A passenger sits below an advertisement for the Mutual Funds Sahi Hai campaign by the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) at a bus stop in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Mutual Funds Houses Approach Sebi With 85 New Proposals So Far In 2017

With mutual funds gaining traction among retail investors, asset management companies have filed draft offer documents with the regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for 85 new schemes so far this year.

In comparison, 106 draft papers were filed by the fund houses in 2016.

Equity, debt, hybrid and fixed maturity plans (FMPs) are some of the themes for which the MF houses have filed the applications.

Fund houses like Mahindra, Axis, ICICI Prudential, Birla Sunlife, HDFC, UTI, Reliance, Edelweiss and SBI have filed the offer documents for new fund offers (NFOs) with the Sebi.

Many of the schemes are already being launched, while others will be opened for subscription soon after the necessary clearance.

Interestingly, some mutual fund companies have approached Sebi for launching plans with Hindi names so that investors in rural areas understand the objectives of the schemes in a better manner. The move is seen as moving away from the old tradition of English names for investment schemes.

Dynamic Bond Bachat Yojana, Pragati Bluechip Yojana, Unnati Mid & Small Cap Yojana are some of the schemes filed with Sebi by Mahindra Mutual Fund.

Since the beginning of the year (January-August so far), draft documents for 85 NFOs have been submitted with the Sebi.

Of these, 10 draft offers have been filed so far this month.

According to market participants, fund houses are in a rush to launch new schemes, given heightened interest among retail investors and good response the recent fund launches have evoked.

This year, fund houses are more focussing on retail investors who are already showing a lot of commitment and maturity, they added.

There has been a growing demand from retail investors for mutual fund products as the investors base touched a record high of 4.8 crore at the end of July.

Last month, Sebi launched an online registration mechanism for mutual funds, a move aimed at making it easier for the existing and new fund houses to complete their registration with the markets regulator in a much faster and cost-effective way.

Experts believe that Sebi's move towards paperless online mechanism for registration for mutual funds will turn into a boon for the sector.