Osian’s new promise: Will pay back by 29th May

Neville Tuli's latest promise to pay back money raised for Osian's Art Fund comes after the threat of collective action by some aggrieved investors

The threat of investor action has forced Neville Tuli, Chief Advisor, Osian Art Fund, to issue yet another promise to pay back those who invested in the controversial but high-profile art fund in 2006. This time, Mr Tuli says, those investors who haven't got any of their money back will be paid between 17th May to 29th May. Mr Tuli, who was apparently refusing to respond to investor queries, turned proactive after Moneylife took up the story of dozens of investors threatening to get together to file police complaints and lawsuits.

To recap, Osian 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 Net Asset Values (NAVs) showing 30% returns, but when it was time for redemption, the money wasn't forthcoming. The Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had also issued it a show-cause notice in November 2007 asking why it should not be regulated as a collective investment scheme; it also issued an advisory that civil and criminal proceedings can be started against art funds that were not registered with SEBI. The scheme was wound up on 10 July 2009, at which time Mr Tuli wrote to 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% to 100% of their principal but earned no returns at all. The rest have been kept hanging for two years with promises of payment. At one stage, investors were told that they would receive their money after an art auction in June 2010 to raise cash; again, no payments were made.

Finally, on 25th April, some angry investor got hold of a long list of aggrieved unit holders to get support for joint action. Immediately, some were offered artwork instead of cash. Some investors claimed that they had been 'forced' to accept artworks at extremely high valuations in lieu of their payment.

When Moneylife emailed Mr Tuli for this reaction, he reacted with anger and accused us of publishing distorted emails. In a subtle threat, he even began marking his legal firm Nishit Desai & Associates on his flurry of emails to us. At one stage, despite a clear SEBI advisory in February 2008, Mr Tuli even claimed that art funds are not declared as collective investment schemes by SEBI, they merely suggested that the collective investment scheme could be a possible option and/or a base to study a regulatory framework for art funds in the future. Our question in all the emails was simple. Was Mr Tuli planning to pay back investors who have not received any returns and anywhere between 60% to 100% of their principal, even two years after the Osian fund was wound up?

By the evening of 27th April, Mr Tuli told us that a statement would go out to all unit-holders about repayments. He even called some investors requesting them to hold off action. Finally, late in the evening, Mr Tuli wrote the following letter to unit-holders:

Dear Unit Holder,

The recent wave of emails by a few of you is understandable given the delays in the art fund's redemption. However, as always stated the Fund is totally committed to paying all our Unit Holders in full, and it continues to do so despite immense liquidity problems.

The instalment for those still awaiting their first payment will begin by Thursday, 17 May 2011 and will be completed by 29 May 2011 as mentioned earlier to the bankers. The offer for those who have chosen to take art in lieu of their redemption will be closed by Monday 7 May 2011 but can be renewed at any time for any individual Unit Holder who wishes to avail of such an offer.

I know at times our communication process has been slow, but please recognize that the bankers were initially dealing with all the Unit Holders, and now that this responsibility is mostly upon us, naturally it takes time given the small team available to the Osian's Art Fund. This is no excuse but coordinating on individual matters and mails with 656 investors has been very difficult. Maybe this coming together of a few investors will improve the communication.

Further, please desist from rash, defamatory and baseless allegations, without verifying the facts. I am always available to answer your queries and difficulties via email or SMS or direct lines. I am not going anywhere despite the wonderful suggestions by a few unit holders.

Once and for all, every thing in our power is being done so as to complete the redemption process, and I am sure despite the past delays, irrespective of the problems we are facing the full redemption process will be completed by the end of June 2011. You all have been very patient and graceful, and I am grateful for this courtesy, and do regret disappointing your expectations, but the key is that we do not give up on honouring our commitments whatever the personal cost and effort.

With Warm Regards

Neville Tuli

Chief Advisor Osian's Art Fund 

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Sharat Jain

4 years ago

We have 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.


6 years ago

I too have been paid just 85% of the total amount invested and have been promised by Neville time and again that he will pay after the auction, or after sale of Minerva, etc. etc. Everytime there is a new excuse and the bottomline is extension or delay of payment, till you loose your steam.

I too wish to join the group. I am in Mumbai and I can be contacted on [email protected] (it is two zeros after fmt). I request the group to contact me or leave their contact details here so I can contact them. But it is high time that Neville is shown the result of cheating and fraud. He should not get away with our hard earned money.

Mitul Desai

6 years ago

I appreciate Moneylife for taking up this issue but you should also take up issue of JM Mutual fund's close ended scheme where after 3 years investor were returned just 30% of investment amount.


6 years ago

@Seema, why do you presume I am working for Osian? If you have been following my other postings in this site, you will know that I belong to the much maligned community of financial product distributors!! An insurance agent and a mutual fund distributor.

But the question remains. This was an investment which people did with an eye of getting returns. No guarantee was ever given, either for the returns or for the safety of the capital. So why cry hoarse now?

desh vasi

6 years ago

Relax Relax

Karma will hunt all down

Everyone knows where Tuli lives

If Sharad Pawar can be cornered.. than what is neville tuli.

tuli and his ugly girlfriend will have to pay..

Sharat Jain

6 years ago

Earlier the reason for delay in payment was attributed to delay in sale of Osians property named Minerva Theatre & that as soon as the same be sold, the entire due money would be refunded to investors immediately. Now, today, my sources have informed that Osians has sold that the prime property in Mumbai-Minerva & buyer is in process of doing some construction over there. Now, if this news is correct..... then where the hell has entire sale proceeds gone...????? We are still to receive our balance amount back.... and I am sure a lot of other investors are in same boat....... waiting endlessly !!!!!!

Sharat Jain

6 years ago

Mr. Tuli is a real smat person & knows his job of dilly delaying the things for years by makinh false & sweet promises. I invested 10 lacs & have been paid only 85%. I am real thankful to the goup of people who have started this movement collectively. I want to be a part of this group as I am also one of you being cheated by Osians. Mr. Tuli must be under the impression that since this class of investors are educated, they would not go for demonstrations & dharnas... But thankfully now collectively with the help of Moneylife, we can try & extract our principal back Do make me a part of this movement. My email ID is [email protected] & contact no. is 9811019280 (Delhi).



In Reply to Sharat Jain 6 years ago

I too have been paid just 85% of the total amount invested and have been promised by Neville time and again that he will pay after the auction, or after sale of Minerva, etc. etc. Everytime there is a new excuse and the bottomline is extension or delay of payment, till you loose your steam.

I too wish to join the group. I am in Mumbai and I can be contacted on [email protected] (it is two zeros after fmt). I request the group to contact me or leave their contact details here so I can contact them. But it is high time that Neville is shown the result of cheating and fraud. He should not get away with our hard earned money.


6 years ago

I dont understand why the investors in this fund are crying hoarse now!! If at all, they should have excercised their due diligence BEFORE putting the money in a scheme like this. Not AFTER.

There are a few things which are uncertain after reading the few articles Moneylife has posted.

Was there any guarantee that capital would be protected no matter what?

Was there any guarantee of meeting certain percentages of returns, no matter what?

Did the fund house hold a gun at the investors forcing them to invest?

If the answer is affirmative to the above, I agree Osian has blundered. If it is not, then where and what is the problem?

This was another asset class which the "shrewd" thought they will derive great benefits from. Also compared to the plain vanilla insurance/mutual funds/equities route, don't you think it would have appeared glamourous to say in cocktail parties that "I have invested in Art"???



In Reply to Manoja 6 years ago

due diligence can only work upto a limit. eventually if an individual does want to defraud someone , he will find ways. and tulli simply doesnt want to pay as he dosnt feel there is a need to. what due diligence can change his mind. what you are saying is actually this ' i managed to cheat the system and launch a fund, didnt guarentee that i will ever return your money even if i had the same and the law doesnt require me to return the money i take from people , so who cares'. i dont think mr tuli understands that there are winds of change. the corrupt are having a tough time these days.


In Reply to Manoja 6 years ago

better late than never . we have done our due diligence now and know that tulli misrepresented info. his fund was illegal and he will soon be behind bars. its a financial fraud and he is digging his own grave. the investors in this fund are capable enough of defending their rights. we will see who has the last laugh. sure life is a learning process and i humbly accept that i will be the one selling art to mr tuli next time!


In Reply to Manoja 6 years ago

How nice! are you working for Osian. So just because there were no overt promises they can stock up on expensive artwork and walk away, is it?
Sure, investors ought to have been careful. But this is a fund, where Moneylife says even CEOs of top brokerage firms and CEOs of mutual funds applied.
Maybe their failure to give returns can be justified, but it is ridiculous to blame investors who want their principal back -- especially when Osian is not bankrupt and is hanging on to art works.


6 years ago

the man is a crook. white collared fraudster. took money from unsuspecting investors by showing fancy trustee names and promise of returns from a new asset class. today they all hide behind technicalities and well paid lawyers. the high profile agents who had pushed osians products too are nowhere to be seen. i too got stuck with investments in osians. actually my fund manager who had earned me a decent sum in equities wanted me to shift a part of the money we earned to a new asset class. i was dead against it but since he had done well , i gave him leeway for minimum ticker as it was out of profits we earned. its a lesson on how not to succumb to pressure. no name will come to your rescue as eventually they are all driven by the greed for money. and this fellow is rubbing salt on wounds of his investors. he first paid a few of them arbitrarily to silence the few who were agressively going after him. for the rest he kept on buying time, came up with another idea of offering paintings. this guy has shown what a classic fraudster is like. i dont think moneylife or anyone can get him to pay up as he has come to believe that he has done no wrong. read his letter and youd know that he is an arrogant defaulter . and he knows that it will take years for law to catch up with him. by then he would have enjoyed our money. the punishment for financial frauds aint much anyways. unless people at moneylife pursue this case , nothing will come out. the only thing they are scared of is media as he still hosts art auctions and still nurtures ambitions of raising money again!

Kokila A Rawal

6 years ago

I am very glad that you have taken up the issue by stating all the facts. But how to trust Osian in spite of their several promises. I am also unit holder of Osian Atr Fund. I tried to call them in the past no proper answer were given. And they even shifted their office to New Delhi. I was not getting any information against my E mail.
Please advise what I should do to get my investment back. As few invested has already got part of their investment.
Now what is about the interest ? of all this year. they must give interest with principal. Thanks

Indian stocks likely to open in the green: Thursday Market Preview

Earnings reports and weekly food inflation data will be keenly watched by investors

The Indian stock market is likely to open higher on the back of positive global cues. Wall Street closed in the positive overnight on assertions from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke to enhance growth with low interest rates. The developments also spurred the Asian indices to open with gains on Thursday. The SGX Nifty gained 14.50 points to 5,850.50 compared to its previous close of 5,836.

Companies declaring their results today include Bank of Baroda, Biocon, Birla Corp, Crompton Greaves, HCL Infosystems, ICICI Bank, JSW Energy, LIC Housing Finance and Polaris. Besides earnings, the government will release the weekly food inflation figures, which will give further direction to the market in the day.

Tracking good global cues, the local market opened higher on Wednesday with the Sensex gaining 66 points at 19,611 and the Nifty up 16 points to 5,884. Amid choppy trade the indices touched the day’s high, with the Sensex scaling 19,634 and the Nifty at 5,892.  However, the weak outlook from IT major Wipro disappointed the market, sending the indices into negative territory.

The see-saw movement continued till noon, when a huge bout of selling hurtled the indices further southwards. A mixed opening by key European bourses lifted investor sentiment a little in post-noon trade. But selling pressure pushed the market down once again to the day’s lows in post-noon trade. At the intra-day low the Sensex was at 19,413, down 132 points, and the Nifty shed 48 points to 5,820.

Fluctuation continued till the end of trade with losses expanding today. The Sensex closed the session at 19,449, down 97 points from its previous close, and the Nifty lost 35 points to settle at 5,834.

The market closed with modest losses, an indication that it is still in a range. Tepid quarterly earnings reports kept a lid on the market today. The Nifty is yet to break past the 5,900 levels, which is necessary for an uptrend. On the downside, support remains at 5,750 and then at 5,550.

Remarks by Fed chief Ben Bernanke at the end of the two-day policy meeting on Wednesday lifted the US markets to multi-year highs. Mr Bernanke stated that higher commodity prices have pushed inflation up, but these effects would be “transitory,” he added. He said that the central bank is likely to continue reinvesting maturing debt after June, when the Fed’s $600 billion bond buying comes to an end. Mr Bernanke reiterated his move to keep interest low for some more time.

The Dow Jones industrial average surged 95.59 points (0.76%) to 12,690.96, its highest close since 20 May 2008. The S&P added 8.42 points (0.62%) to 1,355.66, its best closing since 16 June 2008. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 22.34 points (0.78%) to 2,869.88, its best since 12 December 2000.

Gains in the US markets rubbed on the Asian indices, which were higher in early trade on Thursday. Comments from the Fed chief are expected to boost export-oriented economies in the region. Japanese looked past the dismal industrial output data for March and focused on the global economy instead. Industrial output fell 15.3% in March, higher than analysts’ forecast for an 11% fall and exceeding the previous record decline during the Lehman crisis in 2009. Reflecting worsening sentiment after the quake, household spending fell to a record 8.5% in March from a year earlier.

The US optimism was reflected in bourses across Asia, with the Shanghai Composite gaining 0.65% in early trade. The Hang Seng advanced 0.60%, the Jakarta Composite was up 0.30%, the KLSE Composite climbed 0.18%, the Nikkei 225 surged 1.28%, the Straits Times increased by 0.48%, the Seoul Composite rose 0.61% and the Taiwan Weighted gained 0.23%.

Back home, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the striking Air India pilots to return to work forthwith, as the management quickly terminated the services of six of their leaders and derecognised their union while government said the airline cannot be held at “gunpoint.”

Notwithstanding the court order, leaders of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) made up of 800 pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines and spearheading the stir said “we are continuing with our agitation as of now”.


Goldman Sachs downgrades RIL, Cairn to ‘neutral’

The global investment firm, in a report, stated that downside risks with regard to RIL include “weak refining margin and low petrochemical margins”, while those for Cairn include fall in crude prices, delay in production ramp-up and adverse regulatory developments

New Delhi: Investment banker and securities firm Goldman Sachs today downgraded Reliance Industries (RIL) and Cairn India to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’, on shrinking refining margins and regulatory issues, reports PTI.

The global firm, however, upgraded the state-owned HPCL, ONGC and IOC to ‘buy’ list and retained the ‘Neutral’ outlook on other oil companies including GAIL, GSPL, BPCL and Oil India.

“We remove RIL from our Asia Pacific Conviction list and downgrade it to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’ as we are concerned about lack of clarity on its sustainable growth drivers, implying limited scope of medium-term earnings surprise following Q4 results,” Goldman Sachs said in a report.

The downside risks with regard to RIL, the report said, include “weak refining margin and low petrochemical margins”.

The report also expressed concern over the performance of RIL’s “E&P (exploration and production) division owing to a lack of clarity on D-6 production levels and slow progress in exploration acreage”.

RIL’s shares slipped 1.56% to Rs985.15 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) today.

With regard to Cairn India, Goldman Sachs said, that although it had upgraded the oil company to ‘buy’ category in July 2010, the stock underperformed mainly on account of the “Cairn-Vedanta deal overhang”.

The downside risks for Cairn include fall in crude prices, delay in production ramp-up and adverse regulatory developments.

Shares of Cairn India closed down 0.13% at Rs348.20 on the BSE.


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