Capital market watchdog Sebi on Friday came out with a regulatory framework for private equity funds sponsoring a mutual fund house as well as for self-sponsored Asset Management Companies (AMCs).
Under the framework for private equity (PE) funds, Sebi said the applicant is required to have a minimum of five years of experience in the capacity of fund manager and an experience of investing in the financial sector. It should have managed, committed and drawn-down capital of at least Rs 5,000 crore.
The mutual fund sponsored by the PE would not participate as an anchor investor in the public issue of an investee company, where any of the schemes and funds managed by the sponsor PE has an investment of 10 per cent or more or a board representation.
“The experience, track record, and eligibility regarding the fit and proper criteria of any applicant PE to become a sponsor of a mutual fund shall be ascertained through its conduct in the respective home jurisdiction,” Sebi said in a circular.
In a bid to boost the penetration of the industry, and to facilitate new types of players to act as sponsors of mutual funds, an alternative set of eligibility criteria is introduced.
This is to facilitate the flow of capital into the industry, foster innovation, encourage competition, and provide ease of consolidation, and ease of exit for existing sponsors.
Currently, any entity that owns 40 per cent or more stake in a mutual fund is considered a sponsor and is required to fulfill the eligibility criteria.
Also, Sebi said “Self Sponsored AMCs” can continue the mutual fund business. This is subject to AMCs fulfilling certain conditions. The move would give the original sponsor flexibility to voluntarily disassociate itself from the MF without needing to induct a new and eligible sponsor.
According to Sebi, an AMC can become a self-sponsored subject to certain conditions –the AMC should have been carrying on business in financial services for at least 5 years, should have a positive net worth in all the immediately preceding five years, and net profit of Rs 10 crore in each of the immediately preceding five years.
Any sponsor proposing to disassociate should have been a sponsor of the concerned mutual fund for at least five years and the shareholding proposed to be reduced by a sponsor should not be under any encumbrance or lock-in.
Any sponsor proposing to disassociate can reduce shareholding below 10 per cent within 5 years in the case of listed AMC, while the same will be three years in the case of unlisted AMCs.
After the disassociation of any sponsor from an AMC, all the shareholders of such AMC will be classified as financial investors and the upper limit of shareholding for such financial investors will be below 10 per cent.
A self-sponsored AMC will have to maintain the minimum net worth requirement continuously.
However, Sebi said that disassociated sponsor or any new entity can become a sponsor of a mutual fund in certain conditions- If the AMC fails to meet the criteria of a self-sponsored AMC.
Further, a cure period of one year will be provided within which, the AMC would be required to meet the criteria for self-sponsored AMCs.
In addition, Sebi came out with guidelines on the deployment of liquid net worth by AMC.
AMCs will have to deploy the minimum net worth required either in cash, money market instruments, Government Securities, Treasury bills, Repo on Government securities, or in listed AAA-rated debt securities without bespoke structures, credit enhancements, or embedded options, Sebi said.
In case of a change in control of an existing AMC due to the acquisition of shares, the sponsor will have to ensure that the positive liquid net worth of the sponsor is to the extent of aggregate par value or market value of the shares proposed to be acquired, whichever is higher.
The new rules would come into force from August 1, while those related to the deployment of liquid net worth by AMC will be applicable from January 1, 2024, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)