Market regulator wants funds to give investors reliable and more information about available schemes, performance and investments. Introduces due diligence for distributors, agents
Mumbai: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has asked mutual funds to bring in more transparency in their dealings with investors and agents, while allowing them to charge a fresh transaction fee.
At a board meeting on Thursday, the market regulator heeded the long-pending request of mutual funds to help them contain the losses suffered due to the abolition of entry charge on investors.
SEBI also allowed them to manage and advise pooled assets, such as offshore funds and pension funds, provided there was no conflict of interest due to a differential fee structure.
However, the regulator asked the industry to become more transparent in the information given to investors through advertisements and other channels, PTI reports.
"Guidelines for advertisements will be suitably modified to include point-to-point return on a standard investment of Rs10,000 and other performance-related disclosures."
Besides, mutual funds would be required to give more granular disclosure of their assets under management (AUM) figures, giving the break-up of debt/equity/balanced and also geography-wise disclosures.
"The scheme's performance will have to be disclosed against the Sensex or Nifty, or Government of India debt paper, in addition to benchmark of the scheme. The performance of fund managers across all schemes managed by the same fund manager will have to be disclosed," SEBI said.
SEBI also took the first steps towards regulating mutual fund distributors or agents. "Selected distributors will be regulated through asset management companies (AMCs) by putting in place the due diligence process to be conducted by AMCs," it said.
The due diligence process will be initially applicable for those distributors having multiple-point presence in more than 20 locations, having raised assets of over Rs100 crore across the industry from non-institutional investors and high networth individuals (HNIs).
The distributors, having received the commission of over Rs1 crore per annum across industry, and of over Rs50 lakh from a single mutual fund, would also be covered in the initial phase. "It is estimated that this measure will cover distributors handling about half of the total AUM in the industry," SEBI said.
It also asked mutual funds to disclose the commissions paid to distributors and said that the mutual fund industry body AMFI would disclose the aggregate amount of commissions paid to such distributors by the industry.
SEBI said all operations of a mutual fund would be required to be located in India. "All the operations of a mutual fund, including trading desks, unit holder servicing, and investment operations shall be based in India."
"Mutual funds having any of their operations abroad, will be required to immediately confirm that they shall wind up the same and bring them onshore within a period of one year from the notification of amending the regulations. The period is extendable by another one year on SEBI's discretion," it said.
In another move that should be helpful to investors, SEBI said one common account statement would be dispatched every month for investors who have transacted in any of his/her folios across the mutual funds.
"The statement shall also contain the disclosure related to the transaction charge paid to the distributor. One common account statement will be dispatched to the investor every half-year for all non-transacted folios." And in an initiative to reduce the use of paper, the regulator advised that unit holders, who have registered emails, would be sent the annual reports by email.
Activists are urging the PM to immediately stop the UID or Aadhaar number scheme due to invasion and misuse of privacy, saying that it is against the Constitution. They want the funds diverted towards more productive projects
Already under heavy criticism, the UID (Unique Identification Number), or Aadhaar as it is called now, has more flak coming its way. Human rights activists, led by advocate and activist Kamayani Bali Mahabal, have started petitioning Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh against Aadhaar, since they believe it is a gross violation of individual privacy. Their petition states that collection of highly sensitive personal data of the population without following Parliamentary procedure is unacceptable and outright violation of Article (21) of the Constitution. (No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law).
Ms Mahabal, who is petitioning online and creating awareness about this issue told Moneylife, "Parliament has not yet approved the project. The UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) has no authority to collect sensitive data and what they are doing is actually without the authority of law. There is no protocol for data protection that has been built into the law yet."
Rejecting the Aadhaar scheme completely, activists are appealing to the government to shut it down with immediate effect and divert the allocated humongous funds towards productive and needful projects.
They are arguing that the State cannot pass a law that allows invasion of privacy of its citizens. Article 13(2) supports this, "The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void."
The data collected and information stored in the card can lead to misuse at unimaginable levels, serving purposes exceeding its original intent. They believe it can be used to profile citizens in a country and initiate a process of racial/ethnic cleansing, on the lines of the genocide in Rwanda in 1995. Ms Mahabal argues, "Privacy law is still being made, and till it is in place, the UIDAI should not be doing what it is, and it certainly cannot be allowed to share information as it proposes to do under the 'information consent' clause in its form."
Although, the Constitution doesn't explicitly specify privacy rights, the Apex Court of India said in a landmark judgement (Unni Krishnan, J.P & Ors. Etc., versus State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors,) on 4 February 1993, had ruled that "This Court has held that several un-enumerated rights fall within Article (21) since personal liberty is of widest amplitude."
Introduced in the 1930s in the USA, as a way to track individuals for taxation purposes, Social Security numbers were never designed to be used for authentication—moreover, these cards don't carry biometric data. Over time, however, private and public institutions began keeping tabs on consumers using these numbers, requiring people to present them as proof of identity, such as when applying for loans, fresh employment, or health insurance. The Aadhaar whitepaper itself says, "Since it is likely that increasingly the UID will be used by several service providers (government agencies, private institutions and NGOs), it is important for a resident to be able to remember it in the absence of a token such as a card."
Condemning the wasteful expenditure spent on Aadhaar, activists are saying, "We do not want our tax money to be spent on building trade infrastructure for the undue benefit of domestic or foreign corporations taking away the bargaining power of customers." There is no reason to disbelieve that the centralised database of citizens could be misused to profile citizens in undesirable and dangerous ways.
The US, UK and Australia have shelved their proposed public ID cards after public protests. Even China withdrew the clause to have biometric data stored in its cards. A London School of Economics report has noted that "Identity systems may create a range of new and unforeseen problems. These include the failure of systems, unforeseen financial costs, increased security threats and unacceptable imposition on citizens."
Ms Mahabal concludes, "The possession of a UID can at best serve only as proof of a "unique and singular" identity and does not guarantee either citizenship or benefits. This being the case, it is strange that this scheme is touted as a step for good governance."
Nifty to remain in a narrow range of 5,440 and 5,540
Tracking the weak sentiment in Asian markets today, the domestic market opened lower from its previous close. The Nifty resumed trade at 5,479, down nine points and the Sensex was down 16 points at 18,194. Metal, realty and banking counters saw selling pressure early on, and the indices dropped to their intra-day lows in the first 30 minutes of trading, the Nifty falling to 5,454 and the Sensex to 18,132.
Support from the fast-moving consumer goods sector, IT and banking stocks, enabled the market to push into the positive. With this upward push, the benchmarks rose to their day’s highs within the hour. At the intra-day high, the Nifty was at 5,520 and the Sensex touched 18,334. But volatility set in, forcing the indices lower in the mid-morning session.
Attempts at a recovery were hurt by sellers and the market ended flat with a negative bias, down for a fourth consecutive day. At the close the Nifty was at 5,482, down six points, and the Sensex lost 12 points to finish at 18,197. Although the Nifty’s high today was above yesterday’s high, the low was below Thursday’s lows. The total volume of shares traded today on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was 67.61 crore, which is above the 10-day moving average.
The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was 601:1084.
The broader indices underperformed the Sensex today with the BSE Mid-cap index and the BSE Small-cap index declining by 0.68% and 0.67%, respectively.
The top sectoral gainers were BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 0.74%), BSE Bankex (up 0.53%) and BSE TECk (up 0.50%). The major losers were BSE Realty (down 2.09%), BSE Metal (down 2%) and BSE Oil & Gas (down 1.18%).
The top performers on the Sensex were ICICI Bank (up 1.99), Maruti Suzuki (up 1.81%), Bharti Airtel (up 1.43%), Bajaj Auto (up 1.27%) and ITC (up 1.09%). The main losers on the index were Jaiprakash Associates (down 4.51%), Jindal Steel (down 4.43%), ONGC (down 2.89%), Hero Honda (down 2.14%) and Sterlite Industries (down 1.93%).
The top Nifty gainers were Axis Bank (up 3.03%), Punjab National Bank (up 2.38%), ICICI Bank (up 2.05%), Maruti Suzuki (up 1.80%) and Bajaj Auto (up 1.49%). The laggards which weighed the index down were Sesa Goa (down 5.45%), Jindal Steel (down 4.14%), JP Associates (down 3.88%), ONGC (down 2.87%) and Ambuja Cement (down 2.78%).
Markets in Asia ended lower on the last trading day of the week, on concerns over the delay on the vote to raise the US borrowing limit that increased the chances of the world’s largest economy defaulting on its debt.
Reacting to the development, the Chinese government-run Xinhua agency said it was “unfortunate and disappointing” that other countries would have to pay if American lawmakers do not raise the US government’s debt ceiling before the 2nd August deadline. Besides, a clutch of weak earnings and forecasts also weighed down investor sentiment in the region.
The Shanghai Composite lost 0.95%, the Hang Seng declined 0.58%, the Jakarta Composite fell 0.36%, the KLSE Composite slipped 0.20%, the Nikkei 225 skidded 0.69%, the Straits Times shed 0.02%, the Seoul Composite tumbled 1.05% and the Taiwan Weighed dropped 1.40%.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs64.66 crore on Thursday and domestic institutional investors were net buyers of equities worth Rs409.34 crore.
Viom Networks, the telecom tower joint venture between Tata Teleservices and Quippo, has made a Rs7,500 crore ($1.69 billion) offer to buy out GTL Infrastructure. SBI Capital Markets is advising Global Group, the parent company of GTL Infrastructure, on the stake sale.
GTL promoters are learnt to be eyeing valuations of over Rs10,500 crore excluding debt. Earlier rounds of talks in the first week of July did not make any headway, as Viom was not keen on the merger option proposed by bankers. GTL Infrastructure surged 10.18% to close at Rs15.15 on the NSE.
FMCG major Hindustan Unilever today said it has got shareholders’ approval for transfer of certain assets, liabilities and properties to Unilever India Exports as part of the demerger of its exports business. The company said the move to demerge FMCG exports business has been made in order to fully exploit the opportunity in the export market and to provide necessary focus, flexibility and speed to the business. HUL closed at Rs325, up 0.67%.
Pharma major Indoco Remedies has acquired land in Maharashtra to set up a new Rs600 million active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) unit in 18 months, a top executive said. The Mumbai-based drugmaker has also started manufacturing products at its new unit in Goa and is looking to export products to