Quantum Mutual Fund floats Gold Savings Fund

Quantum Mutual Fund new issue will close on 12th May

Quantum Mutual Fund has launched Quantum Gold Savings Fund-open ended fund of funds-domestic.

The investment objective of the scheme is to provide capital appreciation by predominantly investing in units of Quantum Gold Fund-Exchange Traded Fund (QGF). The performance of the scheme may differ from that of Quantum Gold Fund and the domestic prices of gold due to expenses and certain other factors.

The new issue will close on 12th May. The minimum investment amount is Rs500.

The scheme's performance will be benchmarked against the domestic price of gold. Chirag Mehta is the fund manager.


ICICI Bank Q4 net up 16.85% at Rs 1,568 cr; recommends 14% dividend

Profit hit by treasury loss and increased operating expenses; stock price recovers after dipping

Mumbai: ICICI Bank, the country’s largest private lender, today reported a 16.85% rise in consolidated net profit at Rs1,567.93 crore for the fourth quarter ended 31 March 2011. Net profit stood at Rs1,341.8 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, the Bank said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

In the quarter under review, total income rose to Rs18,178.99 crore from Rs16,212.02 crore in the corresponding period a year ago.

For the entire fiscal 2010-11, consolidated net profit increased by 30.46% to Rs6,093.27 crore from Rs 4,670.29 crore in the year before.

The board of directors has recommended a dividend of Rs14 per share for the year ended 31 March 2011, against Rs12 in the previous fiscal, the company said.

The ICICI Bank stock was trading on the Bombay Stock Exchange at the day’s high of Rs1,127 late afternoon, nearly 1.5% up, after dipping 0.2% to Rs1,085 at about 1pm in a weak market.

On a standalone basis, the bank clocked a 28% growth in profit after tax for FY11 at Rs5,151 crore against Rs4,025 crore in the year-ago period. Profit was hit by treasury loss of Rs196 crore compared to similar gains in the year ago period and an increase in operating expenses to Rs1,789 crore from Rs1,458 crore.

In the January-March quarter, profit-after-tax shot up by 44% to Rs1,452 crore from Rs1,006 crore in the previous corresponding period.


RBI draft favours freeing of savings banks interest rate

While the RBI deregulated interest rates on fixed deposit schemes in 1997, it continues to fix the rate on savings deposits. Presently, banks pay interest at the rate of 3.5% on saving accounts, which was fixed in 2003

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today said that deregulation of the interest rates on savings banks accounts would benefit savers, as it would enable lenders to come out with innovative products to attract more funds from low income households, reports PTI.

"Deregulation will also allow banks to introduce product innovations which could also benefit the depositors," the RBI said in its draft discussion paper while inviting public comments on freeing the interest rate on savings accounts.

While the RBI deregulated interest rates on fixed deposit schemes in 1997, it continues to fix the rate on savings deposits. Presently, banks pay interest at the rate of 3.5% on saving accounts, which was fixed in 2003.

Giving the pros and cons of deregulation of savings account interest rates, the RBI paper also said the apprehensions that such a move would lead to "unhealthy" competition among the banks are unfounded.

Pointing out that the deregulation of fixed deposit rates 13 years did not result in unhealthy competition among the banks, "deregulation of savings deposit rate may also not result in any unhealthy competition," it said.

Moreover, the paper added that savings deposit interest rates cannot be regulated for all times to come when all other interest rates have already been deregulated, as it creates distortions in the system.

International experience suggests that in most countries, interest rates on savings bank accounts are set by the commercial banks based on market interest rates, it said.

Citing the fact that most countries in Asia experimented with interest rate deregulation, the paper said these resulted in positive real interest rates, which in turn contributed to an increase in financial savings.

Deregulation of the interest rate on savings deposits will make the rate flexible along with other interest rates, depending on the market conditions.

Since savings bank deposits in rural, semi-urban and urban areas are held largely for savings purposes, deregulation of interest rates is likely to enhance its attractiveness in these areas, it said.

The paper also noted that the flexibility will have another major advantage in that it will help improve monetary transmission. Since savings deposits constitute a significant portion of aggregate deposits, regulation of interest rates on such deposits has impeded the transmission of monetary policy impulses.

On the negative side, the deregulation could lead to an asset-liability mismatch and could adversely affect small savers and pensioners.

The last date for sending suggestions and comments on this issue is 20th May.


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