Mutual Funds : Bank Bazaar Also Ventures into Online Distribution of Mutual Funds
Bankbazaar.com has announced its plans to expand its portfolio into investment category, starting with mutual funds in the first quarter of  FY16-17. Well-funded Bankbazaar.com will provide retail investors customised suggestions on mutual fund schemes through its online platform. It also plans to offer mutual fund schemes from select asset management companies (AMCs). 
 
However, the online distribution platform is already crowded. Websites like fundsindia.com, scripbox.com and others are selling mutual funds online, apart from brokers. Bankbazaar’s entry would make this space overcrowded. Bankbazaar claims to be taking on the role of ‘Robo-advisors’, and will use a ‘proprietary research methodology’ to provide ‘research-based’ suggestions. However, it is not clear if Bankbazaar is an adviser or a distributor. 
 

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Retirement : Pension Regulator Comes Out with Partial Withdrawal Rules for NPS
Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority’s (PFRDA’s) circular on partial withdrawal  states that a subscriber, whose NPS account is at least 10 years old, can withdraw 25% of his/her contribution. However, this 25% of own contribution limit does not include the accrued income earned thereon. A limitation is that the amount can be withdrawn for only specific purposes like higher education and marriage of children and purchase/construction of residential house/flat. It also includes treatment of specified illnesses of the subscriber or his/her relatives, and accidents of a serious/life-threatening nature. A maximum of three withdrawals are allowed during the entire tenure of subscription. 
 

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Retirement : Inoperative PF Accounts To Earn Interest from 1st April

In a move that will enthuse account-holders of inoperative employees’ provident fund (EPF) accounts, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has decided to provide interest on inoperative accounts from 1 April 2016. This will benefit over 90 million such account-holders having total deposits of over Rs32,000 crore. EPFO had stopped payment of interest to such accounts from 1 April 2011 to discourage parking of funds with EPFO in these dormant accounts. Inoperative accounts are those in which the contribution has not been received for 36 months. 

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