SEBI ‘s Fixed Maturity Plan (FMP) regulations controversial?

December 17, 2008 by  

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Is SEBI ‘s solution to the Fixed Maturity Plan problems against the interests of investors?

sebi fmp regulationsSebi has recently announced a slew of regulatory measures to resolve the Fixed Maturity Plan induced Mutual Fund liquidity problem.

Given the run on FMPs and the resulting liquidity pressures on the Mutual Fund industry due to Fixed Maturity Plan scheme withdrawls, SEBI first offered a line of credit to the mutual fund industry

SEBI has also banned early withdrawls in new fixed maturity plans (FMPs). Now, investors in Fixed Maturity Plans cannot withdraw and liquidate their fixed maturity plan funds. So, even if investors want to get out of new FMPs at the cost of the high exit penalties, SEBI has ensured that the investors have almost no option but to wait till the fixed maturity plans finally mature, rather than getting an early redemption

Arguably, SEBI ‘s new regulation regarding Fixed Maturity Plan schemes will prevent FMP schemes and MFs from suffering from similar liquidity problems again and going bust, but SEBI has probably delivered a solution that principally benefits Mutual Funds – even those mutual funds with badly managed FMP schemes

SEBI has offered compulsory trading of fixed maturity plans in the stock exchanges as a sop to investors

Given that most of SEBI ‘s solutions to the liquidity problems of mutual funds seem to be focused on safeguarding the mutual fund industry rather than the investors, SEBI has introduced one small sop to investors in close-ended instruments such as fixed maturity plans

SEBI ‘s sop relates to compulsory trading of close-ended fund securities such as FMPs (fixed maturity plans) on the BSE,NSE stock exchanges. However, FMP investors may find that though the Fixed Maturity Plan schemes can be potentially liquidated in the stock market, these FMP schemes may end up be illiquid and not traded much in the markets

SEBI should realize that if a mutual fund does mismanage its FMP (fixed maturity plan) portfolio, investors in the FMP fund may not find many suckers who are willing to take the bad FMP debt paper from their hands at a reasonable price

In summary, SEBI seems to have made decisions regarding FMPs that are heavily loaded in favor of Mutual funds at the expense of investors

SEBI ‘s recent guidelines are great news for Mutual funds , but has SEBI done a good job of their primary role- safeguarding the interests of investors?

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