Dalal Street Gets the Smarts

Sebi Moves to Revive MFs, Boost Retail Play in IPOs

Capital market regulator Sebi has taken the first step to revive the fortunes of mutual fund houses, tweaked rules to step up retail participation in IPOs, and made it easier for companies to raise funds and for promoters to dilute stake. Also, investors will soon be able to apply for shares offered in a public issue online through their stock broker. Electronic issuance of initial public offerings, or e-IPOs as the name suggests, can be done online to save time and reduce the paperwork involved. But investing in MFs could become a little more expensive for those in metros and top cities while retail investors could receive more shares in IPOs. Sebi, in its board meeting on Thursday, devised an incentive formula wherein existing mutual fund investors and those residing in top cities would subsidise new investors from smaller cities and towns. The regulator has allowed cash transactions in mutual fund schemes to the extent of.20,000 to make investing easier for small investors in rural areas. The minimum application size for all investors in public issues has been raised to.10,000-15,000 from.5,000-7,000.Also,the share allotment system in IPOs will be modified to ensure that every retail applicant, irrespective of the application size, gets allotted a minimum bid lot, subject to availability of shares in aggregate, said a Sebi release. While the measures to incentivise MF brokers fell short of expectations, industry circles felt Sebi's move was a step in the right direction. Sebi has allowed asset management companies that collect 30% of their total annual inflows from places beyond the top 15 cities to charge an additional 30 bps expense ratio. The 30 bps would be charged on the entire fund; in a way, making existing investors and investors residing in top cities pay for new investors from the hinterlands. This, in effect, would raise the expense ratio by 30 bps to 2.55% in the case of funds with assets over.100 crore. Overall cost of investing in mutual funds would go up by 30 bps, said Dhirendra Kumar, managing director of fund tracker Value Research.


Economic Times, New Delhi, 17-08-2012



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