Mutual Fund is the pool of the money, based on the trust who invests the savings of a number of investors who shares a common financial goal, like the capital appreciation and dividend earning. The money thus collected is then invested in capital market instruments such as shares, debenture, and foreign market. Investors invest money and get the units as per the unit value which we called as NAV (net assets value).
Mutual fund is the most suitable investment for the common man as it offers an opportunity to invest in diversified portfolio management, good research team, professionally managed Indian stock as well as the foreign market.
The main aim of the fund manager is to take the scrip that have under value and in future will be rising, then fund manager sell out the stock. Fund manager concentrate on risk – return trade off, to minimize the risk and maximize the return through diversification of the portfolio. The most common features of the mutual fund unit are low cost.
MUTUAL FUNDS : STRUCTURE IN INDIA
For anybody to become well aware about mutual funds, it is imperative for him or her to know the structure of a mutual fund. We will start our understanding by looking at the mutual fund structure in brief.
Mutual Funds in India follow a 3-tier structure:-
There is a Sponsor (the First tier),
A Public Trust (the Second tier), and
The Asset Management Company (the Third tier).
The sponsor is a person who thinks of starting a mutual fund. The Sponsor approaches the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which is the market regulator and also the regulator for mutual funds.
Not everyone can start a mutual fund. SEBI checks whether the person is of integrity, whether he has enough experience in the financial sector, his networth etc. Once SEBI is convinced, the sponsor creates a Public Trust (the Second tier) as per the Indian Trusts Act, 1882.
Trusts have no legal identity in India and cannot enter into contracts, hence the Trustees are the people authorized to act on behalf of the Trust. Contracts are entered into in the name of the Trustees. Once the Trust is created, it is registered with SEBI after which this trust is known as the mutual fund.
It is important to understand the difference between the Sponsor and the Trust. They are two separate entities. Sponsor is not the Trust; i.e. Sponsor is not the Mutual Fund. It is the Trust which is the Mutual Fund.
The Trustees role is not to manage the money. Their job is only to see, whether the money is being managed as per stated objectives. Trustees may be seen as the internal regulators of a mutual fund.
The role of the Asset Management Company is to manage investor’s money. Trustees appoint the Asset Management Company (AMC), to manage investor’s money. The AMC in return charges a fee for the services provided and this fee is borne by the investors as it is deducted from the money collected from them. The AMC’s Board of Directors must have at least 50% of Directors who are independent directors. The AMC has to be approved by SEBI. The AMC functions under the supervision of it’s Board of Directors, and also under the direction of the Trustees and SEBI. It is the AMC, which in the name of the Trust, floats new schemes and manage these schemes by buying and selling securities. In order to do this the AMC needs to follow all rules and regulations prescribed by SEBI and as per the Investment Management Agreement it signs with the Trustees.
If any fund manager, analyst intends to buy/ sell some securities, the permission of the Compliance Officer is a must. A compliance Officer is one of the most important persons in the AMC. Whenever the fund intends to launch a new scheme, the AMC has to submit a Draft Offer Document to SEBI. This draft offer document, after getting SEBI approval becomes the offer document of the scheme. The Offer Document (OD) is a legal document and investors rely upon the information provided in the OD for investing in the mutual fund scheme. The Compliance Officer has to sign the Due Diligence Certificate in the OD. This certificate says that all the information provided inside the OD is true and correct. This ensures that there is accountability and somebody is responsible for the OD. In case there is no compliance officer, then senior executives like CEO, Chairman of the AMC has to sign the due diligence certificate. The certificate ensures that the AMC takes responsibility of the OD and its contents.
THE ROLE OF A CUSTODIAN
A custodian’s role is safe keeping of physical securities and also keeping a tab on the corporate actions like rights, bonus and dividends declared by the companies in which the fund has invested. The Custodian is appointed by the Board of Trustees. The custodian also participates in a clearing and settlement system through approved depository companies on behalf of mutual funds, in case of dematerialized securities. In India today, securities (and units of mutual funds) are no longer held in physical form but mostly in dematerialized form with the Depositories. The holdings are held in the Depository through Depository Participants (DPs). Only the physical securities are held by the Custodian. The deliveries and receipt of units of a mutual fund are done by the custodian or a depository participant at the instruction of the AMC and under the overall direction and responsibility of the Trustees. Regulations provide that the Sponsor and the Custodian must be separate entities.
THE ROLE OF A REGISTRAR AND TRANSFER AGENTS
Registrars and Transfer Agents (RTAs) perform the important role of maintaining investor records. All the New Fund Offer (NFO) forms, redemption forms (i.e. when an investor wants to exit from a scheme, it requests for redemption) go to the RTA’s office where the information is converted from physical to electronic form. How many units will the investor get, at what price, what is the applicable NAV, how much money will he get in case of redemption, exit loads, folio number, etc. is all taken care of by the RTA.
WHAT IS AN NFO?
Once the 3 – tier structure is in place, the AMC launches new schemes, under the name of the Trust, after getting approval from the Trustees and SEBI. The launch of a new scheme is known as a New Fund Offer (NFO). We see NFOs hitting markets regularly. It is like an invitation to the investors to put their money into the mutual fund scheme by subscribing to its units. When a scheme is launched, the distributors talk to potential investors and collect money from them by way of cheques or demand drafts. Mutual funds cannot accept cash. (Mutual funds units can also be purchased on-line through a number of intermediaries who offer on-line purchase / redemption facilities). Before investing, it is expected that the investor reads the Offer Document (OD) carefully to understand the risks associated with the scheme.
INVESTOR’S RIGHTS & OBLIGATIONS
Some of the Rights and Obligations of investors are :-
♦ Investors are mutual, beneficial and proportional owners of the scheme’s assets. The investments are held by the trust in fiduciary capacity (The fiduciary duty is a legal relationship of confidence or trust between two or more parties).
♦ In case of dividend declaration, investors have a right to receive the dividend within 30 days of declaration.
♦ On redemption request by investors, the AMC must dispatch the redemption proceeds within 10 working days of the request. In case the AMC fails to do so, it has to pay an interest @ 15%. This rate may change from time to time subject to regulations.
♦ In case the investor fails to claim the redemption proceeds immediately, then the applicable NAV depends upon when the investor claims the redemption proceeds.
♦ Investors can obtain relevant information from the trustees and inspect documents like trust deed, investment management agreement, annual reports, offer documents, etc. They must receive audited annual reports within 6 months from the financial year end.
♦ Investors can wind up a scheme or even terminate the AMC if unit holders representing 75% of scheme’s assets pass a resolution to that respect.
♦ Investors have a right to be informed about changes in the fundamental attributes of a scheme. Fundamental attributes include type of scheme, investment objectives and policies and terms of issue.
♦ Lastly, investors can approach the investor relations officer for grievance redressal. In case the investor does not get appropriate solution, he can approach the investor grievance cell of SEBI. The investor can also sue the trustees.
The offer document is a legal document and it is the investor’s obligation to read the OD carefully before investing. The OD contains all the material information that the investor would require to make an informed decision.
Surbhi Maheshwari [MBA Fin / Mktg ]
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