FIR) against the alleged obscene nature of the content along with censor board member Ashoke Pandit coming out heavily against it.
 
"They can't use the language in public that is not decent in any form. The entire show was abnormal," Pandit had said.
 
Pandit, however, was slammed by Twitter community for his derogatory comments against Johar.
 
The online community seems divided over the issue as three hashtags have been trending on twitter.
 
The AIB roast event, staged in Mumbai in December, was attended by 4,000 people and the audience included Johar's mother, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt and Deepika Padukone among others.
 

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Jan Aushadhi to facilitate buying 504 low cost generic medicines from July
The union government will obtain medicines in bulk, from both public and private drug manufacturing companies, covering some 504 essential medicines, and launch its own Jan Aushadhi brand that would sell these low-cost generic medicines
 
The Indian pharmaceutical market, which has a turnover in excess of Rs87,000 crore annually, is dominated by branded medicines, which our doctors prefer to prescribe. It has been found that generic medicines, as against the branded product, are definitely cheaper and effective for use by  patients. But, shops selling these generic equivalents of the brands are few and far between. Indian formulations for supplies to overseas drug makers have been going on for decades and export is a money spinner for these companies in India.
 
Therefore, one of the most gratifying news, in recent times, is the government announcement in regard to the launch of Jan Aushadhi with effect from 1 July 2015. From the press release, it is clear that the government intends to obtain medicines in bulk, from both public and private drug manufacturing companies, covering some 504 essential medicines, and launch its own Jan Aushadhi brand to sell low cost generic medicines.  
 
This will facilitate aam aadmi being able to buy quality medicines at cheap prices from chemists and druggists who should be specifically asked for ‘Jan Aushadhi’ brand!  This introduction will initially cover Delhi through 800 selected chemists and cover essential medicines that will include antibiotics, painkillers and vitamins. Besides these, medicines used for treatment in cardiovascular, respiratory, diabetes and gastroenterology diseases will also be covered.
 
The Bureau of Pharma Public sector understandings of India (BPPI), the nodal agency under the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) for implementing this project, it is reported in the press, has already floated the tender seeking applications for supply of medicines for the programme. This proposal has been vetted by the Medical Council of India (MCI) and Indian Medical Association (IMA) is expected to ensure that doctors invariably prescribe Jan Aushadhi branded medications.  It would soon follow that all the government hospitals may have to mandatorily prescribe Jan Aushadhi branded medicines, where available.
 
This is a good start in the right direction. It is imperative that simultaneous efforts are made to introduce this on a national scale and bring all the States under the scheme.  It would help matters if introduction is made to all the Metros and a strict timeframe set so as to focus and bring about the Jan Aushadhi availability in all these places. May be the Ministry of Health in each State must be given the task of launching the scheme in their respective states.
 
All Drugs and Chemists who sell medications must also display details of the availability of Jan Aushadhi brand drugs. Not only should the retail price be shown on the package, the government must consider whether it is mandatory for the manufacturing source of the medicine should be included. If there is a senior citizen's discount applicable, this should also be shown clearly. 
 
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)

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