NSE, BSE may join hands for mutual fund trading

The proposed online portal will help investors buy and sell mutual fund units and get consolidated statements

Mint 29/9/09

Mumbai: A working group of the Association of Mutual Funds in India, or Amfi, has recommended that India’s two largest bourses, along with other firms, jointly build a transaction platform for mutual funds trading in India.

The group has suggested jointly engaging three consortia that have bid to build the platform: National Stock Exchange and National Securities Depository Ltd; Bombay Stock Exchange and Central Depository Services Ltd; and registrars Karvy Computershare Ltd and Computer Age Management Services Ltd.

“We have recommended an open architecture where strengths of all three consortia will be leveraged for the benefit of the mutual fund industry,” said Jaideep Bhattacharya, who heads the Amfi committee and is chief marketing officer of UTI Asset Management Co. Ltd.

The committee, which submitted this proposal to Amfi last week, has also suggested that mutual fund trackers Morningstar India and rating agency Icra Ltd provide the data support for this platform.

Amfi expects the platform to go live by March.

The proposed online portal will help investors buy and sell mutual fund units and get consolidated statements. With the abolition of upfront commission, few distributors are keen on servicing small investors and the transaction platform will come in handy for them.

“We have received proposals on the operationalization of the platform. A decision will be taken in a week or two. The final clearance has to come from Sebi,” said A.P. Kurian, chairman, Amfi.

According to him, the platform would provide a better reach for the industry, higher efficiency in transactions and cost control over a long term. “Similar platforms exist in developed markets like Australia and Canada. It is our effort to bring such world-class service to our investors,” he told Mint.

Officials from the bidding companies refused to comment as the proposal is yet to be finalised. The chief executive officers of four leading asset management companies confirmed the broad structure of the proposal but refused to comment as they are not familiar with the details. “A presentation is likely to be made for the members in a couple of weeks, after which a decision will be made,” one of them said.

In a parallel move, Amfi is exploring the listing of open-ended mutual fund schemes on an exchange platform.

The system has to be tweaked in such a manner that the relevant mutual fund will be the counterparty for transactions and the registrar will have to create and extinguish units for every purchase and sale, respectively, say industry experts.

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