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Mutual Funds Association Delays Campaign Promoting Debt Funds Amid Market Woes

The new campaign focusing on the fixed income category was a sequel to the 'Mutual Funds Sahi Hai' drive, and slated for launch in September.

PTI

Updated:October 14, 2018, 7:59 PM IST
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Mutual Funds Association Delays Campaign Promoting Debt Funds Amid Market Woes
Image for representation. (Reuters)
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Kolkata: The Association of Mutual Funds of India (AMFI) has postponed its proposed campaign highlighting debt investments, amid skepticism triggered by default in repayment by an infrastructure conglomerate, industry sources said.

The new campaign focusing on the fixed income category was a sequel to the 'Mutual Funds Sahi Hai' drive, and slated for launch in September. AMFI's first promo focused on equity. "The new campaign is still under finalisation with the media planners. It might take another month," AMFI chief executive NS Venkatesh said.

He, however, did not link the delay to Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd's (IL&FS) default on interest repayment that has rocked the debt market.

A section of mutual fund houses apprehend that pushing back the launch could be a planned move for the IL&FS dust to settle, the sources said. "Promoting debt funds at this stage is not a good idea," a mutual fund house official, who did not wish to be identified, said.

Venkatesh had earlier said that at present, debt fund investment by retail investors constitute merely 10 per cent, while the rest is equity, and the skew is not prudent asset allocation.

During the current fiscal, AMFI is planning to spend Rs 150-175 crore to promote mutual funds investments. In 2017-18, it had spent Rs 200 crore for the purpose. "There is no plan to pull out the 'Mutual Funds Sahi Hai' campaign. Instead, it will become the master campaign brand and sectoral products will also come under it," he had said.

Regulator SEBI has repeatedly stressed that risks associated with mutual fund investments should be clearly spelt out. It also called for rationalisation in the Total Expense Ratio (TER) of the MF industry. "There is a need to have more competition in the sector besides TER rationalisation. We are looking into this," SEBI chief Ajay Tyagi had recently said.

The concept of TER started in the late 90s when assets under management (AUM) was Rs 50,000 crore, while today it is Rs 23 lakh crore. "Therefore, we are examining the need for rationalisation."
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