Alternative Investment
Osian’s Art Fund: Some unit holders still awaiting first payment

An investor, who was persuaded by ABN Amro Bank to invest in Osian's Art Fund, has received no payment as yet. He has now been offered payment in instalments, while the fund claims that its problems are over


While the media is lauding Osian's Art Fund’s return and having put its problems behind—investors who have not been paid a penny continue to pop up. One such investor is Kamal Mansharamani, who, despite following up the matter with Neville Tuli, the founder-chairman and chief executive of Osian’s, and ABN AMRO has not received any money.

According to Mr Mansharamani, he was ‘persuaded’ by his relationship manager at ABM AMRO to invest in the Fund. “I have been following up with Mr Tuli for three years now. He has made umpteen promises and broken all of them. ABN AMRO also has completely washed their hands off this. They are not helping at all. I believe that a lot of people have got part investment back. I have got nothing," he said in an email to Moneylife.

ABN AMRO has washed its hands off the art fund that it pushed hard for commissions. When Mr Mansharamani wrote to Moneylife, based on our previous articles, we gave him the email of Neville Tuli and his law firm, Nishit Desai & Co, which has been sending out letters on behalf of Osian’s and its related entities.

On 30th June, Mr Mansharamani, received a reply on behalf of the Osian’s Art Fund from Ambassador (retd) Niranjan Desai, head for communications. In the reply, Mr Desai claimed that the Fund is in regular contacts with all the bankers since past three years and have personally spoken to every unit holder who had approached them.

Mr Mansharamani had said that he has been trying to contact Mr Tuli, but since past several months he neither received any reply nor anybody informed him about changed mobile number of Mr Tuli. In his reply, Mr Desai, said, “On receiving your mail, Mr Tuli did try to contact you immediately on phone yesterday but there was no response. You can call him at 9xxx xxxx7.  He has never received a call from you before. It may be you have been trying a very old mobile number which was changed over two years ago.”

Speaking about the delay in repayment from the Fund, Mr Desai, claimed that Osian’s-Connoisseurs of Art Pvt Ltd has been constantly helping to solve the Osian’s Art Fund redemption matter so as to bring a closure to this without any loss of capital.

“...because of the severe downturn in the art market and many defaults and cancellation of purchase agreements, the actual net asset value (NAV) of the Fund would have been much less than the capital invested (nearly 41% to 43% lower). Instead Osian’s-Connoisseurs of Art’s asset manager decided to protect the unit holders capital from this meltdown. Unfortunately, the funds required could not be raised and so all the ensuing delays and problems followed,” he said.

 “You would agree that few, if any, asset managers would take such an action when there was no legal compulsion; yet we were very conscious of our ethical obligations. In the process Osian's nearly went bankrupt on account of absorbing these losses. However, it has slowly recovered and consolidated itself so as to restart its auction and other businesses,” he said.

“However, the support of Osian’s is naturally dependent on their surplus liquidity and the market conditions. It is a slow process as the market is far from stabilized. Yet, Osian’s is fully committed to support the Osian’s Art Fund so as to bring this issue to a closure,” Mr Desai added.

While the Fund claimed to have repaid around 85% of the money to the investors, Mr Mansharamani said he have not received anything. He said, “In his (Mr Tuli's) last communication to me on 25 August 2011, Mr Tuli had committed that 85% of the amount will be given back shortly.”

Mr Desai, explaining the delay in repayment, said this is mainly due to Mr Mansharamani’s inward challan number which is almost at the end and therefore is part of the last few unit holders to be paid. “The Art Fund is proposing to complete 20% payment by 16-19 August, and then with the 31st July auction it will pay another 20% by 24-28 August 2012. Thereafter the Art Fund will provide the next timeline of instalments up to 85% of the capital invested," Mr Desai said in his email reply.

However, Mr Mansharamani said when in August 2011, Mr Tuli has committed 85% of the amount to be given back shortly, how come the Fund is now offering 20-20%? “It is almost a year since (Mr Tuli's commitment) then and we are back to 20% and 20%. I understand that most of the investors have received 85% of their money. I would like to understand why I am being discriminated?" he asked.

Moneylife has been consistently following up the matter for investors who have not received their money. In November 2009, Mr Tuli had told Moneylife that he had informed all unit-holders of Osian’s Art Fund that the NAV of the scheme would be Rs112.29, including dividend payout. This message, Mr Tuli told was sent out to investors on 8 October 2009.

Osian’s Art Fund is a three-year close-ended fund launched in June 2006. It raised Rs102.40 crore from 656 unit-holders across 39 cities, most of them high net-worth individuals (HNIs). The scheme used to declare NAVs showing 30% returns, but when it was time for redemption, the money wasn’t forthcoming. The scheme was wound up on 10 July 2009, at which time Mr Tuli wrote to the investors that redemptions would be made over the next 120 days as per the terms of the redemption guidelines.

But by October, when the money wasn't forthcoming, Moneylife was the first to report on Osian’s problems (Read Osian Art Fund delays payout). Following our reports, many investors were paid anywhere between 40% and 100% of their principal but earned no returns at all. The rest have been kept hanging for years with promises of payment.

You may also want to read...
•    Osian Art Fund delays payout
•    ABN AMRO customers upset over their Osian Fund investment
•    Osian Art Fund investors get part payment
•    Osian Art Fund: Art of a scam?
•    How SEBI failed to regulate the Osian Art Fund
•    Around 85 Osian Art Fund investors awaiting first payment
•    Osian Art Fund failed to live up to expectations says Tuli
•    ABN AMRO investors in Osian Art Fund still await first payments
•    Osian Art Fund organises auction to redeem fund
•    Osian’s new promise: Will pay back by 29th May



Sharat Jain

3 years ago

We have also not received the redemption proceeds from Osian's Art Fund. We have written on many forums, but till date no action has been taken against this scheme. It is very hard to digest that this type of schemens are first floated under the nose of our Govt., and then when the company is unable to pay back (for the reasons best known to them), they try to delay the matter for years & years on one pretext or the other. Sharat Jain. New Delhi.


3 years ago

I am also an investor again persuaded by ABN to invest and ABN has washed off hands. I have written conformation from Mr. Tuli about payments so many times but I have still not got a penny for my investment of 15 lakhs. Hope based on the SEBI ruling I get my money back. I have been following up for last 5 years.


4 years ago

Rahul and Kanika Neville were in early 90's like the people who are featured in paid news - page 3 now a days. So their Ambassrdor Niranjan Desai will be no better than poor man's version of the self proclaimed Commissioner of IPL who is now a fugitive and regularly featured in IBN as favourite guest of Rajdeep at 9.00PM.

Bosco Menezes

4 years ago

Thanks for your continued follow-up. I was lucky enough to receive the 85% & thereafter have been waiting in vain the last few years for the balance.

Exports dip 4.16% in May due to demand slowdown

Imports too dipped by (-)7.36% in May to $41.94 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $16.26 billion


New Delhi: India’s exports declined by 4.16% year-on-year in May 2012 to $25.68.billion, mainly due to demand slowdown in the western markets.

In May 2011, the exports stood at $26.79 billion.

During April-May 2012-13, the country’s shipments have contracted by (-)0.69% to $50.13 billion from $50.48 billion in the same period last year, the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Imports too dipped by (-)7.36% in May to $41.94 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $16.26 billion.

Cumulatively, during the first two months of the current fiscal, imports contracted by 2.42% to $79.88 billion from $81.87 billion. Trade deficit during the period declined to $29.75 billion, from $31.38 billion in April-May 2011.

While oil imports in May grew by 14.02% to $14.98 billion, non-oil imports declined by 16.11% to $26.95 billion.

During April-May 2012, oil imports rose by 10.51% to $28.89 billion from $26.14 billion in the corresponding period last year.

However, non-oil imports declined by 8.49% to $50.99 billion.


Current account deficit surges to a record high: Kotak research report

The macro conditions in India remain weak and unless there is a clear effort to contain the fiscal deficit, “animal spirits” of investors could fail to rekindle, says Kotak Economic Research Report

India's balance of payments (BoP) is in difficulty and could be negative into FY-12-13. The overall BoP remained in the red in the fourth quarter of FY11-12 at $-5.7 billion, which pulled the balance of payments in FY11-12 to $-12.8 billion from a positive $13.1 billion in FY10-11. Even as the risk sentiments have suddenly improved on the back of unexpected positive talks from the EU summit, global risk sentiment can once again turn adverse, according to a Kotak Economic Research Report on the Indian economy and its balance of payments.

The current account deficit widened to a record $78.2 billion in FY11-12 (CAD/GDP at 4.2%), mainly on the back of a significantly wider trade gap. Despite the pick-up in capital flows in the fourth quarter of FY11-12 on the back of policy measures (FII inflows and NRI deposits), for the year as a whole, flows were largely stable at $67.8 billion from $62 billion in FY2011.

According to the Kotak research report, typically, the last quarter of any financial year is associated with an improvement in the current account, as invisible receipts rise on repatriation flows. However, this was not the case in the fourth quarter of FY11-12, and the current account deficit widened to a record $21.8 billion (4.5% of GDP) from $20 billion in the third quarter of FY11-12 and $6.4 billion in the fourth quarter of FY10-11. The deterioration came as the trade deficit worsened to $51.5 billion from $48.7 billion in the third quarter of FY11-12, while invisibles were largely stable at $29.8 billion from $28.7 billion in the third quarter of FY11-12.

Merchandise imports continued to remain robust on the back of oil and gold imports, while export growth moderated on weakening global demand, in spite of the increase in competitiveness on account of rupee depreciation.

The fourth quarter of FY11-12 witnessed an improvement in net service exports, but this was offset by a worsening on the investment income. Overall, in FY11-12 the trade deficit widened to 10.3% of GDP from 7.3% in FY10-11 while the current account deficit was at $78.2 billion or 4.2% of GDP.

Given the recent correction in oil prices, Kotak researchers expect the current account deficit to come off its record high as the oil import bill corrects to $144 billion from $155 billion in FY11-12. However, since the drop in crude oil prices is an outcome of weak global growth prospects, export growth will remain muted despite gains in competitiveness from the weak rupee.

The Kotak research report concludes that the macro conditions in India remain weak and unless there is a clear effort to contain the fiscal deficit, "animal spirits" of investors could fail to rekindle, thereby leading to capital inflows remaining on the weaker side. The report estimates capital flows as a proportion of GDP to be at 2.6%, thereby leading to an overall BoP at $-8.4 billion in FY12-13.


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